City Council Member Lee Brand is expecting the bill for temporary services to rise. "I think we are at 2.2. million dollars its gonna cost more, maybe 3 or 4 or 5 hundred thousand more, I'm not sure. "
The price has been climbing since the SPCA ended its services with the city and the county a few months ago. The county decided to start its own temporary shelter and is saving money. But without enough funds for its own shelter the city pleaded with the SPCA to keep providing services for a while longer.
This week the County Supervisors considered putting Measure H on the ballot. It would ask voters to approve a small sales tax increase of between 1/10th and 1/8th of a cent to build a new animal shelter and provide services. But action was delayed. Supervisors wanted to know whether the city would be willing to go along.
Supervisor Henry Perea hopes to get the dialogue going. "What we'd like is a message of support from the city saying yes we'd like to come back to the table with you. Have this discussion and if makes sense for everybody we roll forward together to the ballots ask the voters how they want their tax dollars spent."
Council member Lee Brand says the city is ready to listen. "It makes economic sense to me that the city and county can do it cheaper together than they can independently."
But brand doesn't think the tax proposal, tentatively named Measure H would pass. "In my opinion I believe a sales tax would have a tough time of passing I don't believe the voters would vote 2/3rds for Measure H at this time, particularly when it's on the same ballot as Measure Z."
Measure Z is the zoo tax, up for renewal this year. But Perea believes the same people who support the zoo, will support an animal control tax. He believes without it, animal control will go back to being, animal killing. The SPCA puts down up to 50 thousand animals in Fresno County every year.
"So then it means we go back to a method, of catch them, destroy them and not give them a chance to be adopted by the community, that's a sad statement for Fresno and Fresno county if we can't move together to at least allow the voters to have a say in this decision," said Perea.
Perea and fellow Supervisor Phil Larson were hoping to meet with Fresno City Council members in the coming week to try and find common ground on animal control.