Mohave County creates board for animal shelter needs

Even so, funding for a new animal shelter is far away

Mohave County Supervisor Steve Moss

Mohave County Supervisor Steve Moss

KINGMAN - The Mohave County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Monday to establish a citizens committee to assess the needs of the county-run animal shelter in Kingman, with each supervisor to appoint one individual from his or her district.

Funding to implement any recommendations from the committee will be discussed during Mohave County's upcoming budget process.

The inadequacy of the Kingman animal shelter has been an issue for many years, and there comes a time when the board needs to take action, Supervisor Steve Moss said in placing the item on the regular agenda.

The citizens' board will be better, faster and less expensive to advance the cause of building a new animal shelter, and the county won't go out to bid based on an "antiquated, outdated report," Moss said.

Supervisor Buster Johnson, who voted against the motion, said it was not even on his radar to build a new animal shelter, and that funds would be better spent on a new courthouse.

"It's on my radar," Moss answered.

He said the courthouse has nothing to do with the animal shelter financially. Courthouse construction is coming from a quarter-cent sales tax, while the animal shelter would come from the general fund.

The goal of the committee would be to gather information for the board on what alternatives are available, what the county can afford and what are better options for the money, Moss said. Citizens would look at site selection, the budget process and how to get things started.

"I just don't like forming a committee and getting your hopes up and nothing ever happens," Johnson said.

The best-case scenario in early discussions on the budget is that it would stay flat, and the worst-case scenario is a 5 percent cut, he said.

Finance director Coral Loyd said the preliminary estimate for the animal shelter is $2 million to $3 million, and she doesn't see building up that kind of revenue stream for at least two years, unless the quarter-cent sales tax is extended.

"Right now we're flat. Revenue is up a little bit, but so are expenses with cost shifts from the state," Loyd said.

The board had previously discussed selling county property for a one-time funding source, along with forming a public-private partnership to build the shelter, she added.

In 2007, the board received a report from Houston-based Jackson & Ryan Architects that assessed the animal shelter's needs for 2015. The cost of a new shelter was estimated at $5.7 million, based on taking in 10,443 animals and total holding capacity of 225 animals.

The shelter took in just over 5,000 animals in 2015, which is significantly less than projections from the 2007 study.

A new animal control needs assessment is warranted to better align with current needs and available funding, Moss said.

The existing facility is in such a state of disrepair that it's not effectively functioning according to acceptable standards of the Humane Society of the United States, the 2007 study said.

"It would be wiser and more cost efficient to build a new shelter on a better located site than to spend almost as much to remodel and expand the old facilities, which contain many inherent defects," the report stated.