08/17/07 — County animal shelter bids in

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County animal shelter bids in

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on August 17, 2007 1:46 PM

Bids for the new Wayne County animal shelter are in, and already the lowest is about $200,000 over budget. However, the county has also received about $500,000 in private donations to help offset that cost -- an amount that County Manager Lee Smith is hailing as unprecedented.

"That is impressive," he said. "I think that says a lot for the community in general -- that they care."

Included in that total is an anonymous $200,000 pledge made earlier this year. It was contingent upon the county improving its euthanasia methods and adoption rates, but animal control director Justin Scally has already made strides in both those directions with the county's new Adopt-a-Pet program and a move away from the gas chambers to lethal injection.

The county also has received a $150,000 pledge from the Wayne County Humane Society to help replace the more than 50-year-old, 1,150-square-foot Brick Street facility.

And Smith said that he thinks that once construction actually begins on the new state-of-the-art, 1,150-square-foot center, there's a good chance more donations might be on their way -- including some to help with medical care, education, adoption programs and spay and neuter efforts.

He is hopeful that those donations and the enthusiasm surrounding the project will help spur the commissioners to accept the $1,882,587 bid submitted by Daniels and Daniels Construction Co. Inc. of Goldsboro.

The project's cost was estimated to be about $1.6 million.

The second lowest bid was $2,084,000 by Farrior & Sons Inc. of Farmville.

But Smith said that between the donations, $100,000 set aside in a capital reserve fund and the money already included in this year's budget, the county shouldn't have any problem paying for the project.

"Maybe we can go in and negotiate a lower cost," he said. "But we should be covered. This is cash. It was already planned."

If the bid is accepted by the county Board of Commissioners at its regular meeting Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. (briefing session at 8 a.m.), the hope is that work can then begin within the next 30 to 45 days at the Clingman Street location.

"It's a good, public location and it looks like it'll be a great facility," Smith said. "Something needs to be done.

"All the plans are in place and with people popping up and starting to write checks, it's time to move."