With the Spokane City Council agreeing to join Spokane Valley and other jurisdictions in a regionwide effort, the way has been cleared for Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service to look at moving to a new shelter.
The Spokane council voted unanimously Monday to approve a new 20-year contract with SCRAPS that mirrors the pact that was approved last week between the county agency and Spokane Valley. It was the final piece needed to allow the county to finalize the purchase of the former Harley-Davidson dealership at 6815 E. Sprague to be remodeled into a new regional shelter to replace the 40-year structure on Flora Road near Spokane Industrial Park.
“I’m very happy about the results (of Monday’s meeting),” Nancy Hill, director of SCRAPS, told county Commissioners Todd Mielke and Shelly O’Quinn during Tuesday morning’s county CEO-board briefing. “We’re now prepared for a regional animal-control program in 2014.”
Best of all, Spokane County residents – whether they live in one of the county’s two largest municipalities or in an unincorporated area – won’t see any increases in taxes. The partnership guarantees that the county will be able to move forward with securing non-voter-approved bonds, most likely in March, to cover the expected $14 million cost and have the building ready by this time next year.
“It’s an ambitious timeline,” Hill said, adding that she had hoped both Spokane and Spokane Valley would have made their decisions last fall.
Still, the benefits outweigh any temporary logistics that will need to be worked through.
“We’ll have close to 30,000 cars driving by a day (at the Trent location), as opposed to the three we get now,” Hill said. “And we’ll have all of our strays under one roof.”
Spokane was the one major local government that had contracted with another agency, SpokAnimal, which had bid on Spokane Valley’s services late last year. Last week, however, the City Council, approved its own 20-year contract with SCRAPS and will have two seats on a new five-member animal-control board, which will recommend policy decisions to Spokane County commissioners. Spokane has opted to not be represented on the board.
A press conference will be held at the new shelter’s location to clarify the regional effort is scheduled for Jan. 28 at 11:30 a.m.
“It’s a very challenging and very exciting project,” Hill said.