Animal shelter site approved

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By Marganne Glasser

The county council has accepted a recommendation endorsed by both the Friends of the Shelter (FOS) and the Los Alamos Dog Obedience Club (LADOC) to relocate the planned site for a new animal shelter to 246 East Road. The new shelter will be located between the LADOC facility and Animal Clinic of Los Alamos.

Wendy Burnish, president of FOS, strongly endorsed the new site at council’s meeting Tuesday night.

“It provides better access for the public and better marries the exercise and care of the animals,” she said, adding that the euthanasia rate of healthy animals is zero in this county, a percentage almost unheard of elsewhere.

Public Works Department Director Kyle Zimmerman said public comments at neighborhood community meetings have been largely supportive of the new site. He assured council that the concerns of noise, smell and quarantine to contain the spread of illness among animals could be addressed with good design.

Zimmerman stated that the need to install utilities and drainage could raise the price of the facility to more than $2 million.

“We need a really hard scrub on costs,” said Council Chair Jim Hall.

Councilor Jim West’s motion to fund the design studies with a project budget not to exceed $1.2 million passed unanimously.

Zimmerman requested that the council award a bid of $231,255 to repair erosion and correct drainage deficiencies at the Solano cul-de-sac in Quemazon.

Councilor Robert Gibson, who had requested the item be pulled off the Consent Agenda, asked why such an extensive re-design was needed in such a recently developed area.

“I’d sure hate to see quarter-million dollar repair bills in new developments come up very frequently,” he said.

Zimmerman said that while the drainage was designed to withstand an extreme storm expected only once in a hundred years, the amount of debris coming off the mountains since the fire was beyond what had been anticipated.

He said that overflow last August was caused by excessive debris clogging water passage and that the new design would prevent that.

Council passed the motion unanimously.

County Human Resources Manager Sharyl Hoffer and Assistant County Administrator Diane Steppan presented the FY2009 salary plan. Council approved it unanimously as well.

Council accepted by the same 7-to-0 vote a motion to replace the 3/16 percent with 1/8 percent gross receipts tax in proposed Ordinance No. 534.

If voters approve the Regional Transit Gross Receipts Tax in the next election, the funds could apply to costs associated with the Atomic City Transit System. A public hearing on the ordinance has been scheduled for May 20.

Discussion of the county strategic goals and objectives was moved to June 13.

The council passed a proclamation honoring the 10th anniversary of the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Executive Director Pauline Schneider was on hand to accept the award and accompanying applause.

Hall stated a trip to Washington, D.C., is slated for mid-summer to maintain government relations during upcoming transitions.