The ever-evolving plans to move and expand the Table Mountain Animal Center took a new turn when county leaders recently approved spending $5.2 million from the general fund.
The county will then issue $5.2 million in “certificates of participation” to repay the general fund. Certificates of participation are a form of lease-purchase financing that does not require voter approval; the county plans to fund the debt payments with revenue from dog licenses.
Last fall, the county commissioners and the Table Mountain Animal Center announced plans for a new $9 million, 30,000-square-foot shelter to be built at the Jeffco Fairgrounds. Costs were supposed to be split three ways: $3 million from the county's general fund, $3 million in financing to be repaid with the dog license revenues, and $3 million from the TMAC Foundation.
But in March, the foundation said it wouldn't be able to raise the $3 million, saying it could commit to only $1.5 million.
The county is now on the hook for about $8 million of the $9 million facility, until it can be repaid with the COP funds later this summer.
Jeffco's top budget official, Todd Leopold, told the county commissioners May 26 that designs for the shelter were about 80 percent completed, and the $5.2 million paves the way to break ground in June or July and hopefully take advantage of low financing and construction costs.
The shelter currently is in Wheat Ridge and serves unincorporated Jefferson County, Arvada, Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, Westminster and Golden as an animal control facility and a provider of reduced-cost animal care and pet adoption.
TMAC was founded in 1976 to originally serve unincorporated Jeffco, Arvada, Lakewood and Wheat Ridge. Within 20 years, demand grew as the cities of Golden, Morrison, Mountain View, Edgewater and Westminster also began to use its services. In 1994 the Table Mountain Animal Center Foundation was founded as a nonprofit charitable organization to raise money for the shelter and its activities.