The Lincoln County Budget Committee met to discuss the allocation of funds for various projects, including animal control and Fire/EMA.

Mayor Bill Newman gave an update on the status of animal control in the county. Key among Mayor Newman’s update was that he had recently met with Jack Cooper, who oversees Murray County’s animal control program and was described by Mayor Newman as having “a lot of experience, and Cindy Kite of the Humane Society of Lincoln County. Mayor Newman went on to explain that he had asked Cooper and Kite to prepare a plan for the procedure of receiving and managing animals, which they did, much to Mayor Newman’s approval – “There wasn’t much in there that I didn’t agree with,” Mayor Newman said.

The progress made in working with Cooper and Kite hit a snag, however, during a follow-up meeting in which Kite expressed that the Lincoln County Humane Society was not interested in facilitating animal control for the county. Kite had noted, however, that the Humane Society was willing to provide animal control services for the City of Fayetteville, however.

“We probably cannot do animal control without cooperation from the Humane Society in some aspect,” Mayor Newman said, “because, with animal control, we’re not going to be maintaining a pound that’s really going to be that’s really going to be keeping pets long enough to get them adopted or ship them to other places, which is what they do – their main thing is [to be] humane, you know? They want humane treatment of dogs and cats, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It just doesn’t always fulfill our need as a county as far as animal control [is concerned].”

Following this explanation, Mayor Newman expressed his intention to reopen a dialogue with the City of Fayetteville regarding the future of animal control logistics and the dual ownership of the property intended for an animal control facility. Additionally, Mayor Newman proposed that Jack Cooper be retained as a consultant for $200 a week. “It’s more time consuming than I really have time [for],” Mayor Newman said, emphasizing Cooper’s experience in the field.

When asked about the nature of Cooper’s potential consulting role, Mayor Newman described him as a “get us-started” sort of figure, clarifying that his consultancy would be one of experience based guidance in formulating a plan for animal control in the county.

The motion to recommend Cooper for the consulting position was lost with a vote of four yes, three absent, and one no.

The second topic of discussion was a request for roof replacements at the Dellrose and Belleville fire stations. Commissioner Ricky Bryant spoke on the subject, saying “What we have here is a couple of rooves – one at Dellrose and one at Belleville – that Doug [Cunningham] had made plans with the Sheriff’s Department and their team of folks to come out and replace at very little cost to the county… Well, because of COVID-19, [the Sheriff’s Department] will not let those inmates out of the jail.” Bryant went on to explain that without the assistance of the Sheriff’s Department, there remains a need to appropriate some funding for maintenance of the rooves, which prone to leaking. “Those rooves are bad, in fact they’re terrible,” Bryant said.

EMA Director Doug Cunningham then spoke on the subject himself, noting that the EMA already performed repairs on the Dellrose station’s roof, depleting the department’s fund for such maintenance.

The money these repairs was apparently already appropriated in last year’s budget, but was refunded prepandemic under the pretense that inexpensive labor could be provided by the Sheriff’s Department.

The motion to recommend that funding be reappropriated for these repairs was passed with five votes of yes and three absent.