County Executive’s Corner: A New Shelter

By County Executive Ed Day

This week we announced the 2020 proposed Budget for Rockland County; to make the announcement we visited the Hi Tor Animal Care Center in Pomona. Two years ago, we pledged to construct a new facility on that property, and we are now making good on that promise.

A society is judged on how well it takes care of its citizens and those in need, including its pets. Moving forward we will have a beautiful, modern County shelter that provides the best available care to those animals in need. We have added an additional $5.7 million in the proposed 2020 Capital Budget for Hi-Tor construction, bringing the total project cost to $7.75 million.

We will go out to bond for these funds next year and have received grants of $500,000 each from Assemblyman Zebrowski and the New York State Companion Animal Capital Fund. The remainder of the funding will come from Hi Tor itself which has been collecting donations to construct a new shelter building. We ask that these animal lovers continue their generosity.

Hi Tor has already completed a needs assessment study to determine exactly what the County needs in a new facility. We are now using that data to prepare a Request For Proposal of RFP for architectural, engineering and design services for a new animal care center.

We expect to issue the RFP in the coming weeks and to put shovels in the ground to build a new facility in 2020.

This is a collaborative effort. The Towns are required by law to have facilities for stray dogs. Over the years, the County and Towns have extended this mission to the protection of all domestic animals in need of care.

Historically in Rockland, the County has provided a central facility for the Towns to use for this purpose. Thanks to the Town Supervisors, in 2018 and 2019, Hi Tor has received appropriate levels of funding and we have every expectation that will continue.

This is in addition to a County contribution and the hundreds of thousands of dollars in generous donations from those with a special place in their heart for these homeless dogs and cats – which save the taxpayers by subsidizing nearly 60% of the cost of the shelter’s operation.

The County will take the leadership role and build this new facility meaning that the Towns will not have the burden of building their own shelters or finding alternative plans – at a significant cost; a clear savings for residents and the animals we all care about. This was an agreed to Shared Service that could result in significant reimbursement from New York State.

In short, with everyone pulling in the same direction, we – will – have – a shelter! This is a win for these animals and taxpayers all across Rockland.