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Editorial: Working together is the key

June 18, 2017 at 4 a.m.

We were surprised at the last City Commission meeting when "Doc" Halliday presented a plan to create a committee to oversee the management and construction of a new animal shelter with the authority, effectively making the decisions instead of the city staff. This plan was presented at the meeting without the prior knowledge of the city staff or commissioners.

Halliday apparently wanted the commission to approve his plan without any prior input from city staff or commissioners. The proposed committee would also select the architect, which makes no sense, as there is an architect already under contract. The proposed committee is taking what is a city staff responsibility and moving it to a committee where all decisions will be made, except the ones that are required the city or commissioners

The citizens selected for the proposed committee are in favor of building a larger animal shelter than the $400,000 the city of Marshall has allocated for the project. Granted, we never expected the city to be able to build the new animal shelter for $400,000. We think the final cost will be around $600,000 when the project is finished. With this attempted move, a larger facility will be build with construction cost most likely around $1,000,000 or upward of this figure. The city does not have the money in the budget, making the most viable options to pay for the increased cost of the animal shelter are Certificates of Obligations, which, in turn puts additional financial burdens on the city and the taxpayers.

The yearly operating costs of the larger facility in our opinion will be in the neighborhood of $300,000 per year. That is a huge increase from the projected $170,000 per year operating cost of the $400,000 current shelter project. That is a serious increase in cost and the most important question is where is the city going to get the money to pay for this yearly cost? All of these impact the financial strength of the city and may lead to tax increases.

We are concerned the animal shelter project will become another Memorial City Hall project. That project had several committees giving their input into the MCH project, and had no clear direction. MCH is going to be a money pit with serious cost overruns and we may have the same issues with the animal shelter if final authority is not the city staff and commissioners.

The proposed committee is to be discussed at the next Marshall Commissioners meeting. One of the keys to a successful city commission and city staff is finding ways to work together to solve issues for the betterment of the taxpayers. Clearly, this move to appoint an animal shelter committee without prior consultation of city staff or the other commissioners sets a bad tone.



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