Put animal shelter on ballot for residents to vote

Animal shelter divisiveness? Let the voters decide!

On May 24, the Marshall City Commission will finalize their vote on a schematic design and funding option for a new animal shelter. The Plan P design will be a 2,600 square foot facility costing about $586,000 of which $400,000 has been allocated. It will be larger than our present shelter. It will house more animals in a cleaner environment and would meet the state of Texas standards. The city has the projected funding needed to build the Plan P shelter design. No increase in taxes would be necessary. Its construction could start tomorrow.

The Plan U design will be a 7,900 square foot facility costing about $1.2 million to $2 million, and will have to be funded with a certificate of obligation totaling $2.2 million. The certificate would be paid back by the taxpayer over a 15-year period with principal payments starting in 2022.

Commissioner Vernia Calhoun expressed her concern about the funding for Plan U, asking the commission to think about the burden to be placed on the taxpayers, the city and the debt that will be placed on our already strained budget. Commissioner Gail Beil, who is chairperson of the Animal Shelter Plans Committee, expressed her disappointment in the lack of private financial support for the new proposed shelter despite the Friends of Marshall Animals group’s voicing support for the expensive Plan U design. Commissioner Beil’s District 2 voters have expressed reservations about the building of a new animal shelter and its funding. Her support of the shelter and her district’s voters’ opposition places her opposite of her district voters’ wants.

We are recommending that Plan P be adopted since its funding will not entail a tax increase and the monies are available for its construction. We have to let the Commission know that a tax increase for an animal shelter is not a good option. Contact your commissioner and voice your support of Plan P or to have the divisive issue placed on the November 2018 ballot so that the citizens of Marshall can make that decision as to how they want their monies spent in regards to this project.

Leo Morris,