Animal Shelter Price Tag Concerns Councilor

Jay DiLisio says he supports the construction of a new shelter, but he would like more information on why the project is expected to cost more than originally thought.

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the first step toward building a new animal shelter in Attleboro, but the decision came with a comment of caution from one councilor.

Jay DiLisio said he was concerned about the recent revelation that construction of the 3,600-square-foot building is expected to cost in excess of $1 million, despite city officials' original forecast that the price tag would be between $600,000 and $700,000.

"I just want to see where we overshot so badly, what was behind it," DiLisio said.

Building Commission Chair Jack Jacobi  at its meeting last week. He said the commission learned of the price hike after interviewing three potential architects who said in separate conversations that it would cost $295 to $300 per square foot to build the shelter. He said municipal building projects usually cost about $200 per square foot.

"In no way am I taking away my support for this project," said DiLisio, who commented that the current shelter was in a deplorable condition and a new one must be built. "I just want to make sure that we're doing what we need to do to make sure we are being, as we've said so many times, the stewards of the funds of the city."

Mayor Kevin Dumas wrote in his proposed budget that he would make a request during the 2012-13 fiscal year to borrow money to fund the project.

The council voted on Tuesday to spend $50,000 to design the shelter. The firm selected to create the design is Connecticut-based Design Learned, which specializes in animal facility engineering.

No other councilor made a comment about the vote.

The current shelter has been in use since 1980. Many people say it is too small and inadequate for proper animal care. Jacobi told the council last week that if all goes well, the new facility could open next summer.

