Posted at: 01/29/2013 6:00 PM
Updated at: 01/29/2013 6:18 PM
By: Maarja Anderson
For four years the City of Superior and Douglas County have talked about combining their animal shelters to build a new up-to-date facility that would service the entire county. In three weeks, the city will vote on whether funding will allow for a combined shelter with the county.
Four years ago the city contracted the Humane Society of the United States to study the animal shelter needs. That study found that one shelter servicing the entire county, including Superior, would best serve the community. Since then, the goal has been to build one 6,300 sq. foot facility, but the process has slowed because of finances.
"It all boils down to money and boundaries. Even if animals don't know boundaries, political boundaries always exist," said Jean Kioski of the Humane Society of Douglas County.
Both Animal Allies, which serves the city, and the Humane Society are in need of repairs.
"It would be struggle for us. We could only stay open for as long as we can. We've been putting a band-aid on things in this building for the last four years now in the hopes that we would be in a new facility by now," said Kioski.
Mayor Bruce Hagen said the city wants to build one facility to serve the strays of the city and the county, but said he doesn't want the city taxpayers to absorb the costs of a county-wide service.
The county, which has never paid for animal control services, says the costs they are expected to pay are too high.
"I really believe that it could work," said County Board Supervisor Dan Corbin. "But I also have an issue, I believe it's the cost of that facility."
The county offered $700,000 to the city last year, but it wasn't enough and they're now back at the drawing board.
"Some of these letters that are out there saying that Douglas County is stalling on this, and that's not the case. We need to come to some agreement," said Corbin.
On February 12th, the City Council will vote. They'll decide if the county will be included in a new city shelter, where it would be located, and the price tag