City in­put of­fered on county an­i­mal shel­ter

The Sentinel-Record - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID SHOW­ERS

County and city of­fi­cials pro­vided an ar­chi­tect with guide­lines Thurs­day for the de­sign of a county-run an­i­mal shel­ter on the grounds of the Gar­land County De­ten­tion Cen­ter.

County Judge Rick Davis said the meet­ing in­cluded Hot Springs An­i­mal Ser­vices Di­rec­tor Dan Bugg, who pro­vided sta­tis­ti­cal and op­er­a­tional in­for­ma­tion gath­ered from the city’s an­i­mal shel­ter to bet­ter de­ter­mine the size and cost of a prospec­tive county fa­cil­ity.

The city in­formed the county last month that the price of its an­i­mal ser­vices con­tract will cost more in 2018, in­creas­ing from $211,000 to $325,000. The city said the in­crease would raise

the county’s obli­ga­tion to half the city’s to­tal bud­get for an­i­mal ser­vices, which is $685,000 for the cur­rent year.

Bugg said an­i­mals from the un­in­cor­po­rated area have ac­counted for 52 per­cent of the in­take at the shel­ter in re­cent years.

The county has to de­cide if it wants to con­tinue con­tract­ing with the city within 45 days of re­ceiv­ing the new con­tract of­fer. The cur­rent con­tract for ser­vices will oth­er­wise ex­pire at the end of the year. In the in­terim, the city has of­fered to help the county start its own an­i­mal ser­vices pro­gram.

“The city is fine with which­ever di­rec­tion the county chooses,” City Man­ager David Frasher told Davis in a June 19 email. “The city will also of­fer, free of charge, rea­son­able tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance to the county in set­ting up its own ser­vices, if re­quested in writ­ing.”

The county is con­sult­ing on the de­sign with Cromwell Ar­chi­tect En­gi­neers Inc., the Lit­tle Rock firm awarded the $2.3 mil­lion de­ten­tion cen­ter de­sign con­tract. The Gar­land County Quo­rum Court ap­pro­pri­ated $10,000 last year for the de­vel­op­ment and de­sign of a county an­i­mal shel­ter.

Davis said the firm’s fa­mil­iar­ity with the de­ten­tion cen­ter made it a log­i­cal choice to de­sign an on-site an­i­mal shel­ter.

“They have all the in­for­ma­tion about the prop­erty,” he said. “We want (the shel­ter) to look like it be­longs there and not stick out like a sore thumb next to the jail. We’re go­ing to get a con­cep­tual de­sign and es­ti­mates on prices to build it. They’re also go­ing to give us an idea about op­er­a­tional costs, what util­ity bills would cost.

“They have ex­pe­ri­ence de­sign­ing an­i­mal shel­ters. They’ve done it be­fore.”

Bugg said the county will prob­a­bly need a fa­cil­ity equal in size to the city’s an­i­mal shel­ter on David­son Drive. It has

42 in­door-out­door ken­nels. “The hope is that they won’t need one much larger,” he said. “But at the same time, they want to build some­thing that would be easy to ex­pand and add an­other wing of pens to if they had to en­large at some point.”

Davis said he has heard price es­ti­mates rang­ing from

$750,000 to $1.5 mil­lion.

“It de­pends on how elab­o­rate you want to get,” he said. “We’re not go­ing to get real elab­o­rate. We’re go­ing to build for what our needs are and make sure it’s ex­pand­able for what our fu­ture needs are.”

Davis said the con­cep­tual de­sign should be com­pleted be­fore the quo­rum court’s Septem­ber meet­ing. The jus­tices of the peace will ul­ti­mately have to de­cide on whether to build the shel­ter or con­tinue con­tract­ing with the city, he said.

“That’s a de­ci­sion they’ll have to make,” Davis said. “We’re go­ing to try and give them some op­tions. If the cost is too high, they may throw their hands up. I don’t think it’s go­ing to cost that much, but we’ll see.”

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