Friday, August 1, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Animal shelter still on hold

By
From page A1 | April 12, 2011 |

El Dorado County supervisors on Monday sent staff back to their desks to hammer out some timelines for moving forward on the county’s proposed new animal shelter. After three hours of testimony during Monday’s special hearing, the board directed new project manager Kris Payne to provide concrete answers to specific issues regarding progress on the project.

Important Subscriber Update

We will be switching to a new online subscription service on Tuesday, August 5th. If you are already a subscriber with login access to MtDemocrat.com you will need to re-register under the new service. This will not affect your bill. Please take the time today to click "Subscriber Verification" to verify your subscription with us and continue your access to MtDemocrat.com before the new service takes over.

We apologize for the temporary inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience and continued support while we make this transition.

- Mountain Democrat

1-Month Access
Subscriber Verification
Help?

Along with development and construction timelines for the final project, the actual shelter, supervisors generally approved consideration of a number of proposed recommendations from the Health Services Department, which oversees Animal Services.

The department asked the board to consider exempting the annual fees for working animals actively engaged in agricultural-related activities. Mostly dogs herding livestock, the exemption would not waive the requirement that the animals be licensed, according to County Counsel Lou Green. The same exemption was requested for working guide and service dogs, collectively known as “assistance dogs.”

In addition to those specific exemptions, the department asked supervisors to seriously consider allowing Animal Services to embed microchips in animals that have been impounded, particularly dogs and cats. Microchips are considered to be the cutting edge of monitoring and regulating animals that run afoul of Animal Services. Pet owners’ identity can be immediately determined when the animal has been fitted with a microchip. Reuniting pets with their owners would be made much easier, and enforcement of ordinances and collections of fines and fees for violations would be easier to accomplish, Chief Administrative Office Analyst Teri Knowlton told the board.

The foregoing issues, however, were but “spoon victuals” for the main course — that is, how, when and whether to follow through on construction of the animal shelter. Over the past two years, since the county plunged deeper into poor financial straits, the $6.2 million set aside to fund the shelter has been seen by many as a source of great potential relief for the General Fund.

Taxpayer groups, deputy sheriffs and others have tried to sway the board to postpone the animal shelter and use the money to help balance the county budget, thereby avoiding some layoffs or shutdowns of some programs. However, others suggest that the fund was established based on a plan to develop a new shelter, and it would be improper and inappropriate to use it for other purposes.

Currently the county operates a “temporary” small animal facility on Placerville Drive in Placerville, administrative offices down the street and a large animal compound in El Dorado Hills. Under the new-shelter proposal, those services and functions would move under one roof or within one fence on 10 acres between Diamond Springs and El Dorado. The county purchased the property several years ago for the proposed animal shelter.

A driving force behind the proposed move is that the lease with the Placerville Drive property owner expires as of Dec. 31, 2013, and is considered unlikely to be renewed.

Over the past two years, progress on the proposal has been much more technical and legalistic than supervisors would have hoped for, and some expressed grave concern that “nothing’s been done,” and “we’re back where we were in 2004.”

Payne, in his first address to the board as the new project manager, tried to answer the question of why progress has taken so long. Acknowledging that he has only become familiar with the project in the past two weeks, he explained, “Land development is a lot more complex than just building a house.”

Payne went on to note that environmental issues, especially grading and the accompanying sediment buildup, affects creeks and wetlands, and “we can’t risk state penalties for getting it wrong.”

Other issues include the need for agreements with the adjacent property owner who sold the parcel to the county. Under the terms of the sale, the county is responsible for building an access road over the existing property in order to get to the proposed shelter site.

Commonly known as Phase I of the project, that and related engineering and architectural work were initially authorized by the board in March of 2009 at a proposed cost of about $1.5 million. That authorization specifically did not authorize nor require future build-out of the shelter itself.

Meanwhile, as the county’s revenue has plummeted to historic lows, the departments responsible for overseeing development and facilities construction have withered. Development Services and the Department of Transportation have suffered unprecedented cuts, layoffs and reorganization beginning in 2008. Two weeks ago, in fact, Kris Payne spoke to the board in his role as president of the County Managers Association and asked supervisors not to lay off up to 20 engineers and other staff from DOT, including himself.

