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City council addresses county animal shelter issues 

–At the most recent Paso Robles City Council meeting, the council voted to authorize the city manager to engage the services of an architect (Ravatt Albrecht & Associates) and an operational expert (Jeff Charter, Executive Director of the Petaluma Animal Services Foundation) to assist the cities of Paso Robles and Atascadero to conduct a feasibility analysis of whether to construct and operate a North County animal shelter independent of the County of San Luis Obispo.

The cost of these services are expected to be split 50/50 between the City of Paso Robles and Atascadero so that total costs for Paso Robles will not exceed $20,000. The evaluation is expected to conclude prior to Oct. 31.

Paso Robles currently contracts with the County for animal control field and shelter services. The shelter is located at 885 Oklahoma Avenue, off Highway 1 between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay.

The county is replacing the current shelter with an up-to-date facility. The agreement between the county and each city requires that cities commit to financing their equitable share of the facility, if they choose to continue to contract with the county for services. The council directed the city manager to execute the agreement on Feb. 21, 2017. The cost of the facility’s construction and operation will significantly increase the costs to participating cities. The concern over these increased costs led the council to seek other options.

On Sept. 7, the City Council directed the City Manager and Police Chief to send a letter to the Board of Supervisors requesting the county to delay its process to allow the cities of Atascadero and Paso Robles the time needed to decide whether or not to construct a North County animal shelter; retain an advisor for to determine the nature and scope of capital improvements necessary for a North County shelter; issue an RFP for an advisor on operations, such that operations would not dilute other, higher priority Police functions; and return to council with recommendations.

Staff sought out two types of experts to assist the city in its analysis: an architect to project the costs of designing and constructing a north County shelter; and an operational expert to project the costs of staffing and operating the shelter.

Ravatt Albrecht & Associates, an architectural firm based in Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo, has designed a number of animal shelters and related structures. Jeff Charter, the Executive Director of the Petaluma Animal Services Foundation has operated and opened several shelters.

Related story: Letter: Paso Robles cares about animal welfare



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