The Spokane Valley City Council got a little bit more information but moved no closer to deciding who would provide animal-control for the city into 2013 and beyond.
While Spokane Valley has been a partner with Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service since it incorporated in 2003, SpokAnimal – which serves the city of Spokane – is a potential suitor for the contract.
However, a potential spoiler of any deal is the city of Spokane, which is also contemplating a potential contractor change for animal control.
Meanwhile, officials with SCRAPS and Spokane County are hoping to net both the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley into a regional partnership that would help pave the way into a new, larger facility to replace the aging shelter on Flora Road near Spokane Industrial Park.
And if neither city opted to continue to partner with SCRAPS, which has provided virtually trouble-free service over the years?
“It would be difficult for (SCRAPS) to achieve a new facility at this time,” said Morgan Koudelka, senior administrative analyst for Spokane Valley when he was asked that very question by Council Member Chuck Hafner. “They’ve said they would have to start over (with plans for a new shelter) if they lost one of us.”
County officials say they can no longer stay in the 40-year-old Flora site due to the lack of space and services, and its remoteness from not only the public it serves but from volunteers trying to access it through mass transit. A more centrally located site on Trent Avenue near the boundary of both cities has been eyed.
Requests-for-proposals have been issued, and SCRAPS and SpokAnimal were the only entities who responded to both cities. The former has offered a 20-year contract at $295,691 starting in 2013 while SpokAnimal has countered with a 10-year deal that would initially cost $250,000 annually. While both service-providers have said they are willing to negotiate terms, SCRAPS is looking at the longer contract in order to secure financing for a new shelter without having to go to voters. A ballot measure failed last year for a new regional shelter.
The possibility of a 20-year commitment has caused heartburn for some council members.
“The 20-year thing seems to be way, way out there,” Hafner said. “Some of us may not be around then. I’d like to negotiate those terms.”
City staffers plan to bring a recommendation to the council at an upcoming meeting.
At the council’s Aug. 28 meeting, a proposed zoning change will be considered to the city’s municipal code in order to allow animal shelters as a permitted use in the mixed-use corridor designation. Currently, animal shelters can only operate in industrial zones.
If approved, there would be no outside dog runs and the structure would need to be soundproofed. Also, there would be specific parking, landscaping and signage requirements.
However, a provision that the animal shelter would have to be owned and operated by a public entity will be removed.
“I think we should take that out,” said City Attorney Cary Driskell. “Frankly, that makes it a little suspect.”