Pieces coming together for animal shelter guidance

Published 7:21 pm Tuesday, August 22, 2017

After months of contentious debates and discussions, light is starting to shine at the end of the tunnel.
Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter Transition Board met Tuesday evening at the Carter County Courthouse and started to put the pieces in place for new leadership at the. Members of the transition board will meet over the span of 90 to 180 days to hash out the operational bylaws of the shelter and put a new board in place, which serves as the oversight of the facility, which is led by Shannon Posada, ECCAS director.
Both Carter County and the City of Elizabethton have already voted their representation for a new board – which will take effect following the development of the transition committee. Representatives on the future board will include three County Commissioners; Buford Peters, Kelly Collins and Sonja Culler, three City Councilmen; Kim Birchfield, Sam Shipley and Wes Frazier, and county resident Mike Barnett.
Transition board and members of the future board will both be in the decision process of putting together the final details of bylaws. During Tuesday’s meeting, it was announced that a meeting would be held Thursday, Aug. 31, at 6 p.m. to cipher through the documents to have requirements in place, including funding and how the shelter is run.
As it stands, the future board will serve as oversight with Posada serving as director. Barnett, who chairs the current Animal Advisory Board, added the board, theoretically, dissolved Tuesday but would not be made official until bylaws are put in place. County Attorney Josh Hardin was in attendance for the meeting and added the biggest issue that needs to be addressed with the bylaws is having a new memorandum of understanding in place between the city and the county.
Plans are also in place to address the status of the Friends of the Animal Shelter group, which serves as the nonprofit to help with the facility. Barnett added that a meeting is scheduled to take place Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 5:30 p.m. inside the Carter County Courthouse, tentatively, and interested individuals looking assist with the shelter are encouraged to attend.
Barnett added he was appreciative of all the individuals that put countless hours at the shelter since its and hopes to see more people get involved.
Positive trends continued during Tuesday’s meeting with Peters alluding to the fact a process could soon be in place to address animal control.
Peters stated that Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford could supply officers to address animal control, but $37,000 is needed to fund the project for one year. The hope, according to Peters, is that some more information can be learned over the next week how to acquire the necessary money.
If funding comes through Peters recalled the sheriff said officers could be “ready to go within 30 days”, alluding to the days needed for training. Addressing animal control is an issue, he added, with the fear of shelter employees having to go to unsafe areas to deal with calls.
As far as the current operation, board members praised the efforts of Posada and the staff at the shelter. When addressing the budget, Peters said Posada has already started looking at ways to trim costs and that next year’s budget could look “different” compared to this year’s $331,000 total.

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