Tahoe Vista Animal Shelter group to propose $3 million compromise | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Vista Animal Shelter group to propose $3 million compromise

Placer County's Tahoe Vista Animal Shelter, seen here, would close if an agreement is reached to house animals in need in Truckee.
Margaret Moran / Sierra Sun |

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TAHOE VISTA, Calif. — The six-month extension for community members to develop an alternative to closing the Tahoe Vista Animal Shelter is about to expire.

Next week, the Placer County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on a proposed 30-year lease agreement that would relocate shelter operations to the town of Truckee Animal Shelter at 10961 Stevens Lane.

This topic originally appeared before supervisors on Jan. 20, with the board voting 3-1 to delay a ruling based upon the urging of community members to include them and slow the process.

“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, said at the meeting.

Since, the grassroots group Friends of Tahoe Vista Animal Shelter launched a capital campaign, worked on land capability and forged partnerships in an effort create viable plan.

As of Tuesday, the group has raised about $100,000, said Linda Slack-Cruz, spokesperson for Friends of Tahoe Vista Animal Shelter.

Based on its own assessment, the group is proposing a new 3,500-square-foot shelter at the tune of roughly $3 million, she said.

Should the proposal be accepted, Friends of Tahoe Vista Animal Shelter recommends an advisory group with county, an animal nonprofit and community representatives be formed to implement the plan.

Meanwhile, Placer County staff is still recommending the board of supervisors OK the lease agreement, said Wesley Nicks, director of environmental health and animal services for the county.

Terms include the county paying a one-time sum of $750,000 to the town; a $250 per-animal charge for sheltering services; and a $238.50 per-month fee for office space.

It’s estimated such an agreement will save the county $100,000 annually, or roughly $2.25 million over its 30-year lifespan after fees, Nicks said.

Otherwise, the county envisions needing a 6,738-square-foot facility at a cost of roughly $5.7 million to replace the 42-year-old Tahoe Vista shelter located at 849 Shelter Road.

The facility is nearing the end of its lifespan and doesn’t meet the latest Humane Society standards, Nicks said.

“It’s so small, dark, and because of its design, the animals see each other and antagonize each other all day, creating so much stress and such a loud, uninviting environment,” he said. “… It is clear that it can’t remain as it is, and it must be updated. It’s not fair to the animals to continue operating the Tahoe Vista shelter as it is.”

The board of supervisors meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 21, at the Resort at Squaw Creek, at 400 Squaw Creek Road, Olympic Valley.

Should the board approve the agreement, Truckee Town Council would still need to vote on the matter, Nicks said.

If both approve, the agreement would be enacted the first week in September, with services transitioning to the Truckee facility afterward, he said.

If either rejects the proposal, Tahoe Vista Animal Shelter would remain open and likely operate as it does today with plans to update it.

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