County says no animal pick-up
by JOYANNA WEBER, Banner Staff Writer
Jun 04, 2013 | 1510 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New contract gets approval
Jeff Yarber
view slideshow (3 images)
Stray animals outside the city limits will no longer be picked up by the Cleveland Animal Shelter.

However, animals from outside the city but within Bradley County could still be dropped off at the shelter, if the Cleveland City Council agrees to a resolution passed by the Bradley County Commission.

The City Council will discuss the issue at its June 10 meeting.

The Bradley County Commission voted 9-3 to move forward with an option that eliminated the animal pickup and saved the county money during a meeting Monday.

Commissioners Jeff Yarber, Jeff Morelock and Brian Smith voted against the proposal.

“My fear is a few years down the road there will be an increased need for animal pick-up and we’ll hire our own animal enforcement officer ... and (have) more expenditures due to the same issue,” Yarber said.

He said this would not be a cost savings in the long run.

Eliminating animal pick-up has been estimated to save the county more than $200,000. The Commission voted to establish this contract for three years.

The budget proposal by Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis used this option because it was a recommendation from the finance committee. Estimated savings were recommended to be placed in the general fund balance. In the mayor’s budget proposal, the general fund balance is 13 percent of the budget.

“If we don’t follow the finance committee’s recommendations we are going to have to be looking for $100,000-plus dollars, if I remember right off the top of my head, to balance the budget. That’s my concern,” said 2nd District Commissioner Connie Wilson.

Fourth District Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones said it is important to keep in mind that the level of service at the shelter and the animal control employees’ jobs would remain the same.

“They only cut truck and gas expenses. Anything that had to do with that truck going to the county to pick up an animal,” Peak-Jones said.

Yarber had recommended the Commission approve an option that would keep animal pick-up and use audited numbers from last fiscal year to determine cost. He said this would be a cost savings and still keep the same level of service. The Cleveland City Council has voted in support of this option in the past.

The Commission also voted to approve a budget amendment for the Bradley County Soil Conservation District. The office had hired an employee before the retiring employee’s vacation had been paid, creating a lack of the funding needed for the new employee’s salary.