Animal funds

Council to vote on management agreement for new animal sanctuary

Abilene City Council will vote Thursday on whether to enter into a management agreement with the nonprofit All Kind Animal Initiative to manage and operate a new animal sanctuary.

Animal control will remain a function of the city, but employees currently working for the city on the animal services shelter side will become employees of All Kind. Animal control employees will remain city employees.

For fiscal year 2023, which began Oct. 1, the city allocated about $1.4 million for animal shelter services. This allowance includes staff, operating costs, maintenance costs, fuel and vehicle costs, and utility costs.

In addition to this base amount, All Kind, under the proposed agreement, would receive an additional 5%, or approximately $69,790, for administration and overhead.

All Kind may request from the City Manager up to an additional 4% as part of the city’s annual budget allocation process.

The cost allocated to animal control expenses is just under $500,000.

In October 2021, the council entered into a professional services agreement with All Kind to assist the city in reviewing animal shelter design work, making recommended changes and determining possible costs.

He struck another deal with the nonprofit in July to contribute up to $4 million and water and sewer hookups. In return, All Kind would fund the remainder of the project of approximately $10.2 million.

More recently, council approved a measure that allowed the city to fund its share of the project and fund the completion of building design services.

Thursday’s meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers, 555 Walnut St.

In other cases…

Council on Thursday will consider:

∎ Three items related to hosting special events – an updated permissions policy, amending local ordinances to reflect the changes, and adding a series of special event fees.

The changes create a “one-stop shop” for those wanting to organize events, instead of spreading some of that work across multiple city departments, said Lesli Andrews, the city’s director of community services.

∎ A memorial to fallen city heroes in the North Courtyard of the Abilene Convention Center. It would include a free-standing canopy structure and a series of laser-etched stainless steel plaques depicting portraits of “those who have given their all in service to their community”, according to information provided to the council.

The total design submitted is approximately $450,000. The city is exploring more cost-effective alternatives, according to council materials, that could cut costs.

Lesli Andrews, Director of Community Services

∎ Purchase of equipment for a splash pad at Coach James Valentine Park (formerly Lee Park) from Vortex Equipment at a cost of $217,000.

The block will be the sixth in the city and will serve children in the northeast part of Abilene. The installation of the paddling pool will be paid separately.

The money for the equipment will come from the town’s minor improvements fund.

Other wading pools are located in Nelson, Sears, Redbud, Stevenson and Scarborough parks.

∎ Purchase new toilets for Cobb Park at a cost of $152,057.

∎ A $148,000 contract with Sheppard Surveying Company to survey 40 parcels of city-owned land around Lake Fort Phantom Hill.

∎ A five-year contract with Brightly for a total cost of $212,500 to purchase a software upgrade and a one-time building assessment.

Children bow their heads after the large bucket atop the Redbud Park Splash Pad emptied its contents on July 2.

The city has 400 buildings of varying sizes, and the contract will include an engineer assessing high-use buildings – City Hall, Abilene Convention Center, Abilene Police Department and Abilene Zoo.

“They are evaluating absolutely everything that is part of the infrastructure in these buildings,” Andrews said Monday. “They tag it and give it some of our code and they put it in the system where it will then give us the ability to predict…when things start to reach their end of life.”

In turn, city staff will similarly learn to assess structures.

The article also provides an opportunity to ensure that regular maintenance, such as filter replacements, is on schedule, while zoo assessment is needed for accreditation and security, Andrews said.

Blue and Gold Macaw at the Abilene Zoo.

∎ Contract with Patagonia Health for the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District Electronic Health Records System.

One benefit is that the new system will be able to transfer vaccination data directly into a state database.

It also has a billing module to facilitate submitting claims to Medicaid, managed care organizations, and private insurance companies.

The cost over five years will be $270,300

Brian Bethel covers city and county government and general news for Abilene Reporter-News. If you enjoy local news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com.