Vicksburg, Miss. (WJTV) – The city of Vicksburg is working to build a new animal shelter. After bids came in hundreds of thousands of dollars over budget, city leaders worried about how to finance the entire project.
Vicksburg leaders held an intense question-and-answer session with the public, who pleaded with leaders to build a new animal shelter as soon as possible.
“The concrete foundation and floor of the shelter allow odors and viral germs to absorb into it. It’s deadly for animals and unhealthy for humans,” said Marilyn Terry, an animal rights activist.
“We’re at the point where it’s dog after dog, and we have to put them to sleep, because there’s no room. The roof collapsed on this shelter the last time it rained. We can’t wait two and a half more years, we can’t,” said Dianne Gardera, another animal rights activist.
Mayor George Flaggs said he wanted to build the much-needed shelter, but construction bids received by the city exceeded the city’s $1.6 million budget. He discussed a few possible ways to fund the facility.
“Use the reserve fund. Another option is to use several creative fundraisers that I think could get us there, and the last option is to go to the Legislative Assembly and ask them to use some of the money we have” , Flaggs explained.
Some of the ideas that the mayor opposed were raising taxes, using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, and starting the project once in a while, then raising the rest of the funds during building.
Both aldermen were skeptical about using the reserve fund.
“What happens if we have another ice storm and we take that $2 million out of the reserve? We will be against the wall. We’re going to be like every other big city that has to borrow money to fix infrastructure. But I want you to know that I love animals,” Alderman Alex Monsour said.
The board decided that the best decision right now was to try to get offers within their budget. They will meet Thursday at 1:00 p.m. The council should reject the current bids and start over in hopes of securing lower bids.
The mayor’s goal is to start building a new shelter within the next 45 days.