The Franklin County Humane Society has asked the fiscal court for $200,000 in additional funding for a new animal shelter, and as county leaders work on the fiscal 2021-22 budget in the coming weeks, we believe they should pony up the money.

Fifteen months ago, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Frankfort City Commission pledged $1 million toward the project. In March 2020 the county committed $800,000 of the $1 million FCHS requested. The local government contributions were a strong statement as the organization raises the balance needed in private donations.

Now, the humane society board of directors is asking fiscal court to match the city’s contribution.

In its recent letter, the board cited an estimated county budget surplus of $3 million and $10 million in federal funding that the county will receive through the American Rescue Plan.

It shouldn’t take a mathematician to figure out the county can afford to give the humane society the $200,000 it is seeking, even though we acknowledge many requests from many worthy causes as elected leadership sets priorities for the coming fiscal year and beyond.

The animal shelter funding request is urgent. After all, it took $56,000 to clean and restore the Kentucky Avenue animal shelter after the sixth flood in its history closed it for a month earlier this spring. The county has the power to help make that the last flood the aging facility has to endure.

While he realizes there are many projects in need of county funding, Sam Marcus, president of the Franklin County Humane Society, told The State Journal on Thursday that time is of the essence and the new animal shelter project is ready to go as soon as funding is secured.

“Our opportunity to start construction in September is shrinking,” he explained. “The additional county contribution could make a huge difference and send a positive message to anyone sitting on the fence that now is the time to get this done.”

There is also the chance that the price of materials and labor could drive up the shelter’s price tag even further. Those increased costs already added $1 million to the total price for the now $5 million animal shelter, which would be located on the city-owned Carpenter Farm off the East-West Connector.

To date, FCHS has raised nearly $1 million of its $1.6 million capital campaign goal.

We encourage those who are thinking about making a donation to visit or send a check to the Franklin County Humane Society, 1041 Kentucky Ave., Frankfort, KY 40601. Be sure to specify the new animal shelter on the memo line so it will be deposited into the right account.

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