Animal shelter again tops capital improvement list
by Jon Mendelson
Apr 05, 2013 | 2345 views | 1 1 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
More money to build a new animal shelter was among 12 spending priorities identified by the Tracy City Council during a workshop Tuesday, April 2, regarding the 2013-14 fiscal year capital improvement budget.

The council, with Mayor Brent Ives absent, agreed to allocate $908,000 in the fiscal year beginning July 1 out of a $3,097,073 capital improvement budget to complete the first of two construction phases for the shelter, which received $3,744,624 in 2012-13.

Money for the shelter, like the rest of the capital improvement projects discussed Tuesday, comes from fees, savings from restructured bonds and previous surpluses. The expenditures do not directly affect the general fund, which has needed reserve money to fill a deficit the past six fiscal years.

The new animal shelter — on city-owned property at the southwest corner of Grant Line and Paradise roads, once meant for a fire station — will replace the aging facility at 370 Arbor Road.

With the additional money, City Manager Leon Churchill said the shelter should be ready to host animals by late 2014.

“It’s been slow getting started,” Churchill said following the workshop. “But our engineering and planning staff has been overwhelmed with developer agreements and annexations and the like. Those things are still ongoing, but we’re carving out some time to go through these last final steps for the animal shelter and add money to get phase one fully funded.”

During its regular meeting later in the evening, the council voted 4-0 to award a contract to design the shelter to Hammond & Playle Architects of Davis for $402,400. A specific first-phase plan should be finalized within 32 weeks, according to a timeline outlined in the contract.

Though Churchill said the shelter’s euthanasia rates are the “best in the county,” he said the new building will be an improvement — its first phase alone will be 1,800 square feet larger than the 4,200-square-foot shelter and will give both animals and people a better experience.

“We can do better,” he said. “We can … create a more pleasing environment for the animals we care for and for the public. I think in the end it will be a facility the community can be very, very proud of.”

Staff identified 10 other projects for potential funding in 2013-14. The projects were chosen from a list of 113 potential items based on whether they enhance public safety, improve quality of life, serve a large number of people, promote economic development and sustainability, meet legal requirements and fit with the city’s General Plan vision.

The only change the council requested to the suggestions of the city staff was to construct a basketball court in El Pescadero Park, a project requested by several North School eighth-graders who said there is a dearth of after-school activities near the school’s 2875 Holly Drive location.

Staff estimated that project would cost about $65,000.

Administrative Services Director Jenny Haruyama told the council she preferred to leave about $97,000 of the fiscal year’s capital improvement budget unspent as part of a “conservative preference.”

“Things change — gas prices go up, construction costs go up,” she said. “You usually want to have some leeway.”

Among the projects scheduled to receive funding in 2013-14 are:

• $435,000 to build restrooms at El Pescadero Park, which has none

• $511,000 to replace the deteriorating restrooms and handball court at MacDonald Park

• $448,000 to rehabilitate pavement at Tracy Municipal Airport, one part of a $15,589,000 project that could receive Federal Aviation Administration funds

• $300,000 to replace the city’s human resources financial system software

• $25,000 to begin exploring residents’ priorities for rehabilitating Tracy Ballpark

About $4 million will also be spent in 2013-14 on new wastewater improvement projects, which use money set aside specifically for maintaining the city’s sewage system.

The council will be asked in June to approve the capital improvement projects by a formal vote.

• Contact Jon Mendelson at 830-4231 or jmendelson@tracypress.com.



At a glance

• WHAT: Tracy City Council capital improvement budget workshop and regular meeting

• WHEN: 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 2

• WHERE: City Hall, 333 Civic Center Plaza

• DETAILS: Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel and council members Charles Manne, Robert Rickman and Nancy Young were present. Mayor Brent Ives was absent.
Comments
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laurie209
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April 05, 2013
I am so happy to hear this. Have visited this shelter many times and it is not an appropriate environment for living beings.

With such a wonderfully dedicated staff, it's nice to know that not only the animals will have a better place to stay, the employees will work in pleasant surroundings.


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