Payne talked to the Mountain Democrat by phone after Monday’s meeting.

“I was very sincere regarding the complexity of this,” Payne explained. “And I have wanted to be more conservative and careful, because I don’t know everything about the project yet.”

He had advised the board that the actual construction might be better planned for spring 2012 rather than this building season because of concern about getting deep into earth-moving too soon before fall and winter rains.

“I want to be sure we have environmental clearances and permitting in order, especially regarding grading. It seems that expectations weren’t met, and I need to find these things out and do my due diligence. I’ll know more in a couple of weeks. I’m going to try to go faster, and I don’t necessarily want to take the most conservative approach.

“Folks are saying, ‘We want it now,’ and if it’s truly, truly possible, that’s what I want to do. Let’s get this done,” Payne said.

E-mail Chris Daley at cdaley@mtdemocrat.net or call 530-344-5063.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    News

    Cameron Park house burns

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Supes delay petition

    By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

    Fire generated small city, inspired volunteers

    By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Sand Fire 95% contained

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

     
    Two fires in town

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A3

    .

    Opinion

    Missing the point

    By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

     
    The weekly Daley: The wrong side of history

    By Chris Daley | From Page: A4

    Billingsley’s bullets: Advice from my psychiatrist

    By Bob Billingsley | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Letters

    Water conservation

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

     
    Koby

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

    Debt reduction at EID with Coco?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    Time for change in CP

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

    Olives need less water

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

     
    EID rate discrimination

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

    Second Amendment

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

     
    Pollock Pines’ Fourth of July Parade

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

    .

    Sports

    Racing returns with big 5-division card

    By Bill Sullivan | From Page: A9

     
    Camp draws good numbers

    By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post | Gallery

    New law tackles gridiron concussion problem

    By Mike Bush | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Outside with Charlie: Rafting denied

    By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A9

    Roundup: July 31, 2014

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Prospecting

    Sing while you paint

    By Placerville Arts Association | From Page: B1Comments are off for this post | Gallery

     
    Things to do: Aug. 1, 2014

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2

    The making of a champion

    By Special to the Democrat | From Page: B2

     
    Plenty of golden fun during SlugFest

    By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Art on the Divide is showing new exhibitor

    By Art On The Divide | From Page: B3

     
    ‘The Flu Season’ stirs emotions

    By Ovation Stage | From Page: B4

    Time to register for classes at Center Stage

    By Center Stage Dance Academy | From Page: B5

     
    Guitar group performs in Sutter Creek

    By Sutter Creek | From Page: B5

    Get a groove on in Sutter Creek

    By Sutter Creek | From Page: B8

     
    Chris Young in concert at Carson Valley Inn

    By Carson Valley Inn | From Page: B8

    The music continues at Bear Valley Music Festival

    By News Release | From Page: B8

     
    Sacramento Museums are celebrating

    By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B9

     
    .

    Essentials

    Weather stats

    By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

     
    Crime Log: July 17-19

    By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

    .

    Obituaries

    Lisa Oliver Rose

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    Larry A. Randall

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

    Mark A. Smith

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    Jeffie “Jeff” Lee Callahan

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

    Patsy Ruth Wing

    By Contributor | From Page: A2

     
    .

    Real Estate

    Decorating your home by the numbers

    By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4

     
    Avoiding the deal killers

    By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

    Hilltop home views outrank water-front views

    Press Release | From Page: HS7

     
    Luxury home sales jump

    Press Release | From Page: HS11

     
    Pending home sales decrease in June

    Press Release | From Page: HS13

     
    Sheryl Lindroos joins American Heritage

    Press Release | From Page: HS17

    Sunny Rosabella exudes a warm ambiance

    Press Release | From Page: HS23

     
    .

    Comics

    .

    Home Source

    Decorating your home by the numbers

    By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4

    Avoiding the deal killers

    By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

    Hilltop home views outrank water-front views

    Press Release | From Page: HS7

    Luxury home sales jump

    Press Release | From Page: HS11

    Pending home sales decrease in June

    Press Release | From Page: HS13

    Sheryl Lindroos joins American Heritage

    Press Release | From Page: HS17

    Sunny Rosabella exudes a warm ambiance

    Press Release | From Page: HS23