Commissioners review design plans for the new animal shelter; adopt the 2022 budget resolution

At what is slated to be the last Highland County commission meeting in 2021, Commissioners Jeff Duncan, Terry Britton and David Daniels reviewed initial plans for a dog pound installation project and approved the resolution on the 2022 annual appropriations.

Adam Raines of DS2 Architects presented preliminary design plans for a new facility on North Shore Drive, which commissioners said would house animals from the Highland County Dog Pound and the Highland County Humane Society.

“The thought process here is that we have two old buildings that we’re replacing – one for the Humane Society and the other is the pound,” said Britton. “It would be accommodation for both.”

After the meeting, Britton told The Highland County Press that Highland County Dog Pound, which is a county agency, and Humane Society, which is a private, non-profit organization, will remain separate entities.

“We had a few initial conversations with some people from the Humane Society, and they’ve indicated they’re willing to sit down with us and have a chat about how we can make things work, how we can cooperate,” Daniels mentioned.

As previously reported, the commission voted in August to approve a contract with DS2 in the amount of $ 16,500 for a “possible upgrade” to the animal shelter. Duncan said on Wednesday the county was proposing to build a brand new facility, separate from the two current buildings which are both on National Highway 124.

“We are looking for a property the county owns just off North Shore Drive,” Duncan said. “As you head towards the airport it is on the right hand side. This is where we plan to place the new installation, so it will be a little different from the old site.

The provisional development plan presented by Raines included a 36’x40 ‘front section of the building, which would include a reception area; adoption / playroom; desks; a toilet ; an examination room; a mechanical room; and a room for cats.

The middle section has space for 40 kennels with ‘dog doors and exterior access’ to dog pens which will be’ covered with translucent panels so they feel like they are outside but still protected from the elements, ”said Raines.

The rear section has been proposed to have two additional office spaces, a puppy room and a storage room. It was then decided to move the cat room to the back and to move the desks to the front.

During a presentation of about half an hour, Raines asked the Commissioners for their comments on various technical aspects of the design, including the parking lot; landscaping; material for kennels; plumbing; lighting; and heating and cooling. Daniels said they wanted to make sure the animals are “comfortable” while providing good air circulation.

Raines also asked what size of an enclosure they wanted for the cats. Commissioners said they would let it be known, and at that point Britton suggested moving the cat room to the back of the building. Duncan said keeping the cat room up front would allow visitors to avoid crossing the kennels to get to the cat room, but Britton said he was concerned about “controlling the odor” .

Raines said he would make the recommended adjustments, while Daniels asked “how soon” they could bid on the project. Raines said he would send them the revisions as soon as they were completed, possibly before the next committee meeting.

“We have to start,” Daniels said. “We are replacing a few kennels that are well over 50 to 60 years old. We hope we never have to do this again, so we want stuff in there that will last forever. ”

“Or at least 50 or 60,” Duncan added.

Commissioners thanked Raines for his presentation, adding that there was “more to come” when it comes to the implementation of the plans.

• • •

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the commissioners voted 3-0 to approve the next annual budget with the adoption of the resolution on annual appropriations 2022.

According to Britton, the total general fund credits are $ 12,400,000 and the total non-general fund credits are $ 46,786,707.42, for a grand total of $ 59,186,707.42.

“When we were sort of going through there were a few adjustments compared to last year in the staff,” Daniels said. “Obviously, as the personnel costs have changed over the years, we’ve made some adjustments there. But I think for the most part we are satisfied that all of the departments that have requested funds have sufficient funds to meet their obligations for next year.

Duncan thanked Britton and the committee clerks for their efforts in finalizing the budget.

“They’ve been nose to nose here,” he said. “It really just happened at the critical juncture here over the last week or so, and I appreciate all the work they’re doing on that, to bring that together. There are a lot of numbers to work with and things to consider.

In another discussion:

• Daniels reminded residents of Rocky Fork Lake that they will see changes in billing for sewage use in the coming days. He said there were “more changes” to come, but they sent letters to residents informing them of the new billing system and plans to “be a little more efficient.”

