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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.

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.

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