City Council discusses animal shelter

Published 2:51 pm Thursday, June 20, 2024

Mayor and City Council met on the 13th of June. New public works director George Allen presented a request to purchase of a new truck for the storm water department. City Council Member Daryl Dowdell questioned Allen. “So it will not be used for anything other than stormwater, right?”

Allen replied: “The truck that was purchased for the Public Works Director, I guess a few years ago, is actually being utilized now by the stormwater division so I’m going to have to try and work something out whether or not the new truck will go to them or the public works director to get the old truck back.”

Dowdell questioned the appropriateness of using the truck for anything other than stormwater if it’s funding was from the stormwater fund.

City attorney Jimmy Skipper replied, speaking of the request: “As I understand it is primarily for the stormwater.”

He gave his opinion on use: “We don’t have a vehicle in the City that can’t be used for anything else if the necessity arose.” Skipper mentioned that he was unaware of how the City could police the use of vehicles between departments.

Dowdell commented on marking: “We should be able to identify vehicles by the department.”

Allen then made a request to seek bids for lawn contractors. Council Member Charles Christmas asked about funding. City Manager Diadra Powell replied: “There’s monies that were budgeted in general fund department 36.”

Both Council Members Nelson Brown and Nicole Smith expressed support for having bidders cover grass cutting. Christmas concurred, asking if inmates would still be used.

Allen replied: “My goal is to create schedules and routes for grass cutting if we don’t already have them.” He mentioned that once they were better organized, they might have the option of moving away from using contractors but that currently they were needed.

Powell then presented information about the Sumter County Humane Society. “Mayor and Members of Council, as the mayor indicated, we were paying $85,000 annually and the County was paying $50,000 annually to the Humane Society.”

She talked about new funding needs. “There was a deficit based on the Humane Society’s calculations, if my numbers are accurate, I’ll caveat if my numbers are accurate. . .it was $299, 530.” Powell mentioned that an email was sent showing what the County had decided to pay: “The consensus of the Commissioners was $107,530. That leaves approximately $192,530 that, my assumption is, that the County is expecting the City to pay the $192,530.”

Kinnamon commented: “Also in the chairman’s email he has polled the Commissioners concerning the opportunity for a joint meeting and they were in agreement that they didn’t believe a joint meeting would be beneficial due to the fact that they already made this decision.”

Powell responded that she had been in local government for almost twenty years: “This is a first, where there’s been no conversation, no negotiation.”

Brown expressed disapproval over the lack of cooperation along with Smith, who said “I don’t agree with the stance of the County.” She asked Powell and the finance director to look for funding.

Powell mentioned that she assumed the County might be using a document as the basis for their funding decision: “There was a document that listed out what they believed were animals that were coming from the City and animals that were coming from the County.”

Council member Kelvin Pless questioned the accuracy of the document. Kinnamon mentioned a list of expectations Chairman David Baldwin had supplied for the Humane Society. “He believes the following items should be expected and these are certainly up for both parties to discuss; One quarterly financials. Number two, quarterly details on animals taken in, where from. Three, abandoned animals left when the shelter is closed should be reported to the Sherif’s Department with photos from an operational camera system. Four, Humane Society to work with the City and County to establish and maintain mutually agreed upon regulations as enacted by the governing bodies.” He also listed a review of the euthanasia policy as another expectation the County was for.