Funds spruce up pet facility

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When it comes to Measure P funds, red means go.

The Chula Vista Animal Care Facility will be receiving a new $250,000 work and conference room trailer – after the city deemed the current trailer a high risk “red” asset.

The funds for the trailer will be taken from the $500,000 allocated to the ACF from Measure P, a temporary half-cent sales tax measure which was approved by Chula Vista voters in 2016.

Facilities the city deemed high risk were denoted as “red,” which, in turn, bumped them to the front of the line for a tax-measure makeover.

Leading up to Measure P’s passing, the city assessed different municipal facilities to determine risk factors and probability of failure.

The current trailer at the ACF was found to have issues that made it high risk, including possible water leaks, faulty wiring, termite damage, falling ceiling tiles, ripped carpet and ground rot.

The 25-year-old trailer is in such poor shape that, in lieu of being upgraded, it is being replaced entirely, and the city is working with a council-approved construction management firm to do the removal before dropping and connecting the new unit.

The construction management costs come out to $26,770, which is on top of a $250,333 open purchase order placed for the new custom-built trailer.

Facility administrator Mandy Mills said it made more sense to replace rather than repair.

“When you looked at the amount of money we were going to have to spend on repairs it didn’t make sense to invest that much in such an aging trailer,” she said.

The trailer does not house any animals, but instead includes work space for animal control and patrol officers, dispatch space and a conference room.

“I’m just glad for my employees that they are going to be able to work in a nicer facility,” Mills said. “What’s there is so dilapidated that it’s not a positive working environment.”

On top of the physical problems with the trailer, it also lacked walls for privacy, making it hard for dispatchers to do their jobs without being interrupted by outside noise.
Beatriz Tinajero, a dispatcher who has worked at the facility for eight years, including three inside the trailer, said it is an “accident waiting to happen.”

“I’ve always been afraid of the ceiling falling on me to be honest,” she said. “When I hear noises and then I turn and look at the ceiling … it looks like it’s going to fall.”

The Chula Vista Animal Care Facility is a relatively new facility, having opened its doors in 2002, so the majority of the space remains in good shape, according to Iracsema Quilantan, Chula Vista’s director of public works.

Quilantan said the employee trailer is a vital part of the facility and more than just “office space.”

“It’s actually kind of the heart of animal control, because we do need to house our officers so that they can provide better services to the community,” she said. “At the end of the day they have a caseload and lots of community contacts, and there needs to be a place that they operate and connect with that community.”

The trailer’s completion and final installation is estimated for June of 2019.

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