A new animal pound could end up costing Baw Baw Shire close to $2 million as costs associated with the facility continue to soar.
And, councillors have been told the pet boarding facility purchased by council to offset the costs of an animal pound is running at a loss.
A report to be presented to council tomorrow indicates a new pound will cost about $741,500 – significantly more than the $150,000 estimated by officers just 10 months ago.
Only last week, council confirmed “$500,000 has been set aside” in the draft 2017/18 budget for a new pound.
Costs of the new pound are on top of the $1.2 million council paid for the privately owned two hectare site, which includes Utopia Pet Lodge.
Council’s intention was to co-locate its animal pound on the Utopia site and generate income to offset the pound service.
Tomorrow’s council report reveals Utopia is “operating at a loss for the year to date.”
As the vision for a combined pet lodge and animal pound continues to burn ratepayers’ dollars, officers also recommend council implements a business model to combine the two operations.
The business model was not done earlier, or part of due diligence during purchase of Utopia, because mayor Joe Gauci said council was on a tight timeframe before caretaker mode ahead of last year’s election.