Site for new pet shelter on docket

By Sean Janssen, The Union Democrat April 09, 2013 07:14 am

The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will discuss the site for a new animal shelter and alterations to the board’s meeting schedule and format.

A pair of afternoon study sessions are planned. The first will focus on Animal Services, about six months after the division transferred from the Sheriff’s Office to the Environmental Management Agency.


The primary topic of the session will be reconsideration of the May 2011 decision making a property at Highway 4 and Vallecito Road in Angels Camp the preferred site for a new animal shelter.

The current shelter at the Government Center in San Andreas is woefully inadequate, according to Grand Jury findings, though it has undergone considerable improvements since a scathing 2002 report.

The county is planning a partnership with the nonprofit Calaveras Humane Society, in which the government provides land and utility infrastructure while the Society raises funds to construct and eventually staff a new shelter.

The Angels Camp site was seen as more centralized and favored by the Society and a majority of supervisors two years ago. However, a report written by Environmental Management Agency Director Brian Moss for Tuesday’s meeting gives preference to a parcel carved out during the construction of a new justice center near the Government Center. Another Government Center had been rejected in the earlier workshop.

The county already owns the Government Center land, utilities have been installed nearby to service the new jail and Sheriff’s Office under construction, the location is familiar to the public, and less grading is needed to make the site buildable, according to Moss.

“The location is perfect … it can accommodate long-term growth. It can accommodate some large animals,” said board Chairwoman Merita Callaway. “A lot of the environmental work is already done because of the courthouse project. The (California Conservation Corps) has already done a lot of clearing of the land.”

Calaveras Humane Society spokeswoman Jean Macomber said the Society would reserve its comments until the study session.

The study session will also consider an increase in dog licensing fees from $12 to $15.

The second study session will take a look at the board’s meeting schedule. The board meets the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, with special meetings in between as needed. The cut back from four monthly meetings to two about two years ago was cited as a cost-savings measure but has been unpopular with the public.

The board has also discussed the possibility of occasional meetings at night and/or outside the county seat of San Andreas in recent years. A majority in favor of such a move has not been achieved, but a new board seated in January with three new members is yet to deliberate the matter.

Also to be discussed are procedures regarding disruptive public comments. Meetings of recent years with strained budgets have been plagued by out-of-order remarks by audience members after official public comment periods have closed.

The regular session will feature a pair of items related to the jail and Sheriff’s Office project. A proposal calls for a “field work directive” to speed up processing of unforeseen add-ons to the project. A staff report found that a directive will lead to work proceeding on projects with unknown costs at the time they are undertaken. It should save money in the long run by reducing construction delays due to lag time in getting supervisors’ approval for “change orders,” the report stated.

The board will also consider entering three contracts for a combined $550,000 to furnish the new buildings.


PUBLIC MEETING: Calaveras County Board of Supervisors, 9 a.m. regular meeting, 1:30 p.m. Animal Services study session, 2:30 p.m. board policies and procedures study session, Tuesday, Government Center, 891 Mountain Ranch Road, San Andreas.