City to renegotiate animal shelter agreement with county

Published 7:49 am Friday, February 10, 2017

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A contractual agreement between the city and county governments is expected to receive a bit of a facelift shortly.
Elizabethton City Council met inside City Hall Wednesday afternoon and voted to request a renegotiation of the agreement by both parties for the operation of the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter.
The current agreement in place, signed back in 2012, has the city and county splitting the cost of operation for the facility. During an amendment in 2014, both parties agreed to continue the division but recognize the building as being owned by the county.
Councilman received a handful of presentations during the comments from citizens portion of the meeting in regards to the current status of the facility. Brittney Madden and Robin McKamey both addressed the Council and provided documents and finances questioning the county’s leadership of the establishment and citing concerns of the shelter not having a foster program, intake issues or volunteers not being allowed to assist inside the shelter.
The facility is currently under an investigative audit State Comptroller’s Office after discrepancies were reported. An additional report of findings is expected in the coming months.
Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey recently said during an Animal Advisory Board meeting that the lack of volunteers inside the shelters has come per the request of the Comptroller’s Office until the report of the investigation has been finalized.
Councilmen Wes Frazier and Jeff Treadway cited concern on the way the current agreement is worded. Treadway added the city’s contributions through taxes effectively means residents are getting hit double with the city having to split the bill of funding the shelter.
With the estimation of the animal shelter budget being over $370,000 with new needs cited by the mayor, the split cost to fund would be $187,238 for the upcoming budget cycle.
The vote now OKs the contract to be passed to the city attorney to begin the negotiation phase, where council members mentioned they wanted to be part of the process.
In other business, the Council voted to
• Authorize the sale of not-to-exceed general obligation and refunding and improvement bonds that is expected to save the city near $300,000.
• Approve contract extension for the audit services of Blackburn, Childers & Steagall
• Remove the standardized time for all special-called meetings
• Ratify an interlocal cooperation agreement between county emergency communications and the city.
• Award a bid to Utility Service Company for Lower Lynn Mountain tank repainting project
• Approve a budget appropriation from the general fund to the school system to purchase property adjacent to Harold McCormick.
• Approved application for the city to take part in THDA HOME Grant.

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