Animal Lover June 21, 2012 at 07:29 PM
The current Animal Shelter is an embarrassment to the citizens of Attleboro. We don't simply want a new Animal Shelter; we NEED a new Animal Shelter. If the Building Commission underestimated the cost to begin with, please do not punish the bad calculations by denying us the Shelter that has been promised my the Mayor and was a campaign promise of the majority of the Councilors. I invite anyone to drop into the current Animal Shelter and judge for yourself if a new shelter is warrented. The Shelter is located at 1 N Pond Street on the Seekonk border next to the Wastewater Treatment Facility. The Shelter is open on Wednesdays from 6-8pm, Saturdays from 11am-3pm & Sundays from 11am to 1pm. You can also learn more information about all of the good work that the shelter is doing at: www.faaspets.org Please, do not let the mistake of an individual or a small set of individuals derail the progress desired by thousands. This is the animals moment to have a facility that is adequate for their needs. We must all band together to support the new Animal Shelter.
paul June 21, 2012 at 07:48 PM
This project could have been a joint Seekonk/Attleboro venture.
Henry June 21, 2012 at 11:29 PM
1. Councilor Stop flip flopping and trying to make everyone like you. Not everyone needs to like Jay. You don't want to offend the animal lovers and you don't want to offend fiscally responsible voters either. Well pick a side and stick to it! watching you flounder is uncomfortable. 2. Think about why the building commission made such a point to highlight the cost......give up....it came from the corner office so he can have an out to not build it....can hear it now..."So sorry it just cost too much and we cannot afford it" 3. Put a long term perminent trailer for an office/ storage 4. Make it a Kill Shelter. how many pitbulls do you really need to save?
Jerry Chase June 21, 2012 at 11:45 PM
So, it's going to cost a solid $300K MORE than the original estimate of about $650K. That's a solid 46% more. Would a winning contractor win a bid for a job by being off so much? Not a chance. The real test as to whether a city councilor is seriously concerned about City spending is to vote "No" on this over-priced turkey. I blame J. Jacobi, the buddy of K. D.. The only way to fairly pony up more than a half-a-million for this boondoggle is to impose a special excise tax on pet food. Raffles and bake sales are not gonna do it.
Roxanne Houghton June 22, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Most people probably wont remember this, but I do. When Judy Robbins was Mayor, there was a decision to build a new animal shelter - supposedly. Some of us cared a lot about this, but were cautiously optimistic. The council was given a price to build a new shelter and things seemed to be moving along. At the last minute. the same Jack Jacobi appeared at a council meeting to tell us "Whoops" - the price has suddenly doubled. Take from this what you will. I will never forget it. Needless to say, the plans were cancelled. Had things been done the way they should have been done back then, we would not now need to spend a million dollars, which is well within the ballpark of new facility, today. The animal shelter is a city department and deserves the same respect as any other department. In fact, it probably gets more foot traffic from our residents than any other department. The people of this city made a decision many years ago to support a humane and sanitary shelter. The outpouring of support by Attleboro residents has remained steadfast. Our present shelter certainly is not lacking in care for our homeless animals, but it is not safe and cant not even comply with todays quarantine statutes, which are handed down by state law. I am proud to be a supporter of this project and feel confident that this Mayor will not reneg on his promise to take another step towards bringing Attleboro into this century - finally.
Ronda "Roni" Lodge June 22, 2012 at 09:57 AM
Roxanne is right on point with this! I would have liked to agree with Henry but after reading number 4, I cannot, but I will agree with his 1-3 statements. Let's not point the finger at a specific breed -- that is unjust. This shelter is needed and this city wastes more money then it can throw a stick at. i.e. when Mayor Kevin spent a boat-load of money planting trees up and down Maple Street and the east side. Did we really NEED that? We NEED this facility. Putting together meaningless committees and commission to be self-serving. Another waste of money. And yes, Jay, stop flip flopping -- it makes you look bad!!
paul June 22, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I like cats & dogs but a million bucks is way too much for stray mutts & feral felines.
city watcher June 22, 2012 at 01:13 PM
is the "east side" as you know it not worth spending the money on? I walk those streets 3-4 times a week and love the smell of the blossoms when they are in full bloom. Us folks on the east side deserve some beautifcation as well. If I remember correctly, it wasn't "Mayor Kevin's" money or the taxpayer's money, it was paid for by grants. And for the record, I'm with you on Henry's #4 comment. Disgraceful.
paul June 22, 2012 at 01:19 PM
City Watcher, for the record, grants come from taxpayer money.
city watcher June 22, 2012 at 01:25 PM
agreed Paul. But the types of grant money used to beautify the city can not be used to build an animal shelter. If they are not used what they are earmarked for, they are lost.
Reason June 22, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Grants are available for shelters. The city is successful obtaining grants for other capital projects, perhaps they could redirect their grant writing skills towards the shelter. While these may not provide a significant portion of the cost they would cut down the cost. http://www.americanhumane.org/animals/professional-resources/grants/ http://www.aspcapro.org/grants-resources-and-related-links.php
Steven Scott June 22, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I'm all for a new shelter,but that price sounds outrageous.Think about it,300K will get you a nice new construction home with a 2 car garage, Subtract at least 100K for the lot (we already have that),kitchen and other amenities we don't need. Make the Garage and the cellar into the quarantine and other special rooms we need,the living room and kitchen areas would make a great space for reception and visiting. Plenty of yard for kennels, rooms for storage and office space. Throw in another 400K for fixtures and "specialized matters" and we are still under the original estimate.
Virginia June 22, 2012 at 08:53 PM
I do belive the animals need a better place...what bothers me is there are 3x more shelters for animals than people in the US...we need some of this passion to help our hungry neighbors who may be in trouble as well.................
Kim Penque June 23, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Steven are you serious? Oh wait you must be serious because this is on the internet! First of all let me state construction of a new home is no comparison to the construction of a new Shelter. My husband who is a Builder has never had to build a home with proper means to maintain disease control, never had to build a home with animal behavior in mind, he has never had to build a home with dual air ventilation systems....you know why? Because a home is nothing like a shelter...although we may call it a temporary home for our animals (maybe that is where you are getting confused??) it is no comparison at all....but thanks for the brainstorming! We are partnering with the city and this will happen :)
