Animal shelter

Rockland Animal Shelter expansion plan comes to a halt

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include comments from City Supervisors Howard Phillips and Michael Specht.

ROCKLAND COUNTY, NY — After what looked like a done deal seemingly unraveled, Rockland is back to talk about what to do with the decrepit and overcrowded animal shelter that has served the county for 50 years.

A statement released Wednesday by Rockland County Executive Ed Day revealed issues on multiple fronts.

First, the County Board of Legislators did not vote for an additional $10 million for the Hi Tor Animal Care Center. The administration had asked for the money when offers came back well above the $8 million allocated for the expansion project in state, county and private funds. The item was removed from Tuesday evening’s agenda. SEE: Cost of the new animal shelter in Rockland Skyrockets

Second, the five Rockland city supervisors met with Day on Tuesday and according to Day raised a new objection – to the location of the expanded shelter, which was to be adjacent to the current location on county property. from Pomona.

City supervisors took on the task of coming up with alternatives, Day said.

Patch contacted the five city supervisors.

“Every elected official was concerned about the cost,” replied Haverstraw supervisor Howard Phillips. “The original estimate for the new animal sanctuary was around $8 million and the budget has now ballooned to around $15 million. I think it’s prudent for everyone to take a step back and look at the numbers to see if there is a way to reduce the cost to Rockland ratepayers.

Phillips said his biggest takeaway from Tuesday’s meeting was that every elected official commit to building a safe and affordable animal shelter in Rockland County. The scope and size of the project require professional oversight, he told Patch.

“All of the elected officials would like to thank and urge the volunteers to continue to help the existing shelter,” he said.

“My main concern, shared by all the elected officials present at the meeting, is the very high cost of the project,” replied Ramapo supervisor Michael Specht. “When it comes to the biggest takeaway, the five supervisors, along with lawmakers and the county executive, are all committed to finding a way forward that will result in an animal shelter. safe and properly operated that will protect animals and serve the benefit of taxpayers. Supervisors are working collaboratively to find workarounds to achieve these goals.”

Day said he was disappointed the Legislative Assembly did not vote to allocate the additional $10 million. However, he also said he and lawmakers were eagerly awaiting the results of the city supervisors’ efforts. He didn’t say when those might be expected.

Hi Tor, Rockland’s only animal shelter, has suffered years of overcrowding and underfunding, in a facility virtually unchanged since 1972 near the Pomona County Fire Training Center.

The county held a groundbreaking ceremony in October 2021 for the new shelter. The 14,000 square foot design included indoor and outdoor areas for dogs and cats, as well as an area for small mammals and exotic animals, a veterinary area including surgery for neutering and neutering procedures, meeting rooms between people and future adoptees, temporary waiting areas and quarantine areas.

County officials originally hoped to begin construction in the spring. The county went to bid and recently selected Westchester contractor Piazza Inc. of Hawthorne to submit to the Legislature for approval, according to the Rockland Business Journal.

Meanwhile, Phillips, who is also the chairman of the county’s solid waste management authority, called Rockland Green, this spring began promoting the idea of ​​expanding Rockland Green’s jurisdiction to include waste management. shelter. Rockland Green offered no plan; however, the Legislature and state lawmakers supported Phillips’ proposal to ask the state to expand the charter of quasi-public authority to allow him to operate an animal sanctuary through a subsidiary, an essential first step.

In April, Orangetown City Supervisor Teresa Kenny told the Rockland Business Journal that she was concerned about the Rockland Green idea and how quickly it seemed to be moving forward.

Problems with Hi-Tor’s operations led Orangetown to drop its contract with the shelter for stray animal control in 2021 and move to the Hudson Valley Humane Society for stray dogs.

Meanwhile, Day is concerned about operations at the shelter, which rely on volunteers.