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The Franklin County Fiscal Court revisited its discussion on supporting the building of a new facility for the Franklin County Humane Society at the court’s Monday meeting.

The court ended its discussion a step closer to a donation pledge along with a to-be-determined amount in in-kind donations. Humane Society President Sam Marcus will take the offer back to the animal shelter’s board. The court did not take any formal action on the request during its Monday meeting. 

“My concern is we don’t know what the city’s going to commit, so before we bring a resolution before us, I think we need the city also to commit and then we will have better ground to know where we are,” Judge-Executive Huston Wells said at the end of the discussion. 

Members of the county’s Strategic Planning Committee recommended a $750,000 donation with or without $50,000 in in-kind donations and one member favored a $650,000 donation, Wells said. The court directed the county Road Department to meet with Humane Society representatives to determine what in-kind donations the county could support for the project. 

The Humane Society asked the court at its previous meeting for a $900,000 contribution and $100,000 of in-kind donations. To address questions from Magistrate Michael Mueller in that meeting, Marcus sent the court, city representatives and other stakeholders an email with a timeline, draft floor plan, plans for room detail and square footage, a Carpenter Farm site plan and a square-footage comparison table. 

According to the documents submitted, the new design plan has a 10,030-square-foot building, up 1,395 square feet from the current facility on Kentucky Avenue. A design proposed in 2017 had 13,264 square feet in a new building. The timeline submitted has an opening date of a new facility in 2022, with a year of fundraising for the Humane Society and a year to construct it. 

Marcus read a written statement at the meeting and said the court has done its part for the taxpayers in finding the most feasible plan at the lowest cost. 

“We can guarantee our share in a year if you do your part. But if we have to raise additional funds, we can’t guarantee a year,” Marcus said. “And at some point, it would likely become more expensive if it took longer.”

Related to the Humane Society, the city had asked to split the cost of a feasibility study the city had paid for on how the Humane Society could use The State Journal building on Wilkinson Boulevard. The total cost was around $26,000, and the court tabled the discussion for a later budget meeting.

In other business, the court heard a request from city and county schools to support synthetic turf athletic fields at the three public high schools. Franklin County Schools Superintendent Mark Kopp represented the schools, as Frankfort Independent Schools Superintendent Houston Barber had to attend a special school board meeting. The superintendents presented a request of $1.5 million from the city at a previous City Commission meeting

Wells said the county must send the request to the Strategic Planning Committee to further consider the request.

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