AMITE — The Tangipahoa Parish Council plans to apply for $47,700 in Louisiana Government Assistance Program funds to build a separate feline care area at the parish animal shelter to help boost cat adoptions.

“We want to create a friendly environment that is going to give room for exercise,” Parish President Gordon Burgess said following Monday night’s council meeting. “The way things are now, the cats are in one area, but it’s small. They are basically kept in crates.

“We are hoping with this new facility it will encourage more adoptions” as people will be able to see and interact with the cats, Burgess added.

A portion of the grant funds would go toward building new kennels for the cats, to buy additional equipment and supplies for animal control operations and to construct a storage building for the Florida Parishes Arena.

The Humane Society of the United States was invited by the parish in November 2009 to conduct a study of its animal control operation and shelter. Since then, the parish has worked toward making needed improvements.

Other business considered during the meeting included:

WATER SYSTEM UPGRADES: The council agreed to issue $13.3 million in revenue bonds to pay for water line improvements

Of this amount, $5.2 million would pay for a new well, water tower and replacement of existing water lines with 8-inch piping serving the Belle Foret and Jefferson Court subdivisions in southwest Tangipahoa Parish.

Another $7.3 million would be used to retire remaining debt from four existing bond issues totaling $11.2 million that were sold between 1999 and 2002.

By borrowing money now to pay off old debts, the Tangipahoa Water District expects to see a savings because interest rates have declined since the earlier bonds were sold.