Our Opinion: Council urged to approve animal shelter

The Jefferson City Council has an opportunity Monday to approve a public-private partnership that will enhance the quality of life in our community.

The project is a new animal shelter to be built at the city’s Hyde Park site. City staff has recommended approval of a low bid of $1,974,500 submitted by JC Industries.

The bid represents construction of a scaled-back facility after the original plans proved too costly for the city. The changes, officials said, largely reflect construction materials, although other revisions include three fewer kennels and a smaller sallyport.

Despite those revisions, the facility will be more than twice the size of the existing, outdated facility on East Miller Street.

The cost to build the shelter will come from tax dollars and private contributions. Funding includes:

• $1,292,287 from the city’s halfcent sales tax, which voters on Aug. 2 will be asked to extend for another five years.

• $300,000 from Cole County, which contracts with the city for use of the shelter.

• $225,000 in donations raised by Friends of the Jefferson City Animal Shelter.

• $50,000 from the Heart of Missouri Humane Society.

Issues pertaining to animal welfare and the population of strays and unwanted pets present challenges for communities everywhere.

Animal problems can undermine public safety and health, and contribute to neighborhood noise problems and damage to personal property.

Jefferson City and Cole County are fortunate that compassionate officials and residents in both the public and private sector are working together to meet these challenges.

The proposal to build a larger, modern animal shelter represents the culmination of much planning, effort and commitment.

We encourage council members to endorse this welcome addition to the health and welfare of our community.

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