Interim Marshall City Manager Jack Redmon made a brilliant move at Thursday night’s commission meeting, saving the city and taxpayers a lot of money. He recommended for the animal shelter and infrastructure projects not to be put on the November ballot, anticipating one if not both would have been defeated, resulting in a three year wait to do anything on the projects.
Some of the commissioners seemed bewildered on the recommendation not to go to vote, either because they did not read their meeting packets or did not do their homework. It is just as clear there were enough taxpayers who do not want a $1.2 million animal shelter and were willing to sign a petition to force a vote on the animal shelter. They stopped the animal shelter from being built and they should be proud of their victory. The infrastructure projects were just an unfortunate casualty of the animal shelter dissatisfaction.
Redmon knew that a defeat at the polls would delay the projects for another three years, before a new commission would even be able to talk about the issue. Rather than pass the buck, Redmon seeks to fix the problem now in hopes of preventing both issues from being delayed any further. He deserves credit for forward thinking and wise management of the city’s needs. In six months, all the projects can be discussed again.
However, the setback is a familiar feeling, especially in the commission chambers …
Meet the new Memorial City Hall poster child as the animal shelter has become Marshall’s latest long-gestating project. We have feared for years that the animal shelter would gain this dubious distinction, but now after watching its status ping pong back and forth from pipe dream to sure thing and back again we feel now is a good time to revaluate.
Marshall needs both the infrastructure improvements and a new animal shelter. The current animal shelter is over 50 years old, the oldest in the state, and is too small to be effective in anything more than killing the vast majority of its ‘inmates’ with the kill count fluctuating as high as 80 percent or higher. This needs to be changed.
A compromise needs to be made, trimming down the $1, 223,670 proposed shelter even further, eliminating things such as the community room in order to create a shelter that will be a fit for all. We have never fully understood the need of a community room in the animal shelter and apparently signers of the petition did not either. Simply having a slightly larger, cleaner facility that will lower the kill count should be enough to redeem the shelters PR in the eyes of the public.
The overall items on the infrastructure improvements list represent too many safety and quality of life concerns for our residents and city staff members to be ignored. Concerns like the City Annex, Visual Arts Center and some of the parking lot improvements. But, as with the animal shelter, several items on the list of infrastructure improvements can also be shaved down such as the Driving Range Lighting, which alone would bring around $35,000 in savings.
We are encouraged to see these items have not been completely taken off the table — thanks to Redmon — and instead hope they are retooled, slimmed down to fit Marshall in a more economical way.