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County, North County cities renew animal shelter discussions

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After dropping out of a countywide agreement to build a new animal shelter due to its price tag, the cities of Paso Robles and Atascadero are back in talks with the county to try to revive the $13.7 million project on Oklahoma Road.

Since the City Councils voted in tandem to pursue their own North County shelter in October, an ad hoc committee of county supervisors Debbie Arnold (5th District) and John Peschong (1st District) met with Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin and Atascadero Mayor Tom O’Malley to discuss the issues underlying their withdrawal.
NEGOTIATE Paso and Atascadero are back in discussions with SLO County about partnering to build a new animal shelter, just one month after the two cities withdrew from a previous agreement on the shelter. - FILE PHOTO
  • FILE PHOTO
  • NEGOTIATE Paso and Atascadero are back in discussions with SLO County about partnering to build a new animal shelter, just one month after the two cities withdrew from a previous agreement on the shelter.

Arnold reported to the Board of Supervisors on Dec. 5 that there’s a chance the cities could get back on board with the countywide shelter.

“The discussion revolved around how we can basically change our business model to better serve the needs of the cities at an affordable cost to them,” Arnold said.

Extending the length of the financing agreement to reduce annual costs to the cities and launching an educational campaign in North County on feral cats to reduce the need for services at the shelter (i.e., local trap-and-release spay/neuter programs) were the two solutions that Arnold suggested.

The parties will continue to meet until early March to negotiate with the cities, according to the county.

To date, the county’s animal shelter project costs total to $272,136, for
preliminary environmental review and consultant costs for the design and
architecture, said Capital Projects Manager Jeff Lee.

Lee said “minor project management and consultant costs will continue to be incurred” as the Paso, Atascadero, and SLO County continue their discussions. Lee added that the range of possible solutions included a redesign of the shelter.

Costs for the shelter will be shared among all seven cities in SLO County, with Paso and Atascadero paying the largest share as the cities with the highest demand for animal services in the county. ∆


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