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Grievance filed, animal shelter discussed

After the executive session at the end of their April 12 meeting, board members identified and unanimously voted for proposed members to serve on an appeals committee to hear a grievance regarding the county manager. Members appointed to the three-person committee include Teri Totten, Rufus Clemmons and Rob Weaver with Michael Smith and Keith Ford as alternatives.
During the town hall meeting prior to the start of the meeting, library board chairman Anthony Vinson addressed commissioners.

“We believe our library to be under attack. The county manager knows nothing about the proper operation of a public library. We do. The board, six members of which were appointed by you and serve at your pleasure, are committed to maintaining the integrity of our library and its operation and ensuring that it remains open and its full range of services available to the hundreds of patrons we serve each month. We are committed to supporting our library manager who we also believe to be under attack by the county manager,” said Vinson. “I have gone to the trouble of commissioning buttons bearing the phrase Save Our Library. It is my intention to distribute them around the county advising anyone wishing to know more to call the county manager, their county commissioner, or both.”

The county also opened sealed bids and awarded the low bid to AmWaste for continued operation of the county’s transfer station. County manager Rogers noted that AmWaste has been in charge at the transfer station for two years and last year purchased a $14,000 concrete tipping floor and paid $10,000 for the new fence and gate at the facility. AmWaste offered to pay a $10,000 annual lease to the county and continue to operate the transfer station at no charge. Express offered to take over operations of the transfer station at an annual fee of $60,000. Rogers said the contract asks AmWaste to go back to taking cash as well as credit for services.

Commissioners discussed the animal shelter and county manager Rogers noted that a citizen on Arthur Road recently had run ins with an abandoned dog that seemed to her to be aggressive but did not meet the state and county code’s guidelines for aggressive dogs.

“She felt the animal was being rather aggressive but by state law and our code of ordinances, we couldn’t do anything for her. An officer was out there who agreed with her but unfortunately, our hands were tied and we couldn’t do anything because of our ordinance,” said Rogers. “I think we need to close those gaps in our ordinance at a minimum.”

Commissioner Tim Daniel said he still had not seen the ordinance proposed by animal shelter board that would allow the shelter to receive donations and operate. County attorney Rob Morton emailed it to him and said the commissioners had received the ordinance in February.

“I’ve been polling people in the county and there are two very distinct groups,” said commissioner Daniel. “The old-timers say we have never had it and don’t need it and another group says for sure, why do we not have it? It’s almost 50/50 and we need to figure out how to cover that gap sooner than later.”

Rogers said he had looked at other counties with similar populations and budgets and the closest is Morgan County although he said they have a different infrastructure with more commercial businesses.
“They do have an animal shelter with a budget of $330,000 per year. The cost we will face all goes back to how strict or lenient we want to be on our animal shelter ordinance.”

Commission chairman Briar Johnson noted that he has never needed an animal shelter since he moved to the county in the 1970s but “after talking to citizens, we need to do something.”

The county also:

• Opened sealed bids for lawn maintenance and awarded the bid to Flint River Landscaping for $48,500. County manager Rogers noted Flint River did a great job the previous year for the county and the other bids were at $64,719 from Sweatmon and $72,000 from Thomas Outdoors.

• Opened sealed bids and awarded the bid for Information Technology services to Wired Tech which is the county’s current provide at the current cost.

  • Discussed the upcoming Employee Appreciation Day and agreed for commissioners to serve employees to cut down on the catering costs at the annual luncheon. It was noted that commissioner James Jenkins is always a great help on the grill for the employee cookout.
  • Heard that House Bill 189 would allow for increased truck weight and could cause damage to county-maintained roads. Rogers noted that he was on Reidsboro Road and in about 30 minutes, counted 10 trucks that should not have traveled that road. He said the county will need to partner with the sheriff’s office or find out if GDOT or code enforcement needs to get involved to keep the trucks from damaging roads in the county.

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