County Commission Chairman James Hutcheson said that his two main areas of focus for this year are the animal shelter and the jail.
He has had some pushback about wanting to build the animal shelter, but overall, most people are okay with the project. Hutcheson said that he has had a few calls asking why we need to shelter the dogs, but Marshall County will have a no-kill shelter.
The no-kill shelter means that 90 percent of the animals that the county takes to the shelters are adopted. Unfortunately, Hutcheson said, not all the stray animals can be saved. There are some that are too aggressive or too sick to try and save. But overall, Marshall County adopts the animals that come into the shelter.
Hutcheson said he has recently spoken with a couple architects on designing the animal shelter. There are a couple people who are having issues with “having a dog house drawn up,” but Hutcheson said he is doing what needs to be done. It is required that they have a set of blue prints because they are going out for bids. He is hoping that they will be able to have the designs drawn up quickly.
The money is not an issue, Hutcheson said. They believe that they will be spending between $100,000 to $150,000 on the shelter. Shelly Fleisher, the Marshall County Administrator, said that this money will be coming out of the capital improvement fund. This fund is one that is very restricted and it comes with a very specific ways to use the money. Fleisher said that this fund can only be used to build or rebuild structures.
The animal shelter is still top of his priority list this year and Hutcheson is proud to be able to start this project.
“By law, the county is mandated to have an animal shelter or a contract with a vet,” Hutcheson said. “But you cannot afford to have a contact with a vet, because they will eat you alive with fees.”
Fleisher said that after the shelter is complete, it will add to the number of county employees. Every person added is essentially up to $50,000 in annual costs once benefits are accounted for.
Hutcheson said that they will be speaking with the Personnel Board soon about adding that position.
Once complete, the Commission is planning on having a ribbon cutting and an open house for the building. He believes that they are about six months to one year away from having it completed.