Revised agreement starting point to resolving future Animal Shelter issues

Published 4:26 pm Tuesday, October 12, 2021

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com

A revised operating agreement reviewed during Monday evening’s Carter County Budget Committee meeting will lay the groundwork for the Elizabethton-Carter County Animal Shelter to move forward as a 501c.

Major changes to the agreement come as a result of both the county and city mayors and other officials meeting to address unclear language in the contract.

The most notable changes to the agreement were:
– Animal Shelter ownership. A survey will be conducted of the land (46 acres) and the City will deed one-half interest in the property to the county. Both parties will share the cost of the survey.
– The term of the contract, which will be two years. The previous contract didn’t have a timeline.
– A 90-day review period prior to expiration. Both the Elizabethton City Council and County Commissioners will review the contract and request and desired amendments or modifications to the agreement by a majority vote of the requesting party’s governing body at that time.
– A continuation clause. If both parties are in good faith negotiations when the contract expires, both parties can continue to remain in good faith negotiations up to 90 days past the expiration.
– A funding structure, with 40 percent of funding coming from the City of Elizabethton and 60 percent from Carter County. The budget will be revisited each year based upon the budget request of the Animal Shelter. Both parties mutually agree that the animal shelter explores outside sources of revenue for the animal shelter so that the tax burden of the citizens for the operation of the shelter can be reduced in the future.

“This is the first time that the city and the county have gotten together to come up with something that is almost better than nothing,” said committee member Julie Guinn. “This is hopefully getting them (animal shelter) to the place they can see the benefits of doing it this way.”

County Mayor Patty Woodby said there have been two meetings “which is a good start for us.”

“Curt (Mayor Alexander) has come across the line with us especially on the property split,” Woodby said. “I think it’s a good contract and in two years if we are not happy with what’s happened, we have the option to do something else.”

Other items of business the committee addressed were:
– Approved EMA Director Billy Harrell to engage in a three-year contract with Everbridge, the county’s warning system, for a total of $15,063.51 per year during years 2022, 2023, and 2024 with no increase in the rate for those three years. Five years ago, that rate was $19,000 per year.
– Approved up to $17,000 for paving, resurfacing, and line marking at the new Planning building.
– Approved up to $137,000 out of the $508,000 Governor’s Grant for two one-ton dump trucks for the County Highway Department for use as a salt and snow truck.
– Approved up to $300,000 out of the Governor’s Grant for asphalt with $250,000 earmarked for the county and $50,000 to be used at county schools.

The full commission will vote on all items at its Nov. 9 meeting.

Austin Jaynes was selected to remain as the chair for the Budget Committee with Aaron Frazier selected as vice-chair and Travis Hill as secretary. The Nominating Committee elected by acclamation Frazier to another term as the chair and Ross Garland as vice-chair. Hill will be the secretary for the Nominating Committee as well.