It’s the third part of the proposed Pittsburg County sales tax issue, and one that its supporters consider vitally important — funding for a county animal shelter.

Plans call for approximately $800,000 of the funds raised through passage of a three-quarter cent county sales tax to be used to fund an animal shelter for county-wide use.

Proponents of the measure say a site has not been determined, although they would prefer to find a pre-existing building that could be converted to a shelter. That way, they would not have to pay for the cost of constructing a new building.

An animal shelter is badly needed in Pittsburg County, said Partners for Animal Welfare Society President Karen Askew.

“We don’t have an animal shelter for the county,”Askew said. “We don’t have a way to humanely treat our abandoned animals.”

“It’s a problem, not only with the humane aspects, but abandoned animals can cause problems.”

A county animal shelter would not be a place to

warehouse abandoned animals, she said. They could receive care, be spayed or neutered and prepared for adoption. They could also receive veterinarian care.

Early in-person absentee balloting on the county sales tax proposal will be held from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Friday and Monday in the election board office at the Pittsburg County Courthouse. Regular polling places will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

If the proposed county sales tax measure passes, $700,000 would be set aside for the cost of construction of a new shelter, or conversion of an existing building — which conceivably could be done for less money.

Another $45,000 would be set aside for contingency costs, with another $50,000 earmarked for testing, permits, printing and other expenses. An additional $5,000 would be earmarked for architectural and engineering fees.

Approximately a half-cent of the sales tax revenues would be used for new construction, expansions and renovations at the Pittsburg County Courthouse, the Pittsburg County Jail and for the animal shelter. That portion of the tax would stay in effect for 19 years, unless the bonds were paid off more quickly.

Another sixteenth of a cent would remain in effect for operational funds for an animal shelter. In addition, three-sixteenths of a cent would be also stay in effect to operate the jail.

Meanwhile, a public forum to address issues surrounding the proposed sales tax is set for 6:30 tonight at the Kiamichi Technology Center.

A panel consisting of members of the Progress Committee will be on hand to make a brief presentation and then take questions from the audience. McAlester Radio personality John Yates will serve as moderator for the forum, which will broadcast live over Rock 105.1 FM.

The public is welcome to attend the event and ask questions, said members of the Progress Committee.



Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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