Animal Control Board cuts ties with fundraising consultant
By Karen Sells
“We have given them their notice of termination,” City and County Commissioner David Tomita said following a called meeting of the Animal Control Board on Oct. 15.
Tomita, also a member of the ACB, said the $1.5 million commitment from the City of Johnson City completed the amount needed for construction of the initial building on North Roan Street.
“We have enough for phase one, and the city commission as the major donor has required this be the direction we take,” he said. The move was a major step in Tomita’s opinion.
“We have to get the needs taken care of with phase one,” he said. “The wants can be part of phase two.”
Another difference in the two phases is that one will be taken care of with taxpayer dollars and the other with private contributions.
Phase one will include site preparation, the office portion and the kennels. The second phase, estimated to cost $1 million, will add the spay/neuter clinic, an adoption room, increased space for cats and more kennels.
Tomita said it is the municipalities’ responsibility to equip the Washington County-Johnson City Animal Control Center to provide the required services.
“We’re taking the public portion (of funds) to make sure we have a nice, usable and functional facility,” he said. “As a board, I think we are lockstep in agreement this satisfies both public entities.”
Johnson City commissioners are expected to appoint Tommy Burleson, of Burleson Construction, as project manager during an upcoming meeting.
“It is my fervent hope we are on the track for a quick resolution,” Tomita said. “We’ve got to build what we can build with the money we have.”
City Manager Pete Peterson will work with Burleson and architect Tom Weems going forward.
While the Fundraising Committee will not disband, its focus will change.
“Extending the holding time (of animals) is not the (function) of Animal Control,” he said, adding private funds can be directed toward those and other efforts during the second phase.
A joint meeting between the ACB and city commissioners will be scheduled when the projected costs for the initial building are in hand, which should be in the next couple of weeks.