Lee County extends animal agreement

LEESBURG -- The Lee County Comission voted unanimously Tuesday night to extend its memorandum of agreement with the Albany Humane Society to provide custodial care of animals through March 31, 2010, while the county works to finish construction of its new animal shelter.

"The new animal shelter is dried in, and we've had a benefactor come forward who has expressed a desire to help complete the facility," Lee County Administrator Alan Ours told the commission. "We've had other benefactors who've said they will provide the Sheetrock, the electrical wiring and other materials.

"The hope is that we'll be able to complete the facility before we need to extend the contract again."

The contract with the Albany Humane Society calls for Lee County to pay $18,711.75 for custodial care of up to 325 animals. An additional charge of $65 per animal over the agreed-upon cap will also be charged, whether they are delivered by animal control or Lee County citizens.

The contract also allows for a charge of $150 for biting animals suspected of having rabies and a disposal fee of $2,428.25 for euthanized animals.

Ours also announced that construction began Monday on the fire/EMS station near Smithville in the northern part of the county.

"The contractor has insisted that he will finish the job in 130 days," the administrator said. "That's an aggressive plan, but he assured us he believes he can get it done if he has continued good weather. He's off to a good start."

Commissioner Rick Muggridge's attempt to kill a section of policy concerning use of the Opal Cannon Auditorium at the T. Page Tharp Governmental Building that forbids candidates running for public office from holding events at the facility died for lack of a second.

"If you look at something like a political debate or a visit from someone like (gubernatorial candidate) Nathan Deal, who came through here the other night, this would be a great venue for things like that," Muggridge said. "I'd like to see people get more politically involved, and events like this would give them more access to candidates.

"I'd love to see us approve this with the exclusion of item 15 (disallowing political events). I so move that we do so."

The board voted to approve policy as drawn up by staff.

The Commission held public hearings and then voted to approve sending an annual update of the county's capital improvement element of its comprehensive plan to the Department of Community Affairs and the renewal of all alcohol license in the county.

"All applicants have supplied the required fees and/or documentation," Chief Building Official Joey Davenport told commissioners.

The board also OK'd a proposed change order from SRJ Engineering on the intersection design at U.S. Highway 82 and Oakland Parkway; approved a zoning request from Warren Land Holdings to rezone 5 acres of a 233-acre tract on Armena Road; and signed off on stormwater mapping that satisfies Environmental Protection Division permit requirements.

In other action, the commission approved a resolution that will allow the tax assessor's office to approve clerical changes to the county's tax digest; OK'd Kathie Cash as associate judge for Probate Court; accepted a deed from the city of Leesburg for property that will be used for a parking lot behind the Tharp Building; and approved a fiscal year 2010-2011 budget calendar.

"It follows the basic format of the current fiscal year," Ours said.