Supervisors vote against support for animal shelter

BY DI STAFF | OCTOBER 28, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Johnson County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Thursday to refrain from contributing toward the funding of a new Iowa City animal shelter.

"They have come to us asking that the county and all other entities contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars more," said Supervisor Terrence Neuzil. "We're not in a position to do that.
"I would like to see the shelter keep its relationship with the city, but we have to be realistic about the costs associated."

Iowa City Police Chief Sam Hargadine sent a letter to Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek, which requested funding to support the building of a new animal-control facility. The letter was forwarded to Johnson County Board of Supervisors as well as surrounding city councils.

The letter details that the shelter will receive funding from FEMA and the state based on the size of the original facility, but officials plan to build an additional 2,000 square feet, which will raise the cost to an estimated $4.2 million. This would leave $2.6 million up to the 11 surrounding cities and governmental entities to pay, including the University of Iowa.

"If the animal shelter is going to continue to be a regional resource, then we are asking for contributions from each of the Johnson County municipalities that have used the shelter's services in the recent past," Hargadine wrote in the letter.

Numerous cities have yet to submit their responses to Hargadine, but Mischa Goodman, the director of the Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center, said the animals are in desperate need.

"We should have had a shelter built two years ago; we need one as soon as they can put one up," Goodman said.

Solon City Administrator Cassandra Lippincott voiced concerns similar to those of Iowa City's.

"The councilors decided that they aren't against the idea of assisting in the funding of a facility, but not at the level that they've requested," Lippincott said.

Coralville City Councilor Bill Hoeft said the council received the letter this week, but he is not surprised by the request because the city has used the shelter in the past.

— by Audrey Roen

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