The city needs a million dollars or more to build a new animal shelter, and Tuesday night the Rolla City Council heard about one way to build it.

The city needs a million dollars or more to build a new animal shelter, and Tuesday night the Rolla City Council heard about one way to build it.
“I’m not here to offer support or opposition (for the animal shelter project),” said Wayne Parry, a volunteer with the Meramec Regional Community Foundation (MRCF). He noted he was present to offer one option for financing the project.
That option is to establish a local fund that would be a part of the MRCF, which is an affiliate with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks in Springfield.
With this option, the city could solicit donations that would then be placed in the fund, overseen and invested by the MRCF.
Being a part of the foundation gives a fund an above average rate of return with professional fund management, plus fundraising and grant opportunities and tax deductible benefits to supporters, Parry said.
There would be administrative costs the fund would pay annually to the foundation amounting to 75 basis points, Parry said. A basis point is 1/100th of a percent.
Parry said the Meramec foundation represents an eight-county region and has many funds based in Rolla as part of the foundation.
These are:
• Shirley Andrews Memorial Fund (CASA of Rolla)
• Bluebird Gardens Charitable Fund
• Richard and Jeanne Cavender Scholarship for Public Service
• Linda Clift Memorial Fund (CASA of Rolla)
• The Community Partnership Fund
• Hope Alliance Fund
• HOPE Inc. Capacity Fund
• Jean Henry Fund
• Ozark Actors Theatre Endowment Fund
• The Phelps County Flood Relief Fund
City Administrator John Butz spoke about the need for a new Rolla Animal Shelter before introducing Parry.
Butz presented slides that showed the overcrowding and the outdated furnishings of Rolla's existing facility.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the need for a new shelter is that the current building is on city property that has been for sale for several years. If a buyer comes along with the $1.4 million the city wants, it is unclear what would happen to the shelter as the situation now stands.
That’s why Butz is calling for a council workshop sometime in October to consider the local fund under the auspices of the Meramec foundation, and perhaps other financing methods, too.
The city has $441,000 given by the late Bob Eck as a memorial to the City of Rolla.
“It was given out of the kindness of his heart,” said Butz, who noted there was no tax advantage for the donation.
The current shelter was built in 1977 under the leadership of former Police Chief Stan Spadoni who died last week and was buried earlier in the day Tuesday.
Butz said the animal control division has the equivalent of 2.5 officers and works with an annual budget of $150,000.
The shelter receives $10,000-$15,000 in donations annually and collects $10,000-$12,000 in fines.
The actual cost to the taxpayers of the animal shelter is about $130,000 each year.
The shelter is inspected regularly by the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
Butz said a new facility will need 5,000-6,000 square feet with 50 dog kennels and 35 cat cages.
Also needed will be a quarantine area, proper drainage systems, ventilation, veterinary support, disposal/cremation, vaccination services and perhaps other needs such as micro-chipping.
Needed first will be a needs assessment and a fundraising strategy, Butz said, and work on that will begin at a workshop in October.
Under council questioning, Butz said a facility cannot be built for $100,000.
The cost is high, he said, because of the nature of what’s inside the structure. Noting that in a residence, the highest cost per square foot is in the kitchen and bathroom, Butz said, “An animal shelter is one big bathroom and kitchen.” He added, “It’s a medical facility to a degree.”
A $100,000 building will not meet the standards required for an animal shelter that is safe and clean.
“We are looking for a base facility, not an elaborate over-the-top facility,” he assured the council.