By Jon Schroeder

The Cove Herald

Coryell County officials believe the county has an animal control problem, and they took the first steps this week toward what they think is a viable solution.

At their Nov. 15 meeting, the Coryell County commissioners decided to draw up a contract between the county and Bell Area Animal Shelter Limited Liability Company. County Judge John Firth called the contract a potential “stop-gap measure” to ensure that the county has a short-term storage solution if it doesn’t have another place to house animals.

“We are looking at all options,” Firth said. Those options are inter-local agreements between Coryell County and the cities of Gatesville and Copperas Cove, contracting with local animal shelters or — on the more expensive end of the spectrum — building a Coryell County facility.

“We owe it to our sheriff, and we owe it to our people,” Firth said in the commissioners court meeting. “We take very seriously the issue of animal control.”

But for this fiscal year, some of those possibilities might not play out for financial reasons. Firth said two areas which could cost more than projected when this year’s budget was approved are matching federal funding for road and bridge projects and Coryell County’s liability for murder trial expenses, which will likely exceed the norm this year.

Because a new building contract could be “in excess of $100,000,” as Firth said, it might not pan out until county officials begin putting together next year’s budget in March.

In addition to working on the contract with Bell Area Animal Shelter LLC, Coryell County has entered informal discussions with Copperas Cove about adding on to a facility there.

“One viable option is to provide county resources for the construction of a new building at their shelter,” Firth said. “The question becomes ‘can we afford it on our current budget?’”

Contact Jon Schroeder at jons@kdhnews.com or call (254) 547-0428

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