Last week, the Quorum Court shot down a proposal by County Judge Jim Baker to join forces with the city of Conway in progressing toward a new animal shelter.
More than half of Faulkner County's justices of the peace voted against the proposal June 19. However, David Hogue, county attorney, said this discussion isn't over yet.
"I don't think that door is completely closed. I don't take that vote as a way against the idea," he said following the 7-5-vote rejection.
The proposal that did not win over the majority of JPs would have used "roughly $125,000 a year" from the county's voluntary 1.5-mill shelter tax and subsidized that sum up to $400,000 annually, Hogue said, noting the subsidy would have come from sequestered money the county already has.
Judge Baker and Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry have discussed the need to join forces in establishing a county animal shelter, which has raised questions regarding what will become of the property recently purchased by county officials to house an animal shelter.
The county spent $500,000 for the building adjacent to the Justice Building along South German Lane, which is currently being rented out to the sheriff's office for $20,000 a year. Plans to renovate the building into an animal shelter were put on hold while the county worked to build funds to keep the facility running as a shelter. However, since that decision was made it seems the building would be of better use for the Faulkner County Sheriff's Office and Hogue said officials will continue discussions next month in regards to joining forces with the city and moving forward with the need to establish a county shelter.
Castleberry said he supports recent discussions that involve joining forces with the county. He also said city and county officials have scoped out potential plots for this proposed shelter.
"We've looked at several locations but we'd need to get approval from the landowners [to move forward]," he said. "Right now, [the city] is in a holding pattern and we're just going to wait and see what happens on the county's end."
Should justices of the peace OK any future proposals regarding a county and city animal shelter project, Hogue said he foresees a discussion regarding the sheriff's office paying out the cost of the $500,000 building it's currently renting.
Those who attended last week's Quorum Court meeting said there was standing room only as residents eagerly waited to find out what happens next as the need for an animal shelter grow stronger each year.
"This is something that's been talked about for at least 25 years," Donna Clawson, who heads the shelter task force, said of the ever-growing need to construct a county shelter.