Petitioners call for closing Rt. 9 kennels
by Jazz Clark
Emails about the Rt. 9 dog kennels came with such intensity on Monday that courthouse computers of Commissioners Stacy Dugan and Brad Close were running slower.
Coupled with a petition to shut down the kennels that has been circulating in recent days, the animal control issue keeps piling up.
The petition was created after allegations of poor conditions by Morgan County group “Bark at the Commissioners.”
Dave McDonald, Information Technology Director for the commission, said it’s not really freezing computers but definitely slowing them down.
“It’s maybe 100 to 200, but not thousands of emails,” McDonald said. “It is getting out of hand. though.”
The problem comes from the petition, which sends an email to Dugan and Close every time its petition is signed.
McDonald can’t filter the emails because while they come from the same source, every subject is a different petition signer, most of them from outside the county.
Plans have already been made to implement a Microsoft exchange email server, which has greater functionality in situations like this.
“All these messages are non-productive and disruptive,” said Dugan. “Our staff is too busy with emails to be able to do their jobs, and I can’t sit here for hours going through them.”
Dugan had received 190 emails as of Monday afternoon.
Animal control was also on the agenda at the Thursday, July 19 commission meeting.
Commissioner Brenda Hutchinson brought up a new idea about how to fund a new animal control facility.
“I’m just as tired of hearing about this as probably everybody in this room, so I thought I’d take one last stab at coming up with a funding source so we can move forward,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson contacted West Virginia Water Development Authority to find out what the payoff was on the $9 million courthouse loan currently brokered through them.
If the commission refinanced the loan before October 1, loan payments would be around $12,420 a month compared to roughly $32,620.
Hutchinson estimated the savings at $242,000 a year with a 3.5% interest rate.
“I don’t think we need a committee, I don’t think we need to continue with the acrimonious statements that are made,” Hutchinson said. “We’re asking Animal Control to work with one hand tied behind their backs at this facility.”
But not all commissioners agreed the loan was an easy solution.
‘It’s not free money,” said Commissioner Brad Close. “For instance, if we take $200,000 out of that fund, it would cost us $191,000 in interest [over the next 35 years] based upon the current numbers.”
That’s interest the taxpayers would bear in their tax bills for the next 35 years, Close said.
Close had been approached by many people with other ideas for the money, such as a recreational center, funds to step up the war against drugs in town or to spur job creation. He realizes there are alternative ways money can be spent, and limiting is a missed opportunity.
“Money doesn’t always solve problems, it’s people that solve problems. Throwing money at a problem will not make it go away,” Close said.
No consensus was reached at the meeting.