County reallocates $5.2 million for beginning stages of new animal shelter project

File photo: Jim Sweet, the director of the Marion County Animal Center, spends some time with Johnny, one of the numerous adoptable dogs at the Marion County Animal Center off Southeast Baseline Road in Ocala, Fla. on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.

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Posted May 10, 2024 | By Caroline Brauchler

The Marion County Commission reallocated more than $5.2 million in funds from the penny sales tax to pay for the early site work for the new animal shelter project.

The budget amendment was passed on May 7 and took a total of $5,270,500 from the Infrastructure Surtax Capital Project fund reserves.

Of the reallocated money, $4.75 million would go toward early start site work, such as clearing the site and doing other preparatory work for the beginning stages of construction.

The remaining portion will go toward ordering a generator for $145,000, ordering main switch gear for $150,000 and ordering HVAC equipment for $225,000.

“This funding will support early site work and the purchase of materials with identified long-lead times in FY 2023-24,” according to the agenda item.

The penny sales tax was first approved in 2016 to raise the sales tax to 7% to fund infrastructure and public safety improvements. It was renewed again in 2020 for four years and will now appear on the November general election ballot when voters will be asked to approve the tax for another 20 years.

The county has listed the animal shelter as one of the funding priorities for the penny sales tax if it is renewed and would need to allocate about $20.4 million for the entire project.

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