Fresno County supervisors meeting Tuesday will prioritize construction projects for the county using about $8.5 million in unexpected revenues that weren’t on the table during budget deliberations last year.
Among the projects are an animal shelter, a sheriff’s substation and district attorney’s offices. The money to be discussed Tuesday will not pay the full costs, but plant seed money for the new buildings.
Supervisors also will discuss whether to buffer county reserves with some of the money, which is funding paid back to the county by the state for payments the county made for state mandates during the recession.
In September, supervisors said they wanted to use the money for buildings because it’s “one-time money,” so it will not be used to pay for staffing or other costs that would be ongoing. The county had about $11 million to use for projects.
In October, supervisors supported using about $2.5 million for maintenance projects, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning in several buildings, multiple flooring projects and parking lot work.
Since then, a new, unbudgeted one-time cost arose: about $500,000 for an April 5 special election to replace Assembly Member Henry T. Perea, who resigned last month. Brandi Orth, Fresno County clerk/registrar of voters, said her office has no money to pay for the special election.
The county has to do the election. We have no choice. It’s unpleasant, but there’s no alternative.
Brandi Orth, Fresno County clerk/registrar of voters
Supervisor Brian Pacheco said he has reservations about using money he wanted dedicated to facilities for a special election. But Supervisors Andreas Borgeas and Henry R. Perea (father of the Assembly member) said tapping the state refund pot makes the most sense.
New animal shelter
About $3 million is slated for use on the animal shelter. A site hasn’t been determined (Supervisor Perea said that call can be made later by the county’s Facilities Planning Committee), but it’s not likely to be at the existing location at the old coroner’s office on Teilman Avenue, west of Highway 99 in Fresno.
The dogs at the existing county shelter are in outdoor enclosures, so a new facility with sanitized, indoor operations is imperative, said Brenda Mitchell, president of Fresno Humane Animal Services, the county’s contractor for animal control.
It’s hot in the summer and it’s cold in the winter. It’s not good for the dogs, and it’s not a good working environment.
Brenda Mitchell, president Fresno Humane Animal Services
“We’re in a condemned morgue parking lot and we’re trying to make the best of it,” she said. “It’s hot in the summer and it’s cold in the winter. It’s not good for the dogs, and it’s not a good working environment.”
The shelter has an average of 116 dogs daily and gets 16 to 20 new dogs each day, she said.
The county also is seeking donors to help put additional funds toward a new animal control facility.
Among sites being considered is one at the county’s Juvenile Justice Center near Malaga, and a location near Highway 99 and Grantland Avenue owned by Derrel Ridenour, chief executive officer of Derrel’s Mini-Storage.
Ridenour said Monday he is still interested in assisting the county with land and other possible donations.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office also has been trying to improve or replace its substation on Shields Avenue east of Clovis Avenue in Fresno. About $3 million will be used for the substation and another $2 million is expected for a new district attorney’s office.
“We know that money isn’t quite going to be enough” to pay for entire facilities, said Board Chairman Buddy Mendes. “But these are all things we need to do very badly.”