Proposition N: Copperas Cove voters to decide the fate of new animal shelter facility
The Copperas Cove City Council voted 4 to 2 in July, to send the decision on whether or not to fund a new animal control facility to Copperas Cove voters.
The proposition is listed as Proposition N on the Nov. 2 ballot.
The new shelter, if approved, would be located near Fire Station No. 2, on F.M. 1113, at a proposed cost of $3.8 million for the construction of the facility. The bond election would authorize the debt issuance for the project.
The project had initially come in at a higher cost, upon which the city council wanted to see lower figures. Then, the city council went back and forth on whether or not to issue certificate of obligation bonds for the project or let the voters decide.
At the council's July 20 meeting, Councilmember Jack Smith made a motion to direct city staff to proceed with preparing for a bond election on the November ballot for the animal control facility, which was seconded by Councilmember Dianne Campbell.
Paying for the project
If approved by voters, the $3.8 million bond note will be paid out as part of the city’s bond debts.
According to City Manager Ryan Haverlah, based on current property values, the current plan for the bond’s financing would increase the tax rate by no more than 1.7 cents per $100 valuation under Proposition N.
That translates to an estimated additional $17 yearly in property taxes for a $100,000 home, Haverlah told the Leader-Press.
For a $200,000 home, that’s an additional $34 per year, or $51 per year for a $300,000 home.
Also on the table in the future as a possible funding source for Animal Control, is a partnership proposed by Fort Hood with the city of Copperas Cove, that the city would take Fort Hood animals that their animal control facility cannot keep beyond 72 hours, with those animals subject to the same policies as any animals picked up within Copperas Cove’s city limits.
Fort Hood has recognized that it would have to pay for that service, up to and including capital investments which would include facilities, vehicles, as well as human resources, additional positions and other operating costs, Haverlah told the city council in July.
Haverlah said that Fort Hood is trying to accomplish this agreement before June 2022 and added that Fort Hood takes in approximately 900 animals per year.
If a proposed agreement between Fort Hood and the city goes through, funds could be used to pay off that debt.
Animal Shelter staff shares issues with current facility
Animal Control Supervisor Tamara Hall shared her thoughts regarding the issue at the July 20 meeting.
Hall said that the current facility has faced multiple infrastructure issues, such as needing a plumber to come out three times within an eight-week time period to deal with plumbing issues in Kennel B, which is the intake facility and is the oldest kennel.
Hall also mentioned that the city’s animal control faces a situation with the intake of cats, with only 12 cat cages for the entire city of 35,000 people.
“In the last month alone, we had 120 cats and kittens come in,” Hall said at that time. “Now, we’re doing the best we can but that is way over the limit, and we can only handle so much. Rescues can only handle so much. Fosters can only handle so much. We’re doing everything we can to get them adopted out and get them out of the shelter, but sometimes it’s not always that easy.”
When it came time to decide, the council voted 4-2 for sending the issue of a new animal control facility to the voters in the November election, with Councilmember Jay Manning absent, and Councilmembers Dan Yancey and Dianne Campbell voting against it. As she made her vote, Campbell said, “I really want this to pass. Nay. It’s got to pass.”