“The monthly bill for sewage users in the Rocky Fork Lake area has just been sent out, and we will start sending it out on a monthly basis,” Daniels said. “We’ve been creating coupon books over the last few years, but it’s kind of a change in the system we’re working on this year.”

As previously reported, the commission voted in June to approve revised sewer use rules for all sanitary sewers in Highland County for the first time in 25 years. In addition to having to modernize the rules for the use of sewers, the Commissioners cited other issues, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid debt, increased operating costs and stress on the system due to people use “banned substances” and tap into the system without prior approval. . Daniels said in June that the county was planning to implement “a new billing system so that we can do a better job of finding out who is delinquent and who is not.”

During Wednesday’s meeting, Daniels held up a thick bundle of papers which he said were “the delinquency report on the Rocky Fork Lake Sewer Project.”

“This year, at the moment, we have $ 202,192 in defaults,” he said. “Normally once the tax invoices are printed that number will be almost halved, but we hope this new invoicing system will help us keep funds operational and manage our cash flow. “

Britton said that “since the sewer was installed there everything has been put on” resident taxes or via the aforementioned “coupon book”.

“He’s always been in pain,” Britton said. “That’s why we decided to go with this billing system, because it’s a public service, just like your electric company, your gas company, whatever. “

• Duncan introduced new Deputy Clerk Ashleigh Willey, who began working at the Commissioners’ Office on December 20th.

As previously reported, longtime clerk Nicole Oberrecht has agreed to administer the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for at least the next four years. Due to the new role of Oberrecht, Deputy Registrar Mary Remsing has been promoted to the post of Oberrecht, with Willey now replacing Remsing.

“We are happy to have her on board and look forward to working with her,” said Duncan.

• The commissioners have announced that they do not intend to meet the next two Wednesdays. The committee’s organizational meeting is scheduled for Monday January 10 at 9 a.m., followed by their first regular meeting of the year on Wednesday January 12 at 9 a.m.

In addition to the 2022 annual allocation resolution, the auditors also approved the following year-end resolutions, each by a 3-0 vote:

• An additional appropriation from funds not allocated to the county – Transfers in the amount of $ 4,000,000.

• A transfer from Transfers Out to B-00 Dog & Kennel in the amount of $ 55,000.

• A transfer from Transfers Out to the SIG N-01 project in the amount of $ 287,431.

• A transfer from Transfers Out to N-04 TEC Capital Improvement in the amount of $ 100,000.

• A transfer from Transfers Out to N-05 Capital Improvement in the amount of $ 3,000,000.

• A transfer from Transfers Out to N-22 Airport Capital Improvement in the amount of $ 82,500.

• A transfer of outgoing transfers to S-65 computer upgrades in the amount of $ 110,000.

• A transfer from Transfers Out to S-85 Child Emergency in the amount of $ 300,000.

• A transfer from Transfers Out to T-07 Victim Witness in the amount of $ 27,000.

• A budget modification within the Council of Elections budget in the amount of $ 2,239.29.

• A transfer from PA Grant to H-00 Public Assistance in the amount of $ 64,269 for TANF County’s share for 2022.

• A budget modification within Chore Services in the amount of $ 500.

• A budget modification within S-22 in the amount of $ 44,623.21. A transfer from S-22 to A-00 in the amount of $ 44,623.21 has also been requested.

• A resolution authorizing the DD Council to request the creation of a new fund, S-73 MIECHV DD / HMG TV. The fund is endowed with the following credit in the amount of $ 323.68.

• A budget modification in the Engineer’s budget, K-00, in the amount of $ 444,403.99.

• A resolution to reduce S-22, the Local Coronavirus Relief Fund by $ 74,004.12.

Four contracts were also approved, including a facility service lease with Cintas and three contract renewals at the Highland County Sheriff‘s Office: one with Global Technologies, from April 25, 2022 to April 24, 2025; a 2022 annual maintenance contract with Johnson Controls for the renewal of LP fire protection; and a 2022 renewal contract with Stanley Convergent Security Solutions, Inc.

• At the end of the regular meeting, the Commissioners entered into an executive session with Brett Geary of Clemans, Nelson & Associates to discuss compensation. No action was planned, Duncan said.