City input offered on county animal shelter
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.”