Land for animal control approved, but not money
The proposed land swap and site at Harrison County Industrial Park for an animal control center was approved unanimously Monday night by the seven-member Harrison County Council, but the money for construction was again tabled.
Council chair Gary Davis called for the money issue to be tabled so the council and Harrison County Board of Commissioners could continue to work toward a compromise on the amount needed.
Councilman Kenneth Saulman’s motion to that effect, seconded by Carl Duley, passed 5-1, with Carl (Buck) Mathes casting the dissenting vote because, as he has previously said, he believes that to table an issue is the same as a nay vote.
Duley, however, said just the opposite. “If this had been brought to a vote when it was first put on the table at $513,000, it would have died a horrible death.
“We’re trying to keep it alive because there’s not a councilman up here that thinks we don’t need some kind of animal control,” Duley said. “We know one can be built for less, and there’s not enough support on the council to approve $513,000.”
There was, however, unanimous support for the commissioners’ plan to sell the building in the industrial park to a neighboring landowner, James L. Shireman, for $100,000 plus the land required for road access and sewer hookup.
As explained by commission chair Terry L. Miller, the animal control facility will be built on the excess acreage off Quarry Road purchased with the industrial park building, which was sold at auction several years ago for $101,000. Former commissioners Steve Haggard and Ed Emily (Miller was opposed) bought the building with the idea that it could be renovated, but the current commissioners and council believe that would be more expensive than a new facility.
Davis said the council may request funding from the Harrison County Community Foundation to purchase equipment for the facility, which could bring the pricetag more in reach through compromise.
Commissioner James Goldman said later only $43,600 would be needed to equip the building, and he intends to talk with Miller and Commissioner J.R. Eckart about asking the council to start an endowment fund through the Foundation to pay (or help pay) annual operating costs. (Those costs have appeared to be of more concern to the council than equipment costs.)
Regardless of any failure to reach a compromise soon on funding construction, Miller said the commissioners will continue to pursue the project despite funding objections.
“If we do our job, it can’t be a dead issue, and I think we have to do our job,” Miller said.
“The commissioners believe we need to build a facility that will be simple to operate and cost effective, and one that will last,” Miller said.