Bids to build new animal shelter come in too high
by Glenn Moore
Mar 28, 2014 | 8455 views | 3 3 comments | 68 68 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Construction equipment sits on the ground Thursday morning at the southwest corner of Paradise and Grant Line roads, where the new Tracy Animal Shelter is planned to be built. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Construction equipment sits on the ground Thursday morning at the southwest corner of Paradise and Grant Line roads, where the new Tracy Animal Shelter is planned to be built. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
The Tracy City Council will be asked whether to spend an extra half-million dollars or scale back plans for a new animal shelter after construction bids came in higher than the $3.2 million budget.

City utility director Kuldeep Sharma, who was a city engineer when the project started, said the nine contractors who bid to build the first phase of the animal shelter all wanted more money than the city had budgeted.

The 5,600-square-foot shelter, which would replace the shelter at 370 Arbor Road, is planned for an acre of land at Paradise and Grant Line roads.

Sharma said the total funding allotted for the first phase of the shelter was $4.5 million, which included purchasing the land, design, building inspection and management and construction of the animal shelter. Of that, $3.2 million was expected to cover building the first phase.

When the bids were opened March 13, the lowest was $3,334,000 and the highest was $3,978,422, without any extras. Sharma called the bidding “very competitive.”

“From the beginning of the project, we were anticipating the cost may go up, because the economy was improving,” Sharma said. “The contractors are not hungry anymore, so we were a little bit concerned.”

The bidding period for the shelter contract opened in February.

“What we did at that time was have a base bid and we have additive alternates,” Sharma said. “Basically, we limited the scope of the base bid and then we added some more items, so we thought, depending on how the bids come in, we can add those at that time and then present to the council.”

Sharma said the city staff initially thought the bids might have been higher than expected because of the short time frame — the shelter was originally scheduled to be completed by November. But after talking to the contractors, he found that the bids were high because construction costs and the strength of the economy were rising.

“It was a pretty good project when we started. Our estimates were coming in a little bit higher at that time,” Sharma said. “However, when bids came in, even the base bid amount was much higher than what we estimated.”

Sharma said the City Council would get another look at the shelter plans at the April 15 regular meeting, when city staff members will ask for more money to complete the project.

“We looked into all the bids we have, compared the cost estimates from all the contractors, and we tried to cut down wherever we can,” Sharma said.

The staff request will be to allocate an extra $400,000 to $500,000 to cover the base project and some of the add-ons.

“It is up to the council now if they allocate additional funds,” Sharma said. “If they don’t, the other alternative is to reject the bids and come back with a lesser scope and then go out to bid again.”

Kim Gray, a Tracy Animal Shelter volunteer who coordinates efforts to place cats and dogs with no-kill rescue groups, was discouraged to learn that the bids were over budget.

“They need to find the money to keep it on track,” Gray said. “I hope they can find enough money in the general fund to open the shelter in November.”

Gray said she would rally supporters of the shelter to attend the April 15 meeting to urge the council members to provide the additional funding. She said cutting back plans for the new shelter should not be an option.

“Obviously, we don’t want it delayed any longer,” Gray said. “At this point, we have waited so long for a new shelter, I don’t think we can scale anything back.”

If it comes to that, Sharma said, the city could eliminate certain areas from the shelter plans without redrawing the designs, although requesting new bids could delay the completion date.

“We have limited funds, and there was a need from the community, and we had community input that they wanted certain things,” Sharma said. “The best approach at that time was call for bids and see how they come in.”

Sharma said that if the council approved the additional funding, the contractor would sign the agreement within a month and construction would then begin within 15 days.

The bids don’t impact the proposed second phase of the shelter construction, which was planned to be built only as funds became available.

Sharma said he still thought the animal shelter could be finished by the end of the year.

“All the infrastructure to serve the project is already there. It is waiting for the construction to start,” Sharma said. “We are hoping for the best. With the economy a little bit slower, maybe we can get a better bid and the project moves ahead.”

• Contact Glenn Moore at 8304252 or

Comments-icon Post a Comment
April 18, 2014
1. Pet ownership ought to be annually taxed.

2. Puppy mills ought to be abolished.

3. Private breeding ought to be eliminated.

4 Pet food ought to include an excise tax.

5. Dog parks ought to be privately-owned.

6. All dogs ought to be licensed.

7. Every municipality ought to have stringent dog barking-noise ordinances.

8. Anyone on public assistance--of any kind--is disallowed from pet ownership.

I could go own, but I really don't endorse pet ownership, particularly of dogs, because even the supposedly good dog owners are derelict. We have excused this animal from a life of drama, which is survival.

"We decide which animals may live in luxury and which animals will die in squalor."

What hypocrisy!
April 17, 2014
This project cannot be delayed any longer. Our current shelter is an embarrassment to the fine City of Tracy. We can do better. Wish we would have spoken up sooner, as even the new location is undesirable. A central location, where it is visible on a daily basis to our citizens would have been a good choice. Out of sight, out of mind..and the goal is placement. The area of Sixth Street would be ideal..along the tracks, noise barriers for existing homes. Accessable, visual, and centrally located. A large rectangular building with a center area of grass for exercising animals, and keeping their barking limited to the interior of a building. Showcase windows during the day for citizens to see their little faces saying, TAKE ME HOME.
April 18, 2014
Pet ownership is an embarrassment. Stop feeding the cows to the dogs. You pamper and privilege a dog and stick a fork into a cow. Sorry, but I don't make this distinction. The cow wants to live as much as the dog.

Stop the breeding and the selling of these animals. Your charity is really vanity--and guilt.

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