Pflugerville looking into animal shelter partnership with Williamson County

The City of Pflugerville is looking into the option of partnering with Williamson County to use their animal shelter.

Tuesday, Council members will hold a town hall to hear opinions of citizens, many of whom are concerned that the move will shut down the Pflugerville Animal Shelter.
City Council members said this idea is still in the preliminary stages - in fact Council has not even received data from the city manager regarding the option.

“We can't just turn a blind eye to a possible new or better solution we need to at least vet it out,” said Pflugerville City Councilman Brad Marshall, Place 2.  

That's exactly what Pflugerville city leaders say they are doing - checking out what a partnership with the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter would mean, but just the idea that Pflugerville could close the city's current animal shelter has some citizens very upset.

“There are so many questions and concerns raised by this and there's been a concern that people, our city council members, are going to look at the almighty dollar and not about the intangibles that this city service provides for our city,” said Barbara Woodworth who is leading the charge to stop a vote on the issue. 

The conversation about a possible partnership with Williamson County came up after a bond election upward of $10 million to create a new animal shelter in the city was narrowly defeated. One council member then asked the city manager to look into the idea.

“If that bond were to fail, we committed as a council to do something for our shelter,” said Marshall. 

“They did not vote no to a $10 million bond with the expectation that they were going to lose their animal shelter,” said Woodworth. 

Pflugerville City Council will respond to citizen's questions and concerns this coming week, but a vote on the issue cannot be too far down the road.

“I know that it can't take very long because Williamson County is trying to move pretty quickly on their expansion, so they were looking for an answer from us pretty quickly, and I would say that if we don't have an answer for them within the next couple of council meetings, that they may move forward without us anyway,” said Marshall. 

“I hope we think through it and make the right decision because once you outsource a city service and you lose this land, and you lose the staff and the dedicated volunteers, if we have to bring it back in, it's going to cost more than that $10 million bond that everybody voted down,” Woodworth said.

In order to stop a closure of the city's shelter, three council members would have to vote it down. Marshall said he already knows how he feels about the idea.

“Even if we were to get, find some cooperative agreement with Williamson County, I personally am not in favor of closing the Pflugerville animal shelter. I think it's a basic service that the citizens can reasonably expect to get from the city,” said Marshall.

Woodworth said that's a start, but she won't rest easy until the possibility of closing the city shelter is completely off the table.

“Pflugerville should be strong. Pflugerville should invest in Pflugerville,” said Woodworth. 

There is a town hall meeting at Pflugerville City Hall Tuesday at 7 p.m.

A group of concerned citizens in the city have already gathered 950 signatures to stop a vote, but city leaders said that is not necessary at this point because the Council will not vote Tuesday night.