Sutter County, Yuba City and Live Oak reach pact for new animal shelter
Grand jury report puts spotlight on horrific conditions at county animal shelter.
Sutter County, Yuba City and Live Oak officials have reached a tentative pact on animal control and shelter services.
The agreement, subject to approval by the city councils and Sutter County supervisors, would put Yuba City in charge of animal control once the new shelter is built on Live Oak Boulevard near the city's water treatment plant. Sutter County will remain in control until then.
City managers in Yuba City and Live Oak and county Administrative Officer Stephanie Larsen on Friday hailed the agreement as a testament to cooperation between governments.
"It is never too late to teach an old dog new tricks," Yuba City City Manger Steve Jepsen said in a statement. "Working together has brought about a much better solution for near-term and long-term animal services for our regional community."
Larsen said she didn't know exactly what led to the recent breakthrough.
"We've made a lot of progress in the last few days," she said.
Talks about a new shelter broke down in recent weeks after a grand jury report recommended the county Sheriff's Department investigate the shelter for possible violations of state law. The jury called the shelter filthy and cited a severe rat infestation, which county officials have said has been resolved.
Earlier this week, Sutter County supervisors delayed taking action on giving the Yuba City six months notice on providing animal control services in the city.
Under the tentative agreement, all three entities would form a joint powers agreement to oversee the shelter, including a board with two voting members from each agency. Votes would be weighted by contributions to the shelter budget, and Sutter County and Live Oak would have veto power.
Yuba City would continue to pay two-thirds of animal control services costs, though the city makes up 68.5 percent of the county's population. The discount would be based on shorter travel times within the city to get to the shelter.
Other terms include Sutter County working to lower overhead and workers compensation costs and restoring a kennel assistant position, and Yuba City paying for site plan modifications because a site city officials preferred was chosen over one on Garden Highway.
The city councils will consider the agreement next week. Sutter County supervisors will weigh in May 24.
Larsen said county officials hope to break ground on the new shelter before the end of the year. The full budget for the shelter is about $4.5 million, she said, and it should take about a year to build.
The old shelter, which dates to the early 1980s, will probably be demolished, she said.