Deadline set for RFPs to operate county shelter

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – Kalkaska County officials are hoping to find a third party to operate the Kalkaska County Animal Shelter, with a deadline for potential proposals set for early August.

The Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners at its June meeting approved action for Sheriff Patrick Whiteford to seek proposals, while also voting to place a renewal of the county’s four-year animal control millage on the November ballot.

District No. 2 Commissioner Stuart McKinnon, chairman of the county board, said officials are hoping within the proposals is a solution to have a third party maintain animal shelter operations and stay within existing budget limitations.

County officials have previously stated that the current building housing the county animal shelter is in need of significant upgrades, including improvements to outdoor kennels for dogs, as well as work to bring the facility in line with current building codes. That could cost as much as $250,000.

“The millage money didn’t support a full-time animal control employee and take care of the pets in the (county-owned) building,” McKinnon said.

At one point, officials were forced to reduce the assistant’s position at the Kalkaska County Animal Shelter from full-time to part-time. That resulted in the employee quitting and the Kalkaska County Sheriff’s Department (KCSD) having to hire a replacement.

It also resulted in officials reaching out to local veterinarians about taking over animal shelter operations, allowing the county to keep spending on such services within the $109,000 currently raised each year by the countywide millage.

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