Cleveland Turns Thumbs Down To Renewed County Offer On Animal Shelter

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - by Gail Perry

“You’ve just issued a death warrant,” Councilman Richard Banks told the Cleveland City Council members Wednesday afternoon. His proposal to give Bradley County one more chance to partner with the city of Cleveland in their efforts to have a no-kill animal shelter died for the lack of a second to the motion.

Councilman Banks tried to convince the other members of the council to extend an offer to the county for 30 days to let them hire someone, train them and get equipment and vehicles designated to pick up stray animals that are found in the county outside of Cleveland’s city limits. He  encouraged the council to reject the proposal previously submitted by Bradley County Commissioners that would provide some funding for the shelter, but no way to pick up animals. In that offer, it would be left to individual citizens to bring strays to the shelter. He said some people would be unable to do that, but that most people would just not take the time.

Mayor Tom Rowland stated that Cleveland officials are concerned about all the citizens of the county and that includes animals. In the month of May, said Councilman Banks, the animal shelter rescued 178 animals and succeeded in finding homes for 197. This number will go down, he said, because stray animals in the county will not be brought to the shelter to be given a chance. The shelter will not take them in because there is no contract in place between the city and county. Of the animals picked up in May, 135 came from outside the city limits.

After discussion of the Banks proposal, Vice Mayor Avery Johnson seconded the motion, Councilman Bill Estes said, “We’ve done our job - we’ve tried for months” to get cooperation from Bradley County. “Let’s cut bait and let them handle their own problems,” he said. 

“We need to be concerned with the animals,” Mayor Rowland told the council. 

During the 30-day period waiting for the county to organize a plan, who would pay for that? asked Councilman Estes. 

That’s a good point, said Vice Mayor Johnson, which prompted him to withdraw his second. It makes a good point except for the welfare of the animals, said Councilman Banks. Commissioner George Poe added that the problem is that everything the city has tried to do in conjunction with the county has resulted in no cooperation.

Other business on the council’s agenda included designating a three-year contract for banking services. City Manager Janice Casteel told the council that for the past 25-30 years money has been kept in a single bank, so if the city opts to move it into a CD that could be done. 

Bid proposals were given by four institutions for investing $16 million that the city has available. The council voted to accept the proposal presented by The Bank of Cleveland. The terms are use of 100 percent federal funds, the rate of .125 percent, and interest will be compounded quarterly.

 Another bid has yielded a savings of $1.5 million over the next five years. A unanimous vote approved for the mayor to sign a five-year contract with Waste Connections to handle solid waste for the city.  This will save the taxpayers $341,000 annually and demonstrates how effective competition can be, said Councilman Banks

Mayor Rowland was also authorized to sign a contract to refurbish a fire engine and to lease another pumper while the one owned by the city is being repaired.

Another vote approved replacing one of two air conditioning units at the Cleveland Senior Center and to encourage Bradley County to consider being responsible for replacing the other one.

An amendment of the zoning regulations was accepted to change the definition of townhouse dwelling in order to allow for the construction of two-unit townhouse dwellings. This had previously been approved by the planning commission. 

Chris McLease was appointed for a new two-year term on the Wrecker Board. Director of Parks and Recreation Patti Petitt told the panel that mulch would be put under playground equipment at Mosby Park, when she received the new budget, and a new water fountain will be installed. An ice machine should be in place Thursday or Friday.

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