Placer supes delay vote on Tahoe Vista Animal Shelter closure (updated)
TAHOE CITY, Calif. — A decision on the fate of the Tahoe Vista Animal Shelter has been delayed until summer after community members called for the process to slow down.
In a 3-1 vote Tuesday, the Placer County Board of Supervisors ruled to wait six months before voting on a 30-year lease agreement with the town of Truckee for combined animal shelter services.
For the past several months, officials have discussed a partnership that would shut down the Tahoe Vista Animal Shelter and relocate operations to the town’s shelter at 10961 Stevens Lane.
“I think there is value to be had in slowing this process down,” said Jennifer Montgomery, supervisor for District 5, which includes North Tahoe. “… We would need to see substantive and substantial progress on this. … I need the community who is asking for this (to) slow down to be part of the process, not just telling county staff what to do.”
Montgomery advised residents to get involved in the planning, design and fundraising process moving forward all the while keeping county staff regularly informed of their progress.
The issue will be addressed again at the board’s next Tahoe meeting in July, according to the county.
“Rest assured, if we’re back here in July and there hasn’t been some significant progress toward a solution that allows us to keep the facility with a higher level of care for the animals and a cost savings to the county, then I think it’s incumbent upon this board to make a decision that we otherwise might have been inclined to make today,” Kirk Uhler, District 4 supervisor, told the crowd Tuesday at Granlibakken Tahoe.
Staff had recommended the board approve the lease and operating agreement with Truckee.
“Often we think we will increase service by centralizing operations, only to find that service truly deteriorates,” said Linda Slack-Cruz, of Tahoe Vista. “We would hate to enter into a 30-year contract only to find that the level of service is compromised and our current issues become greater concerns. … We are respectfully asking for your consideration in slowing this process down and letting us participate.”
Agreement terms included the county paying a one-time sum of $750,000 to the town; and the county paying the town on a per-animal basis for shelter services and office space.
“As taxpayers, our dollars should be spent on our community,” said Skip Piechocinski, of Carnelian Bay. “… I think the $750,000 should be redirected along with our taxes to make improvements and upgrades to the Tahoe Vista Animal Shelter instead of helping to finance a shelter outside of our local area.”
Long-term cost savings — roughly $2.25 million across 30 years, according to the agreement — along with improved service and care to animals are among benefits Placer County foresees with the agreement.
It’s estimated to cost $5.7 million to replace the 42-year-old Tahoe Vista shelter located at 849 Shelter Road.
“We’re in a new economic society,” said Jim Holmes, District 3 supervisor, who voted against delaying action. “State and federal government from Congress to the governor on down are looking to local jurisdictions to collaborate and to make wise decisions from a local level because state and federal funding is no longer there.
“This is an opportunity for us to collaborate with a neighboring jurisdiction.”
When asked if the town would still be interested in an agreement with Placer County in six months, Truckee Police Chief Adam McGill said: “We’re not going anywhere. If Placer elects they want to discuss again, we will be here.”
In the meantime, the Tahoe Vista Animal Shelter will continue to operate normally, with office hours from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
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