The Edgecombe County Council of Commissioners unanimously approved a location on Anaconda Road as the site of the future Edgecombe County Animal Shelter on Monday.
The property is located directly west of the detention center and this is the location Sheriff Clee Atkinson proposed last summer.
County manager Eric Evans told commissioners the property would allow the consolidation of animal service operations with the town of Tarboro. He said he and Atkinson had discussions with Tarboro City Manager Troy Lewis, who has expressed interest in consolidated services. Until the end of the calendar year, however, Tarboro City Council had not discussed the matter as an agenda item.
Commissioners previously created a line in the budget to allow for donations from the public to a fund for the new shelter. Commissioners budgeted $ 50,000 for the new shelter and supporters have raised over $ 48,000 in the past year.
Evans told Commissioners he spoke with the Sheriff and was told Atkinson had a supporter who would make a large donation once the Commissioners committed to a location. He asked them to commit to the site and move forward.
Last month, Atkinson told the Telegram that he had one particular donor who was ready to make a substantial donation.
He said the donor would be happy for the county to erect a sign identifying the location as the future site of the animal shelter.
“He told me if the county got involved they would write me a six-figure check,” Atkinson said. “We’re talking about a sign that says we’re going to do it.”
Atkinson, who is one of the few North Carolina sheriffs overseeing an animal shelter – his predecessor did not – said the designation of the land made sense.
“It makes sense that, since I’m in charge of the animal shelter, I have easy access to it,” he told the Telegram. “I could walk out of my office and call back to the detention center and send administrators to clean it or walk the dogs or whatever is needed. “
While the proposal was passed unanimously, questions were raised regarding the size of the shelter, the amount of Tarboro’s stake and whether or not there would be enough space to build.
Evans told commissioners the details had not been discussed, nor the level of involvement from Tarboro.
“There are several hectares there,” he said, referring to a map included in the meeting’s agenda file. “We have to go to an architect and see what we come up with. “
The county’s GIS map includes the parcel as part of the 33.19 acres where the Edgecombe County Detention Center and Sheriff’s Office is located.
The existing shelter is overcrowded and deteriorated to the point that it cannot be disinfected, and healthy dogs cannot be separated from sick dogs.
“We have had healthy dogs that got sick and had to be euthanized because puppies arrived with Parvo, but we had no way of knowing they were infected,” Atkinson told the Telegram.
Also, he said there is only one outdoor area where dogs can be off leash to run and play. He said it was rock and dirt and weeds and couldn’t be disinfected.
“Again, disease is a problem,” he said.
He said heating and cooling is a problem and concrete floors are cold in the winter, while summer temperatures regularly exceed those allowed by state law.
“Maintenance was notified, but never provided a solution,” he said of the heating and cooling problem.
Other issues include the lack of office space for the three officers and a volunteer, and the building not accessible to all clients.
“Due to the smooth concrete floors and the layout of the building, we bring animals to see them because we don’t think it is safe for them to be in the building,” he said. declared.
The Commissioners also heard at length from Candis Owens, a resident of Tarboro, on the December appearance of Sharon Edmundson, deputy treasurer of the State and Local Finance Division of the Office of the State Treasurer, in this regard. which relates to the county’s continuing problems getting audits submitted on time.
Owens said she was appalled at what she was reading in the newspaper and embarrassed by the state of financial reporting.
She noted that the county is losing population, has lost QVC, and continues to hire people.
“We have a director, a deputy director and a deputy director,” she said. “We have to start looking for places to cut. “
Owens asked the commissioners if they were aware of the situation, without a response.
She persisted in trying to determine the level of knowledge the Commissioners had of the situation until President Leonard Wiggins began to respond and told her that the board was aware of the seriousness and was dealing with it. the situation.
Wiggins then said he was unsure whether the comments attributed to Edmundson in the two posts were accurate or not and would not address them.
Owens noted that two firms were working on the audit and asked if either of them got a higher payment. When told that was the case, she told the Commissioners they needed to manage things better.
When Commissioner Viola Harris pointed out that a statement referring to a similar takeover of Princeville by LGC was newspaper opinion, Owens attempted to respond but was interrupted by Wiggins, who told him she had used all his time.
Later, in response to a question from the board, Evans revealed that a consultant was also helping audit firms and the county with the process. He did not disclose a cost and was not asked about the cost of the consultant.
The Commissioners also heard from Curmilus Dancy of Pinetops, who encouraged the Commissioners to do everything in their power to ensure the return of QVC to the community.
“Where is the motivation (from the community) to make sure they rebuild? ” He asked. “We need a public campaign behind all of you to let everyone know that.”
Wiggins told Dancy: “We are having this conversation now and looking at how we can help them want to come back. We will do everything in our power to bring them back.”