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New Faulkner County Animal Shelter to open in the fall of 2024



Greenbrier, Arkansas – The construction phase of the Faulkner County Animal Shelter has begun, following years of voluntary taxation by the people of Faulkner County.

“The concept of this animal shelter goes all the way back to before 2005,” Faulkner County Administrator Randy Higgins said.

When paying their personal or real estate property taxes, individuals might choose to check a box designating a percentage of their donation, according to an ordinance that was passed by the quorum court at the time.

“We know at least that far back that there were concerns that we had an animal issue in Faulkner County, and especially now with all the growth that we’ve experienced,” Higgins said.

In 2011, Higgins began serving on the quorum court and observed the growth of the voluntary tax.

“We finally got one million and it was like, ‘We got a lot of money here, can we start the project?’ That’s when we started looking at what we can do,” Higgins said.

They came to the conclusion that the money could cover the building costs but not the ongoing operations. Over the past few years, they have encountered additional obstacles since they have realized they need more money.

“We initially reached the point we were approaching two million dollars in the voluntary tax, and so we hired a consultant to help us determine the size that we needed, the growth opportunities, and all the demographics,” Higgins said.

They discovered a plot of land while working with the consultant at the same time. a four-acre flea market that is trying to sell.

The $400,000 purchase of the building and land was allowed by the quorum court, and work on the property was started.

At that point, the American Rescue Plan money became accessible, and Judge Allen Dodson of Faulkner County started working toward obtaining a portion of that money.

Following that, the Faulkner County Quorum Court authorized a revised proposal and obtained the cash.

“We would use American Rescue Plan Funds to remodel this facility just under 1.2 million,” Higgins said. “The benefit to us was that the money collected all these years to build the shelter is now assigned to operate the shelter minus what we paid for the building.”

According to Higgins, their decision to begin building and operating the shelter was a major victory.

“The excitement for as far as actually being able to start the project and getting off the ground has been tremendous,” Higgins said.

Two months into the project, building is expected to take roughly 180 days.

“I spoke with the contractor and we’re on time right now, on schedule, so that’s good news,” Higgins said.

The community, the quorum court, and law enforcement are all excitedly awaiting the doors to open this autumn.

“Initially, the shelter is going to be supporting law enforcement and Faulkner County as they respond to animal calls,” Higgins said.

With inadequate resources, the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Department had to react to more than 80 animal reports in the past month.

“This will be a huge tool for them to be able to properly handle animals; right now, they can only write citations,” Higgins said.


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