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Animal shelter breaks ground in Pahrump

Thursday, Dec. 31 was a very exciting day in Pahrump, with officials from the town, as well as Nye County, gathering for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of a long-desired project that has been years in the making, the brand new Pahrump Animal Shelter.

Hosted at 11 a.m. on Thursday, the groundbreaking ceremony took place at the site that will eventually become the new shelter campus, 1510 E. Siri Lane, only a short distance from the existing shelter facility.

The groundbreaking ceremony followed another key step in the process of bringing the new shelter from merely a concept into reality, the adoption of a bill authorizing the issuance of the bond that will fund the construction project. A public hearing on that bill was held during a special meeting of the Nye County Commission on Wednesday, Dec. 30.

Nye County Commissioner Leo Blundo kicked off the discussion that morning, asking what the total term of the $4.1 million bond would be. Nye County Comptroller Savannah Rucker said the bond term would be 10 years and further detailed that the best bidder was Key Bank, which offered an interest rate of just 1.51%.

Blundo, who has made no secret of his desire to postpone the project in order to bundle it with other county projects at a potential cost savings, then called attention to another aspect of the subject, the need for an animal shelter in the first place. He said the construction of a new shelter was merely a “band-aid” to a bigger problem that also needs addressing, that of responsible pet ownership.

“I hope this $4.1 million in government taxpayer dollars, I want this to be a real rude awakening, a wake-up call to the public. Because when you lose your dog or your cat or your animal and you go down to the shelter and you see all the other animals over there… those are all animals that somebody didn’t care enough about to come pick up. Just let the gravity of that situation sink in,” Blundo said.

For commissioner Donna Cox, her main concerns centered around the language of the bill. Due to the seemingly open-ended manner in which the bill was worded, Cox requested clarification on exactly what the entire bond amount would be used for. The bill states that the funds are to be used for, “…the purpose of acquiring, constructing, improving and equipping building projects within the county, including an animal shelter…” which caused Cox to question whether there were other projects for which the county intended to use a portion of the funds.

Rucker explained that the bond was solely for the purpose of building the new animal shelter in Pahrump and no amount of the funds were to be used on other projects. “This bond is specific for the shelter project and all the construction costs associated with that project,” Rucker stated.

Cox then asked why the bond amount, $4.1 million, was higher than the construction contract amount of roughly $3.97 million. Rucker replied that the remaining funds above and beyond the construction contract amount would be utilized for issuance costs, which total $82,000, as well as utilities set-up costs and other miscellaneous costs associated with the project. County capital funds have also been set aside to furnish the facility once construction is complete.

Nye County Commissioner Debra Strickland was clearly thrilled by the result of the Request for Proposal process, which saw Key Bank as the best bidder. “Looking at this debt service, it’s awesome. A 1.51% interest rate, over 10 years will pay for this animal shelter, which is phenomenal in itself,” Strickland enthused, noting that the county would be paying just $321,000 in interest overall. “I am very proud of this staff, I am very proud of this bond…”

Nye County Commissioner John Koenig expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of the Request for Proposal process as well, remarking, “1.51% interest is almost free money… I really didn’t think we’d get it down that far. That’s $32,000 per year, or $2,600 a month on a $4 million loan. That’s phenomenal, that’s amazing.”

Blundo made the motion to adopt the bill authorizing the issuance of the bond, with an effective date of January 18, 2021, which passed with all in favor.

The new animal shelter is to be constructed by Henderson-based B&H Construction, which was awarded the construction contract in early October of 2020. The new facility to set to encompass approximately 14,000 square feet and include more than 100 kennels, most of which will be located indoors, along with a variety of other features such as cat rooms, space for veterinarian clinic activities and an area dedicated to Nye County Animal Control. The time line for construction calls for completion of the shelter within 180 days of the notice to proceed, which, with the bond approved, can now be issued.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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