Larimer County Humane Society petitions for vote on a tax hike that would fund a new building

Petition adds a penny tax to every dollar

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. - After 38 years of working at its current facility, the Larimer County Humane Society is asking voters to put a measure on the November ballot that would increase sales tax to raise $13 million for a new building. The Humane society must have 12,000 signatures on the petition in order for the hike to be put on the November ballot.

The new $16.5 million structure would be located about five miles southeast of the current location.

The Humane society purchased the land in 2007 but has not raised enough money to pay for the new building. The measure on the ballot would ask voters to "approve an increased sales and use tax of one-tenth of one percent from January 1, 2014 to no later than January 1, 2020."

If passed, Larimer county residents would pay an additional penny to every $10 in sales tax to cover $13 million of the new building. The tax would expire in six years or as soon as the full amount was raised.

Executive Director Judy Calhoun told 7NEWS that Fort Collins, Loveland and Larimer County cannot afford to pull money from their budgets.

"That's not realistic right at the moment for all of our jurisdictions, and so rather than being in a situation where some were able to pay and others weren't we really felt like this was the better option," she said.

Calhoun gave 7NEWS a tour of the current facility to explain how the new building would help deal with overcrowding and other issues. Currently, the administrative offices are located in a separate building than the shelter. The few offices in the shelter are in the supply closet with the food for the animals.

She also said the current building is deteriorating from soil shifting and moving the floors.

"You can find places in our dog kennels where the cement in those kennels is actually deteriorating or where we've had to reattach the doors, the kennel fronts multiple times. Maintenance costs for this building are in some ways band-aids for something that's not going to be solved."

Health issues are also a large concern in their building. The animals who are vaccinated constantly cross paths with incoming strays through the shelter's one hallway. The new building would have a HVAC systems in every room to prevent spreading disease like kennel cough.

"For anybody who has had their stray animal come into us, and depending on what vaccinations that animal has had they are potentially more at risk here because they're being exposed to a large number of animals."

The Humane Society has until July to receive the necessary 12,000 signatures to put this on the ballot. If the measure was put on the ballot and approved, the Humane society would own the land and the county would own the building.