Cattery addition at city shelter up for commission vote this week

Staff is recommending that the City Commission approve a $462,000 contract with Detailed Construction for the cattery addition at the Great Falls Animal Shelter.

The contract is on Tuesday’s agenda for commission consideration.

The project is within the shelter’s budget of donations raised over the years specifically for the shelter improvements and expansion.

This spring, the city went back out for bid on the project since last year’s bids came in over budget.

City again seeking bids for cattery addition at the Great Falls Animal Shelter

This time around, the city received three bids for the cattery addition.

Detailed Construction was the lowest bidder. The other bidders were Geranios Enterprises and Dick Anderson Construction.

The bid from Detailed Construction was $98,000 lower than the next closest bid and rebidding would likely add additional costs to the project, according to the staff.

Since 2012, the shelter has raised $463,185 to fund shelter improvements.

City rejects bid for animal shelter upgrades

The project is being funded entirely by private donations and if the project is not approved, staff wrote in their report that the city may have to return more than 1,100 donations made my individuals and estates.

The contract is up for consideration as Commissioner Owen Robinson is asking the city to revist options for partnering or combining the city shelter with the private Maclean-Cameron Animal Adoption Center. Robinson is a past president of the center’s board and has previously asked the city to take over operation of the center. Staff has expressed concern with that concept in the past, particulary in regards to the costs associated with taking on another facility and the responsibility of both entities to their donors for specific projects.

Bids open for expansion project at the Great Falls Animal Shelter

The cattery addition is a component of the shelter’s master plan. The shelter began working with Nelson Architects in 2012 to develop the plan, which identified current, desired and future space needs for the facility and options for achieving those needs.

The plan focused on additions to the existing building, including a cattery addition, canine area expansion, interior office and reception area remodeling, exterior façade renovation, site work, and landscaping, and provided cost estimates. The plan was developed due to the increasing Animal Shelter usage and how to best reduce animal stay time in the facility by increasing animal capacity space, according to the staff report.

In May 2013, the City Commission approved a professional services agreement with Nelson Architects for architectural/engineering services and in October 2013 approved the master plan facility and funding recommendations provided by staff.

At the April 2017 commission retreat, the shelter staff was given approval to pursue dollar-for-dollar grant matches from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. According to staff, the ASPCA has confirmed the city project’s worthiness for funding.

The cattery addition will also allow the shelter to receive and install a new hydro-incinerator, which was approved in the city’s 2017 budget.

The device uses water to mimic the natural decomposition process and once installed, it will save the shelter at least an estimated $30,000 annually in operating costs since the incinerator usage cost will be reduced from $1.25 to $1.50 per pound for cremation down to 5 to 10 cents per pound.

The hydro-incinerator would also save the shelter about $2,300 in annual repair and maintenance costs, according to staff.

The Great Falls shelter is the only facility in the region that provides any animal cremation service, which is used by local veterinarians and private citizens.

Cremation services make up at least $40,000 in annual revenue for the shelter, according to staff.

The hydro-incinerator is being purchased separately and will be installed during the cattery construction. The city has already paid the required $26,000 deposit of the total $84,000 cost for the construction of the machine, which is complete and the vendor is awaiting final payment for installation, according to staff.

The construction cost to install the incinerator without doing so during the cattery expansion project would be an estimated $130,000, according to staff.