The DeKalb Animal Coalition for the Humane Treatment of Animals is taking another step toward construction of a new shelter for the county.
The Coalition’s board members are expected to open bids next Friday, September 9 during a meeting set for 5:30 p.m. at the Smithville City Hall building.
Plans were to award a bid Thursday night during the regular monthly meeting of the Coalition but only one sealed bid was received. In order to give others more time who had earlier expressed an interest in submitting a bid, the board voted to extend the period to receive bids until next Friday.
“Two weeks ago we had five or six people here that thought were going to bid. Tonight we only had one sealed bid. They (coalition board) put it off until next Friday to give these other people time to get their bids in. The bids must be in by Friday, September 9 at 5:30 p.m. and then they (board) will have a meeting at that time to open the bids,” said Mike Foster, who meets with the Coalition.
According to Foster, the Coalition also hopes to be able to take advantage of its non-profit status to make tax exempt purchases of materials. “They want to take a look at their 501 c 3 status where they can buy the materials to save the sales tax and let somebody build it (shelter) to make this project as cost effective as we can so we can hurry up and get it going," said Foster.
Once a bid is awarded, Foster said the Coalition expects construction to begin soon after. “We’d like to break ground right away. The water, sewer, electricity, and road are all there and Road Supervisor Butch Agee helped get the site prep done. It’s (shelter) going to be close to 3,000 square feet but part of that is dog runs so it’s really a 2,400 square foot building plus the runs on it. They are hoping they can get it in the dry and maybe get half of it open as soon as possible to get the (public) interest back in it to where people see something happening out there. They also hope to get some grant money to help operate it with feed and those kinds of things,” Foster told WJLE.
The Coalition Board also voted Thursday night to hire grant writer Amanda Mainord of Grasroots Planning & Consulting to search out grants. She is to be paid on a percentage basis if grants are awarded to the Coalition.
Last December, the City of Smithville entered into a 99 year lease agreement with the Coalition.
Under the plan, the Coalition proposes to build a new animal shelter on a four acre site near the solid waste transfer station, behind Tenneco off of Highway 70 east. The property, owned by the Smithville Industrial Development Board, was deeded to the city, which has entered into the lease with the Coalition, a 501 (c) 3 charity organization.
The goal of the coalition is for the county to have a permanent and safe location for neglected, abandoned and abused animals; to provide an alternative low-kill policy so these animals receive medical attention, reduce overpopulation, and be cared for until they can be placed in permanent homes.
The City of Smithville and DeKalb County have each donated $75,000 for the erection of a facility. The new shelter will take the place of a smaller one which has been in existence for years on county property but operated by the city behind the DeKalb County Highway Department Headquarters off Smith Road.
The city currently employs one full time person and one other person half time and also provides an animal control vehicle for the purpose of running the existing animal pound. Under the agreement, the city will continue to provide the personnel and vehicle to assist in the day to day operation of the animal shelter to be erected by the Coalition.
The Coalition operates a yard sale store and holds regular activities and events to raise funds in support of the new shelter.
Marsha Darrah, President of the Coalition, said more support and volunteers are needed. “We need people to give money and we need people to help with our yard sale store. We are very much in need of volunteers now to help operate the store and to help raise money. If you would like to help, you may stop by the store on Walnut Street or call me at 615-417- 2473 or Jim Wood 615-464-8561,” she said.
“We are very sorry that we are not yet able to take care of animals but we do have a program that we are joined with in McMinnville called “Paws”. We have a grant for our county and you can get your cats or dogs spayed or neutered at a very nominal fee or if you are on some kind of assistance you can get it done free,” Darrah told WJLE.