The Soldotna City Council has approved a one-year contract with the City of Kenai’s animal shelter. Dog-catching and other animal control duties will stay with Soldotna, but animals will be held in Kenai.
“This came about in conversations with our police chief who oversees that department and our previous animal control officer who's retired about the longevity of the ability for Soldotna to sustain an animal shelter given what we've seen as an overall decline in the number of animals being treated and cared for at our animal shelter,” explained City Manager Stephanie Queen.
Just over 100 animals were impounded in Soldotna in 2018, while the Kenai Animal Shelter cared for about 800, and there’s room to accommodate more.
As for the Soldotna Animal Control Officer, they will be given broader duties.
“That person would relocate however from the facility that's at the wastewater treatment plant to the Soldotna Police Department, and they'll be available for calls for servicing the city,” Queen said. “They'll be able to assist the police and parks and other departments with general community outreach and enforcement. And we would effectively close the shelter at the wastewater treatment plant.”
Through the deal, Soldotna expects to save nearly $60,000.
“The fiscal impact of this proposal is approximately $100,000 savings to the city, in reduced expenses. However, we are proposing a $42,000 payment, essentially a lump sum contract amount to the city of Kenai in recognition of the services that they'll be performing on our behalf,” she said. “So the net budget impact to the city of Soldotna would be approximately $58,000 in reduction in costs after factoring in the payment to the city of Kenai.”
Councilman Tyson Cox was one of the four councilmen present who voted unanimously to approve the contract.
“I just want to say I think this is a phenomenal idea to have the City of Kenai and the City of Soldotna working together in a project like this. It saves us money, gives them revenue, which saves them money in the long run as well,” he said. “I would love to see other things looked at in the future, this is a great place to start.”
The contract formally began on July 1, the first day of the new fiscal year.
The Soldotna City Council’s next meeting will be July 11th, when they shift to Thursday nights.