Spokane Valley is now – although it never really left -- officially part of the SCRAPS pack.
And, barring any unforeseen circumstances, the city of Spokane is likely to join soon, as well.
With all the major municipal players in pace, the regional coalition that SCRAPS has been looking for will finally be in place. And that means work can begin on relocating into a new, more central shelter.
“I just want to take this opportunity to thank you for your participation,” Spokane County Animal Regional Control Service Director Nancy Hill told the Spokane Valley City Council shortly before it unanimously approved a new 20-year contract for animal control on Tuesday night. “You were very thoughtful and very thorough. We would like to commend you and your staff.”
The council had more or less given its blessing to approving the contract in early December, but there were a few details that still needed to be ironed out, said Morgan Koudelka, senior administrative analyst. City officials wanted to make sure that Spokane Valley would be protected if Spokane County ever decided to sell any future animal shelter and the city would be reimbursed for its share of equity.
Koudelka also said that if any other jurisdiction were to manage to secure more favorable contract terms than Spokane Valley currently has, that deal would be made available to the city also.
County officials are looking at purchasing the former Harley-Davidson dealership on East Trent Avenue with non-ballot-approved bonds and converting the building into a new animal shelter to replace the existing, 40-year-old structure on Flora Road.
The new facility could be ready to use by 2014, Koudelka said.
Annual debt service costs will be $45,000 over the course of the contract. Operating costs in 2014 are set at $287,081 in 2014, and subsequent costs will be determined by county commissioners based on a newly formed, five-member Regional Animal Control Advisory Board.
“This is a good agreement,” said Council Member Chuck Hafner.
“I think it will be good for our citizens, particularly our pet-owning citizens,” agreed Council Member Arne Woodard. “I also like the predictability of where our costs will be.”
Deputy Mayor Gary Schimmels said that the city has had no problems with SCRAPS since incorporation in 2003.
“It’s been nine years of a very smooth operation,” he said.
The city of Liberty Lake recently renewed its animal-control contract with SCRAPS after flirting with the idea of returning to SpokAnimal, the city of Spokane’s current provider.
If Spokane joins, as is expected, its first year under the regional partnership would be in 2014.
In other news, the council finalized its plans to replace former Council Member Brenda Grassel, who resigned at the end of 2012 because she and her husband are moving from the city. Applications are due today (Friday) at 4 p.m., and the paperwork will be reviewed by the council in executive session on Tuesday.
The council will also choose on Tuesday whom to interview on Jan. 29. A final selection is expected to be made on Feb. 5.
Grassel was given a plaque of appreciation from council members at the beginning of the meeting. Mayor Tom Towey thanked Grassel for her three years of service and said he was “really, really, really sorry” to see her leave.
“I believe Brenda Grassel has raised the bar as to what this council should be doing,” he said.