By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — The city of Marshfield will provide further financial support for the construction of a new no-kill facility planned by Marshfield Area Pet Shelter (MAPS).
During its June 13 meeting, the Marshfield Common Council was asked to contribute $190,000 toward building a permanent, no-kill pet shelter in the city, and the request came to the council June 27 for deliberation.
Several years ago the council had discussed a $225,000 contribution to the project but opted to pay for a $60,000 portable HVAC system while providing a temporary home for MAPS in the city’s former airport terminal, which could be retracted at any time.
“Madison would like nothing better than for us to tear it down and build some hangars there so that their contribution to the airport would be less, so that’s a temporary situation, and they are well aware of it, and it’s only a matter of time that Madison is going to decide, ‘We want the building down,’” said Alderman Gordy Earll.
Alderman Ed Wagner said that the money would need to be borrowed and that organizers should look for more in-kind ways of obtaining the funds.
“Did you know that there is no pet shelter in the capital improvements program?” Wagner asked. “We’ve prioritized everything, and we prioritized where the money was going to come from, and we squeezed money from every different place.
“We took, basically, the amount of money that we’ve got out of the general tax levy to spend on streets next year in that Capital Improvements Plan. It’s $25,000, $25,000. The rest of it, guess where that comes from. We’re borrowing it. The fact is we don’t have that cash programmed into our budgetary process. Where are we going to have to get the money? We are going to have to borrow it.”
Mayor Chris Meyer addressed the possibility of MAPS renovating an existing building in the city.
“From a pet shelter standpoint, cleaning, maintenance, air filtration, the cost to renovate an existing facility were almost as much as building a facility. Having the drains in the right place to clean kennels, having the right air handling system and ducting in place in order to move the air around the facility, security, how you drop off animals in the middle of the night when there is not staff there, and where those animals are staged so that they can be safe during the night before staff come in the next morning to actually receive them, all of those things were considered when they looked at other facilities, and they did look at a number of facilities,” Meyer said.
In a 7-3 vote — with Wagner, Tom Witzel, and Jason Zaleski voting no — the council approved the financial contribution to MAPS’ capital campaign.
The dollar amount of the city’s contribution is yet to be determined. Marshfield City Administrator Steve Barg said that total would depend on a number of factors, including the final price of the 2.5 acres MAPS would purchase. Barg also stated that whatever contribution was made, the $60,000 for portable HVAC system would be subtracted from it.
Following the council’s decision, MAPS President Karen Rau spoke on the city’s support for the no-kill facilities.
“We couldn’t be more proud of the fact that they have always supported us,” Rau said. “I am always proud to tell other shelters in other communities that they have always supported us, so I am very happy with this result.”
The permanent shelter would provide lodging for about 20 dogs and 40 cats. MAPS currently holds the contracts with the city for sheltering stray cats and dogs.
Organizers plan to begin construction on the facility in 2019.