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A new plan to finance renovating Texarkana's animal shelter is on the Arkansas-side Board of Directors' agenda.

During a regular meeting Monday, the Board will consider getting a short-term loan of $875,000 for improvements at the Texarkana Animal Care and Adoption Center.

The Board will take up a resolution authorizing City Manager Kenny Haskin to seek financing proposals under a provision in state law known as Amendment 78.

"The condition of the animal shelter is a hot-button issue that has plagued this community for over 25 years. I believe we have an opportunity this year to start addressing some of the shelter's capital needs.

"The question has always been, 'How are you going to pay for it?' Last year we exhausted a lot of old debt, opening up some cap space for us to issue what we refer to as an Amendment 78 note or, in other words, a 5-year short-term loan.

"I know the Mayor and the Board of Directors would like to address this issue as soon as possible, but we have to make sure they are comfortable with the payback method," Haskin said in a statement Friday.

Also on the agenda is a budget amendment that would authorize spending $52,800 to cover a health benefit premium increase of $40.50 per city employee.

Last week, the city received notice from the Municipal Health Benefit Program that based on the city's claims, rates would go up effective July 1, according to briefing materials prepared by staff.

The agenda includes a citizen communication time during which members of the public may address the Board on any subject for up to five minutes each.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 216 Walnut St.

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