Commissioners discuss need for new animal shelter in county
by Jennifer Cohron
Nov 05, 2013 | 1569 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Walker County Commission is ready to move forward on a new animal shelter.

During Monday’s meeting, commissioners discussed the possibility of building a shelter near the county landfill at an estimated cost between $120,000 and $150,000.

District 1 commissioner Keith Davis described the shelter as being in “complete disarray” when the administration came into office last year.

He said although the situation has now improved, thanks largely to a group of dedicated county employees and volunteers, the current shelter is not adequate for the community.

Davis cited the facility’s size, age and lack of ventilation as key problems.

“To have a successful adoption program, you have to have a facility for folks to come in, walk around and pick out an animal. Right now, you can hardly stand the smell,” Davis said. “As a commission, we have to make a decision about where the money is best spent. I think we have allocated enough resources to the current building and location.”

In 2011, the nonprofit board of the Walker County Humane Society turned the property and responsibility for the shelter over to the city of Jasper and the county.

Davis called for a joint work session between the commission, Jasper City Council members and representatives of any other municipalities that would like to be a partner on the project.

Davis recommended a timetable of 30 days for putting a plan in place and expressed a desire to see ground being broken for a new shelter in early 2014.

District 2 commissioner Dan Wright called the shelter “dilapidated” and “out of date.”

“I don’t think we need to spend any more of the taxpayers’ money on this thing. We need to relocate and start over,” Wright said.

District 3 commissioner Bobby Nunnelley also expressed his support for the project.

“We’ve talked about it for about three months. We need to get some action and get it done,” Nunnelley said.

In other action, the commission:

•discussed a proposal presented by District 4 commissioner Steven Aderholt for a new county website.

The proposal came from freelance designer Robert Howard, who is based in Walker County.

The total cost for the first fiscal year would be $1,500 and $50 a month after that for hosting.

Aderholt called the current site “dated to say the least.”

“When we’re talking to folks from other areas and out of state, especially in business and economic development, one of the easiest things to do is go to your website and look at the initial face you’re putting forward. I think it’s time to put a better face on Walker County,” Aderholt said.

No vote was taken on the proposal Monday.

•passed a resolution recognizing a severe weather preparedness sales tax holiday to be held Feb. 21-23. State and local taxes will be waived on such items as batteries, NOAA weather radios, flashlights and smoke detectors.

•approved a petition for the Ford family cemetery to be established in District 3 north of Oakman and west of Highway 69.

•established a schedule for the upcoming holidays. County offices will observe Thanksgiving on Nov. 28-29, Christmas on Dec. 24-25 and New Year’s on Jan. 1.