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Marshall is moving forward on a new animal shelter with funds from the city, Harrison County and community organizations.

Marshall city commissioners on Thursday unanimously voted to allow city administration and staff to move forward on the construction of a new animal shelter.

“You may recall a couple commission meetings ago, we gave a presentation on the design/build process and the comments we received from the commission in response were all favorable,” Marshall City Manager Mark Rohr said. “You also recall that I put up a 10-step process for design/build, which detailed the different measures we need to take to successfully implement that as it relates to the adoption center. This resolution is the first of those 10 steps.”

Rohr said county officials are only willing to contribute $39,000 to the city for the animal shelter. The city’s portion will be about $900,000 and private donations through Friends of Marshall Animals is pledged to give $250,000 for the shelter construction.

The new, 7,068-square foot facility will be located at 3215 Karnack Highway in Marshall. It will house 68 dog kennels, 21 cat pens, four dog quarantine spaces and nine cat quarantine spaces — with actual specifics of the project to be determined as a result of the design/build process.

Rohr said the city and commission learned from the Memorial City Hall restoration, making several steps to make the construction of the animal shelter move smoothly — including having one person to talk to that will oversee the project.

“No. 2, we can stipulate the duration of the process, which this particular instance we’re looking at nine months,” Rohr said. “The third is that you stipulate the price. That’s important to us going forward on all future projects. We intend to approach this a different way going forward than we have in the past.”

Marshall resident Jerry Cargill spoke about the importance of a new shelter for the city and county on Thursday.

“You know, Marshall has the distinction of having the oldest animal shelter in the state of Texas,” Cargill said. “That shelter was built 50 years ago by the city and the private sector, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do here too. If you have not been to the shelter, then you don’t know how badly we need a shelter. We’re a high kill shelter and we don’t want to be a high kill shelter.

“Sixty to seventy percent of those animals that come in each year die in that shelter. That’s not an All-American City shelter. I honestly believe that if they had asked us a question about our animal shelter, we would have never become an All-American City. That shelter is a disgrace. It is the most inhumane shelter that we could possibly have, so we appreciate what you’re doing to try to make this happen. Stay in there, we’re going to support you,” Cargill said.

Proposed Tax Rate, Budget

The commissioners also set a meeting next month to vote on the city’s annual proposed budget and tax rate. The commission is set to adopt a proposed flat tax rate of $0.54216 per $100.

The proposed tax rate, $0.54216, is the same as it was last year. It is higher than the effective tax rate of $0.516073, but it’s lower than the rollback rate which is $0.566353. The effective tax rate is the tax rate needed to raise the same amount of money as the previous year. The rollback tax is the highest rate the city can adopt without voter approval.

The meeting to hear the second reading for the proposed annual budget is set for 6 p.m. on Sept. 26.

The proposed tax rate hearing is set for 6 p.m. on Sept. 9.