Animal shelter project faces funding shortfall

THE proposed construction of a new animal shelter on Saipan is facing a new challenge due to the rising cost of materials, Mayor David M. Apatang said.

He said the project is facing a shortfall of $80,000 due to a 50 percent increase in cost.

The contractor who offered the lowest bid has already withdrawn from the project, saying its bid is now unreasonably low compared to the actual cost of construction, the mayor added.

“Now we are working with the second lowest bidder,” he said, add that his office will work with the Department of Public Works and the grants management office in seeking additional funding.

The mayor’s office received $324,000 in federal funding for the repair of the animal shelter in Lower Base that was damaged by Typhoon Soudelor in Aug. 2015.

The mayor then sought the approval of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the construction of a new and permanent animal shelter at a facility of the Department of Lands and Natural Resources in As Perdido.

“They [FEMA] wrote us a letter to tell us not to start the construction until they see an [environmental assessment study],” the mayor added.

He said DPW has already completed the architecture and engineering design for the proposed animal shelter which will accommodate 40 kennels for dogs, 10 for cats and 10 more for sick dogs.