JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – Dewayne Baird, chair of the Campbell County Commission’s Animal Control Committee, had expressed concerns the county’s animal shelter problem may not resolve. The county’s last offer to increase funding for the shelter to $25,000 a month with a 3 percent annual escalation, assuming $24,000 of utility costs and another one time $40,000 for a new truck was presented as a solution.
That proposal still left a gap of around $60,000 between what the county can afford to spend without a tax increase and the $397,000 final request from the Friends of Campbell County Animals (FCCA). Baird asked for one last chance to negotiate with shelter director Patricia Siwinski and allow her time to consult the FCCA board before the commission closed the book, resulting in a recessed meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
The commission began the recessed meeting by voting to approve a budget amendment to cover the earlier offer totaling $324,000 along with appropriations for one time donations to the Senior Citizen centers in LaFollette and Jellico.
Siwinski then announced that she had sent an email to Baird at 4:30 pm containing the written FCCA response to the county’s offer. Baird had not received the message so Siwinski sent it to the commission secretary to pass on to Baird to be read. The message was a rejection of the county’s offer. “FCCA has no confidence that our mission (to operate a no-kill shelter) can happen,” Siwinski added.
Baird then proposed that FCCA give the county time to find another entity to take over the shelter and animal control operations. “We would like FCCA to stay on board for 90 days (past the June 30 deadline) at a funding level of $35,000 a month for three months,” Baird stated, offering a higher monthly operating budget than the $33,000 per month requested by FCCA.
“FCCA will not enter into a transition extension,” Siwinski replied, adding that “In the spirit of trying to maintain a good relationship, FCCA cannot continue, but I personally will help.” “You’re going to continue to have an animal problem in this county if you don’t get your spay and neuter problem under control,” she said.
“You’re not going to take our proposal of $324,000,” Commissioner Rusty Orick asked.
“We can’t,” Siwinski said. “We can’t rely on the grants and donations we’ve had in the past. Two of those grants are no longer available while donations are going down. I’m just being honest with you.”
Mayor E. L. Morton was asked earlier to approach the county’s cities and towns about possible help. “Jellico is the only municipality to consider helping based on population,” Morton told the commission, adding he had spoken to the Jellico mayor but a formal commitment would depend on city council.
Baird then made a motion to start the solicitation process to seek bids from any other entities willing to operate the program, and the commission approved that motion unanimously, empowering Morton to send out the proper announcement. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 05/19/2022-6AM)