VICKSBURG, Miss. (WJTV) – The City of Vicksburg is working to build a new animal shelter. After bids came in hundreds of thousands of dollars over their budget, city leaders were concerned about how to finance the entire project.

Vicksburg leaders held an intense question and answer session with the public, who pleaded with leaders to build a new animal shelter as soon as possible.

“The foundation and the concrete flooring at the shelter allow odor, viral germs to absorb into it. That’s deadly for the animals and unhealthy for the humans,” said Marilyn Terry, an animal rights activist.

“We are at the point where it’s dog on top of dog, and we’re having to put them to sleep, because there’s no room. The roof fell in on that shelter the last time that it rained. We can’t wait two and a half more years, we can’t,” said Dianne Gardera, another animal rights activist.

Mayor George Flaggs said he wants to build the much-needed shelter, but the construction bids that the city received were more than the city’s $1.6 million budget. He discussed some possible ways to finance the facility.

“Use the reserve fund. Another option is to use multiple creative finances that I think could get us there, and the last option is to go to the Legislature and ask them to use some of the money that’s available to us,” explained Flaggs.

Some of the ideas that they mayor opposed were increasing taxes, using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, and starting the project now and then raising the rest of the funds during construction.

Both aldermen were skeptical of the idea of using the reserve fund.

“What happens if we have another ice storm, and we take that $2 million out of the reserve? We’re going to be against the wall. We’re going to be like every other big city that has to go borrow money to fix the infrastructure. But I want you to know, I love the animals,” said Alderman Alex Monsour.

The board decided that the best decision right now is to try to get bids within their budget. They will meet Thursday at 1:00 p.m. The board is expected to reject the current bids and start over in hopes of getting lower bids.

The mayor’s goal is to break ground on a new shelter within the next 45 days.