The Marshall Animal Shelter has been on the drawing broad for several years and appears to be an ongoing debate that — if not tended carefully — could become the next Memorial City Hall debacle.

No one wants that headache.

The animal shelter has been passed down from city commission to city commission like the MCH. It is time to make a decision on the building of the new animal shelter.

One submitted plan, dubbed scheme P on the blueprints, was designed to cost around $400,000, the amount long ago allocated by the city commission for the purposes of this shelter. Currently, $352,571.03 remains of the allocated money as some was used towards the design of several animal shelter plans. That is a lot of money to spend on architect fees and with still no concrete decision.

At its most basic, Scheme P’s cost is $411,650, but with dirt-work, an enlarged lobby and estimated completion expenses, it comes to a max cost of $577,050 with $23,500 in reoccurring operating costs.

The other plan recently submitted to the city commission, with the ringing endorsement of the animal shelter committee, is scheme U, which with dirt-work, community room, covered patio and estimated completion expenses, would come to an estimated max cost of $1, 270,070 with a $100,800 reoccurring operating cost.

We ask why does an animal shelter needs a community room to be paid for on the taxpayer’s dime. Granted the value of the larger facility will decrease the kill rate, bringing it down to only 15 percent – a steep drop off since only a few years ago our shelter’s kill-rate was over 80 percent.

If Scheme U was built we are told there would be space and plans to add onto the facility. One would assume that the smaller animal shelter (scheme P) would be built also to be enlarged. That only makes sense. The city does not have spare funds to build a $1,270,070 animal shelter with an annual operating cost of over $100,000 per year.

The city of Marshall is pushed to the limit on both infrastructure and salaries for city employees. The city commissioners at this time still are not sure how they are going to fund the employee raises for 2019 budget which will be approximately $900,000 per year.

Funding an extra $600,000 for the animal shelter is too much for the city to bear. If private funds are available for the animal shelter, use those dollars in addition to the city’s $352,571.03. Approximately 50 percent of the Marshall Public Library was built with private funds, saving the taxpayers money and the city now has a state of the art facility for local patrons.

It is time to move this project forward and start construction of the Marshall Animal Shelter. Our pets need a new facility. We prefer Plan P as the cost to the taxpayers is lower and operating costs are within the budget the city can afford. But, if private funds are committed to cover the cost are donated to the animal shelter, build the larger facility discussed in Plan U.

It is time to move forward.