Planning Commission discusses Animal Shelter, employee compensation Tuesday

Planning and Zoning Director Chris Schuettler’s report to the Planning Commission Tuesday afternoon featured a follow-up to the recent problems highlighted with the Carter County Animal Shelter and its building construction.

During last week’s County Commission meeting, Schuettler said he found a number of HVAC and electrical problems with the animal shelter’s buildings, which never received formal inspections.

As a follow-up to his inspections, he said it was time for a change.

“All projects need to go through this commission,” Schuettler said.

County Commissioner Robert Acuff repeated what he said during their last meeting, saying the situation at the animal shelter proved a need for stricter oversight of how county officials do their business.

“When county funds are spent, we need to be sure we get the right permits,” Acuff said. “We follow the same rules as citizens.”

Schuettler said this is a situation that is “definitely dangerous,” and said it requires more work in order to thoroughly resolve.

“We are trying to straighten up nine years of mess,” he said.

He also put forward an idea for a “body of compensation,” but the commission did not provide immediate details during the meeting.

The idea joined several budget items up for approval Tuesday, including a global 2.5 percent pay raise for all employees, in addition to a 7.5 percent increase for Schuettler’s secretary and a 5 percent increase for an assistant.

He said the pay raise will ensure employees are willing to continue working there.

“They will try to steal our people over there,” he said.

Schuettler also proposed allocation for a high school worker fund, in which they would bring a select number of juniors and seniors to work “back room” jobs.

“We cannot put someone on our payroll until they are 18, but this is something kids can put on their resume,” Schuettler said.

The last budget proposal to pass that afternoon was the allocation of funds for two more work vehicles for the commission. Schuettler said the two vehicles he was looking at totaled $55,000.

“I looked for the best quality with the highest upgrade,” he said.

The commission approved the request.

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