A partnership on an animal shelter/control center between Animal Care League (ACL) and the Village of Oak Park appears imminent after the board Monday night directed village staff to negotiate the arrangement while giving an ad hoc task force time to comment.

In the arrangement, the village would retain animal control officers, while ACL would provide holding and adoption services for as long as animals are not a threat. Although specifics have not been worked out, estimates put the cost at a one-time $375,000 capital outlay to be shared by the village and ACL, with ongoing $100,000 annual operating costs to be paid by the village for contractual services. The village contract would increase ACL’s annual $330,000 budget by about one-third.

The village currently contracts holding services with a veterinarian’s office in Forest Park. That arrangement will end in December.

Timing and cost were the ruin of another proposal?#34;for the village to operate its own facility at the Central Pumping Station and Reservoir building on Lombard Avenue south of Lake Street. One- and two-story options there would have cost $350,00 to $460,000 for an initial build-out, within the village’s budget this year. However estimated ongoing capital costs would have been twice those estimated for contractual services with ACL. Also, the pumping station building is being used by public works employees while a new facility is being built on South Boulevard. Finding new offices would add another $165,000 one-time cost. Over five years, the village would save at least $640,000 with the ACL plan, according to village estimates.

Also, ACL would be ready to take on the contract this year, while the pumping station would not be ready until June 2007.

Earlier concerns about the safety of the water supply were allayed by officials at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, village staff told the board Monday night at a study session.

In January, the board heard two reports from different factions of the task force convened to make a recommendation on a control and/or shelter facility. The reports were from 2005, and both sides have urged the board to take action.

The board might take a final vote on the partnership as early as May.

CONTACT: dcarter@wjinc.com

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