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Proposed county dog park on short leash

By Rick Sherman

Carbon County Commissioners seemed okay with the concept, but weren’t willing to pick up the cost for a proposed dog park near the fairgrounds. Jennifer Lopez, owner of JK’s Paw Spa in Carbonville, pitched her pet project during the regular commission meeting of April 5.
Lopez said, “We are in desperate need of a dog park, and I’ve found a perfect place.” She identified the place as an area located between the softball fields and the fairgrounds, where there is an unused section of grass and trees, bordered by dirt and sand. “Not a lot of people even know that’s out there,” she remarked.
“All you need,” Lopez continued, “is a fence, two gates, two doggie doo-doo stations, and that’s about it.” She predicted the facility would be welcomed by area residents, as well as visitors who are in town for rodeos, softball tournaments and other events.
Lopez, who is also a local entertainer and author of the dating guide, It Might Be a Red Flag If…, said she took the initiative to get an estimate from a local contractor for a chain link fence. She reported, “Their bid ran at $9,000- that was for 800 feet of four-foot fence and two gates. Your dog doo-doo things are about 300 bucks.”
There were concerns about the possibility of a few irresponsible dog owners neglecting to clean up after their dogs, but the biggest barrier was the cost. As Commissioner Jae Potter put it, “We just don’t have the funding in our budget this year. We’ll be playing catch up even if the economy is turned and diversified, so it would be difficult to do.”
Citing decreasing revenue from mineral lease payments, County officials late last year announced a 9.29 percent increase in property taxes for the General Fund and the Municipal Services Fund. Commissioners also held a series of public hearings throughout January, February and March, scrutinizing every county department to identify items in the budget that could be trimmed, and areas where savings could be realized.
Commissioner Potter advised Lopez the dog park project would continue to be a low priority for the County in the foreseeable future, and may gain better footing as a citizens’ initiative.

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