The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Animal Shelter has been spared from a massive budget cut proposal that would have left it with just $1 million to operate.

Assemblyman Jesse Sumner made an amendment to slash the facility’s funding by more than $1.5 million — more than a 60% cut.

Before the assembly’s meeting Tuesday night, shelter director Kirsten Vesel said a cut like that would have meant possibly laying off most of their staff and forcing them to close their doors.

Sumner suggested a nonprofit animal shelter would work better because it doesn’t use borough money. He said people would likely choose to donate to that kind of organization rather than the government.

In a memo to the Mat-Su Borough Assembly and mayor, manager John Moosey wrote a synopsis of the amendment’s impacts on the shelter.

“The reduction of funding to a million dollars would essentially eliminate all positions except for four," Moosey wrote. "We would not be able to meet the public demand."

After public testimony Tuesday night, Sumner’s proposal failed to get the votes to go forward in the budget deliberating process. Sumner was the only member in support.

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