A potential new animal-control facility may have been a former Harley dealership, but that low rumbling sound was coming from Spokane Valley City Hall last week.
City Council members spent some time airing questions and concerns regarding the future of the Spokane County Animal Protection Service, especially if SCRAPS moves into the former Latus Harley-Davidson dealership at 6815 E. Trent. The foremost concern is that the city’s contract costs will go up, regardless if Spokane Valley partners with the county in the projected $4.5 million purchase and renovation of the 6-acre site, which is expected to include a dog park.
That, however, might be too big of a bite for Spokane Valley to take on, which got some council members thinking out loud that it might be time to ask if the city of Spokane’s animal-control provider, SpokAnimal, if it would be capable of taking on Spokane Valley’s contract.
“I certainly would like to hear the numbers from SpokAnimal,” said Council Member Brenda Grassel at the March 20 meeting.
Council Member Arne Woodard, however, expressed skepticism that the Spokane agency would be able to meet Spokane Valley’s needs long term going into the future.
“We’re going to continue to grow,” Woodard said.
Spokane County officials have said they won’t be able to continue to use the 40-year-old SCRAPS shelter on Flora Road near Spokane Industrial Park much longer. A $15 million levy request last fall, which would have funded the purchase and renovation of a building near the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, was refused by voters.
But with the proposed city share of the Latus building estimated at $1 million, most council members seem more comfortable in just continuing the existing contract.
“We are a contract city,” said Council Member Dean Grafos. “We could just contract with the county and let them buy the building.”
There are concerns, however, that the city could end up having to pay a higher rate each year to pay for its share of costs under the existing contract. That amount could go up if the city of Spokane does not end up eventually contracting with SCRAPS.
Still, most council members were cold on the idea of the city starting its own animal-control system – “I don’t think I’m interested at all in owning a dog shelter,” Woodard said – and said they just need to get more information from the county and the city of Spokane. A joint meeting with the Spokane City Council has been set for April 19.
“I’m for a contract if we can work with the county,” said Council Member Chuck Hafner, who expressed concerns that the commissioners might be eager to buy the Latus building soon. “We always seem to be in a position of having to make a quick decision. I don’t like that.”
Mayor Tom Towey agreed that the city needs to work with the county first before expending city recourses to explore other options.
“My thinking is that we should work with our partners,” Towey said.