Gretchen Robinson June 23, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Kim and others: Thank you for your calm voice of reason as you speak reason to those who are sputtering their discontent. We appreciate your steady, strong advocacy for animals. We in Attleboro have neglected our responsibility for far too long. And it is a responsibility we've ducked for far to long, to provide a decent shelter that people will want to go to to find a pet for their family. For years Attleboro residents had no place to take lost cats, or if you found one, you had to find a home on your own. I know, I did that for years. This was long after other shelters in the area took in cats. They are not 'feral' or 'strays,' they are lost and/or abandoned. Most of the critics of this proposal are longtime critics of spending money on anything. This is necessary. Shame on us all if we don't get this built NOW. And shame on those who write just to make political hay and to spread their negativity. Now is the time to move forward.
deb of see-attleboro June 23, 2012 at 10:44 PM
paul: I suppose this will be another "should-da, could-da" moment.
Karen June 26, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Apparently you really don't like cats & dogs or you would never have made such a horrible statement! Most of those stray & feral animals that you refer to are out wandering the streets because of some irresponsible person who never spayed or neutered them or just got tired of taking care of them and let them go. A proper shelter is the least that they deserve!
Mike June 26, 2012 at 08:00 PM
I will never understand why every town that needs a building feels like they have to re-invent the wheel. I'm all for a new shelter. Here's a thought; find a comparably sized town that has built one recently, and see how they like it. Buy the design from their archy. Tweak the things that the town might have found don't work well. Why a start-from-scratch design for anything?!?! Town Halls, police stations, schools, Fire stations, animal shelters..... Ridiculous to me that a plan can't be found that fits Attleboro for faaaar less $. And Steven... Fact of the matter... Take that 300k house and make it ADA legal (Have to by law) Pay prevailing wage (Have to by law) Shelter still needs a kitchen, to prep food and meds etc, for sick animals. Also, it isn't just stray mutts and feral cats, it could be your dog that gets loose and gets picked up. I'd like for my dog to go someplace clean and safe if that happens, until I pick her up.
paul June 26, 2012 at 09:46 PM
When a dog gets loose, it's a stray. I have been to the Pond Street facility, it's old. A million bucks is way too much! How about people that have no animals, should their taxes go up? All you animal lovers think that because someone is against this plan they hate animals, not so. People don't want to pay more taxes, period. If you love your dogs so much don't let them loose. Fix up the old shelter!
Gretchen Robinson June 26, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Ah the libertarian argument, people without pets shouldn't have to pay for an animal shelter. Next it will be, people without children shouldn't have to pay for other people's kids to go to public schools. In this case, it's "Don't use my tax money for an animal shelter." There's a social contract that says, we are responsible for pets who need human care. It's the humane thing to do. Dogs get loose, yes. The shelter serves as a central location to take a dog or cat too. Most of the animals I've re-homed on my own were cats (and one dog) that people dumped. Or let out and didn't care if they found their way back home. That's irresponsible, of course, and they are legally liable if located. Fix up the old shelter? are you kidding? This is a big city now and this isn't 1950. Are we so poor that we can't have a decent shelter? One worthy of the many volunteers and staff to work in? (or would you have them keep volunteering at a criminally cramped and substandard building)? How about a shelter where people will want to go to in order to choose their new pet? (Which means handicapped accessible, well designed and planned. $1,000,000 is not too much. Have you researched how much a decent (not a fancy) shelter costs??? I haven't either, but I will. Will you?
Gretchen Robinson June 26, 2012 at 10:21 PM
http://planningyouranimalshelter.com/estimating_cost.html Since the City owns the land, we're ahead of the game. Oh and by the way, the City needs a dog park. When is that going to happen?
Jerry Chase June 30, 2012 at 04:45 AM
What was the number of school children from homeless families in Attleboro recently quoted in The Sun Chronicle? Around 114, 120, maybe. It was well over 100. And the free-spenders want to spend a solid million bucks for stray / dumped animals. It's altogether too easy to dump 'em. I say tax pet foods.
Jerry Chase July 23, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Anybody want to bet that while Councilor DiLisio remains "concerned" about the cost of a new animal shelter, he won't be so 'concerned' that he'll vote "No".
Richard W. Lunt July 23, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I honestly believe that Councilor Jay DiLisio is doing the right thing, he's looking out for our taxpayer dollars. The new animal shelter is a great idea for Attleboro and I support it; however, if the original cost was between $600,000 to $700,000 and was revised to be in excess of $1 million I would and I do question why the increase in costs. Councilor DiLisio is doing his a job as a City Councilor. Give the guy a break people!!!
Dolly January 22, 2013 at 01:36 AM
I believe the official opening is Febuary 3.
Jerry Chase January 22, 2013 at 08:48 PM
Yes, at least Jay had the courage to speak. But when the chips are down, as they will be on Tues., Jan. 22nd, the very safe bet is that few, if any councilors, have the courage to vote "no". Those who own doggies should pay, not non-owners. Dogs do not have rights----only humans do. But many humans will not vote "no", so everyone will pay: even non-owners of dogs. "Those who bark should pay for the park."
Attleboro Resident January 22, 2013 at 09:02 PM
Hi Jerry - just to clarify, this is an animal shelter, not a dog park. I don’t know if that changes your views or not on the fact that only dogs owners should pay. That raises a question if you do believe that, why don't I have a choice on where my tax dollars go? I do not have kids (or haven’t lived here all my life), so why should my tax dollars go towards schools? I have no problem in the fact that we are investing in schools, but that is just a comparison to your statement above.
Jerry Chase January 22, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Thank you for that appropriate distinction: it was my error in forgetting that detail.
Attleboro Resident January 22, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Ok no worries, I just wanted to make sure it was clarified that the dog park that is being built was funded all by donations.
Gretchen Robinson January 23, 2013 at 03:09 AM
Jerry, I think you are barking up the wrong tree. It took courage to vote 'yes.' It would be easy to harden one's heart and vote 'no.' The Councilors took a leap of faith --for the future - both for families who will now be better able to adopt without being in a cramped noisy shelter. Instead preadoptive families will have a private room to go to in order to get acquainted and be better able to make a good decision. A new shelter will be better for staff and volunteers who won't have to cope with an inadequate shelter, day in and day out. Their commitment is extraordinary. Their enthusiasm and energy had infused the whole City. I think it will be a point of pride for our City. And deservedly so. There is a huge portion of the City that wants to see lost and abandoned animals cared for. This shelter has been delayed for so long that just about everyone I talk to is in favor of it and sees the need for it. This is an investment in the future. Esp. with the dog park next door for the dogs with owners who bring them to run. Families who are considering a pet will see the dogs running and romping and get a sense of how much fun having a pet can be. It's a happy occasion. Please don't rain on any more parades.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something