After Pflugerville residents voted down a $10.7 million bond to build a new animal shelter last month, the city is now looking at how to fix the one they already have.
Workers spent Tuesday morning putting fresh asphalt down at the Pflugerville Animal Shelter. Just one of many fixes that may be on the horizon. Once upon a time it was a water treatment facility. Mayor Jeff Coleman says the re-purposed shelter is not perfect...but it's functional.
"We have a lower kill rate than an actual no-kill shelter has. Which means that we have not euthanized an animal for space in over 3 years," Coleman said.
A $10.7 million bond was put before voters in November for a brand new animal shelter built from the ground up at a new location. A plan the mayor couldn't get behind.
"I have felt for a long time that there were some things that we need to do to it to improve it...to improve the conditions, to improve the working conditions for our employees, to improve the conditions for animals and to improve accessibility for our citizens. However $10.7 million was excessive in my view," Coleman said.
The mayor estimates the master plan the city manager is putting together will only cost $1-2 million. A Facebook group called "Help the Pflugerville Animal Shelter" encouraged voters to say "yes" to the bond...calling plans to fix the current shelter "throwaway" money.
But the bond didn't pass.
Mayor Coleman says the vote did highlight the community wants some changes at the shelter. Over the last year, council authorized the $400,000 to build a new building that's about to open...with space for about 30 dogs. It will alleviate some of the reliance on an old building...the mayor says the kennel space is too small for the dogs.
"What I anticipate that being is that we got rid of or we demolish the current office space that our employees work in, we demolish what's called the 'cedar block intake building' and that in their place we build a new functional building that will more than satisfy our needs," Coleman said.
Other ideas are moving the outdoor excercise runs to another part of the property and making this the new public entrance.
Kim Waters is a Pflugerville animal advocate. She wanted the bond to pass. She told us in a statement:
"The City of Pflugerville has established a trend of fiscal irresponsibility and civil neglect by spending taxpayer's money on fixes that do not directly improve the quality of life for the animals at the Pflugerville Animal Shelter. Despite this trend, I am hopeful they will act with vigor and swiftness to increase the capacity of the shelter to match our population growth and make the Pflugerville Animal Shelter a place where "quality meets life" for its employees, volunteers, and animals. Homeless pets in Pflugerville have been waiting over 210 days for the newly renovated building with state required kennel size to be completed and utilized. I am hopeful that our mayor, city council, animal advisory committee, city staff, and community will work to improve the deplorable conditions at the Pflugerville Animal Shelter. Animal advocates, including myself, will remain watchful and vigilant to ensure that it is a priority for the City of Pflugerville. Past experience has taught me that you can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper and call it change, but it's still going to stink after eight years. I hope that the mayor and city council prove me wrong and follow up with swift action that causes immediate improvement at the Pflugerville Animal Shelter that is meaningful and not merely cosmetic."
Tonight's city council meeting is just a discussion about the master plan, there will be no vote tonight. The mayor says that should be on the agenda in the next few months.