FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Despite extensive fundraising that drummed up $4 million for the new animal shelter in Frankfort, the Franklin County Humane Society faces a budget issue.
It comes down to a shared city road leading to the building – and who’s going to pay for it.
“We feel like, because it’s a city street, they use it, it’s in the public interest to have it, that they really should be paying for the road,” said Sam Marcus, chair of the humane society’s board.
He told LEX 18 that the humane society is out around $300,000 after building a shared access road off Flynn Avenue leading to the new shelter, which is being built on property the humane society is leasing from the city. That cost is nearly double what the non-profit initially anticipated, but he says city officials asked them to make changes that made the road more expensive.
The road also leads to the city’s sewer pump station and was built to accommodate heavy equipment vehicles.
That’s why Marcus wants the city to pay them back for at least half the cost of the road. He’s tried to get the issue on the city council’s agenda, but so far no luck.
“If we can get it on their meeting agenda, the city meeting agenda, but at least they’re going to discuss it,” he said. “And at some point, if they discuss it they’ll have to vote on it.”
We asked Frankfort Mayor Layne Wilkerson if the topic would end up on a commission agenda.
“So far it hasn’t,” he said. “We’ll see what the will of the board is, but right now, we’ve committed a million dollars, plus the cost of the land and the maintenance of the land going forward.”
As of now, Mayor Wilkerson said the city does not plan to reimburse the humane society for the cost of the road. But he says council members voted Monday night to accelerate the $1 million funding for the new shelter.
“We have a lot of commitments, not just to the humane society, but other organizations as well,” he said. “There’s only so much that can go around. With this one, we feel like with the million dollars, and the maintenance of the land in the future, we’ve given them a very good start.”
Marcus says he’s grateful for the help they’ve received so far, however, he worries about the project’s outcome without extra assistance from the city.
“There are two concerns,” he said. “It’s either completing the project, or it’s having to borrow money to the limits of our capacity.”
He expects the new shelter to open by the end of March of next year.