Among the items that were on the ballot for SPLOST 2016 was an upgrade to the Glynn County Animal Control shelter in some form or fashion. It wasn’t explicitly spelled out on the ballot how that upgrade would come, leaving both possibilities of building a new shelter or upgrading the old one on the table.
It has taken the Glynn County Commission too long to decide which direction it would go, but the commission finally took action during a work session Tuesday. Commissioners committed to building a new shelter at the county’s public safety complex.
While both options were on the table, if you look back at the town hall meetings held prior to the vote on SPLOST in 2016 it is clear a new shelter was the goal. As we wrote in an editorial a few months ago, all four stories in 2016 leading up to the vote mentioned only a new animal shelter and nothing about upgrading the current shelter.
This process has dragged out, though, because of the estimates for the new shelter being way over the allotted amount of SPLOST funds. The county set aside $1.5 million in SPLOST funds for the project, but construction estimates ballooned to as high as $3.9 million.
At Tuesday’s meeting, county manager Alan Ours told the commission he had another estimate that came in at $3.2 million and could be reduced to $2.9 million. While that cost is still bothersome to us, at least it is lower than previous estimates.
The county should live up to its promise to bring a new animal control shelter to the county. It is obvious from previous comments from animal control manager Tiffani Hill that the current shelter is not a viable, long-term solution.
We would also like to see the county engage some of the area’s businesses and nonprofits to see if they would be willing to partner with the county on this project to help minimize the extra cost. Partnerships have been helpful with other projects, and helping out the poor cats and dogs at the shelter through no fault of their own is a cause that could be close to the hearts of many in the area.
We appreciate the county finally pulling the trigger on a new animal shelter. Elected leaders should always try to keep their promises.
But we also hope that a lesson has been learned when it comes to estimating the price of SPLOST projects. If people can’t trust an estimate on the ballot, they will be more likely to vote no on future SPLOST initiatives.