The Cherokee Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to accept the $201,300 grant from the Stanton Foundation, a national philanthropic organization, with $183,000 of that money to be used for an expert study of the intake issue.
County Manager Jerry Cooper told commissioners during the meeting that the Cherokee Animal Shelter takes in about 2.5 animals for every 100 residents in the county. That number is high compared to nearby counties such as Cobb and Gwinnett, which take in about one animal for every 100 residents, Cooper said.
“We’ve got an issue we need to study and potentially address in the future,” Cooper said.
Cherokee Animal Shelter Director Sue Garcia said the more rural nature of Cherokee County compared to the other counties is her best guess for what causes the high numbers.
Garcia said staff at the shelter has worked to combat the issues, but it is hoped the grant will help find a way to keep the county facility sending out more animals to adoption than are coming in.
“We need to find a way to start lowering those (intake) numbers,” she said Wednesday. “The winter’s not too bad, but during the summertime we definitely get overcrowded.”
Garcia said the expert will be paid out of the $183,000 and will be able to use anything above their fee to develop community outreach programs encouraging adoptions.
“We already have some programs in place they’ll probably expand on,” she added. “The more help we can get, the better.”
Commissioner Jason Nelms said during the meeting Tuesday he wanted to thank the Stanton Foundation for the “sizable donation.”
Commissioner Harry Johnston credited Garcia with working to get the grant.
Also, during the meeting Tuesday, the Board of Commissioners:
• Voted unanimously to make a budget amendment of $33,000 to account for money the county received in a car insurance claim from an accident with a Cherokee Sheriff’s deputy and a resident, who Cooper said was at fault. $23,000 of the money was to be used to replace the patrol car;
• Unanimously approved an annual contract with Parker Traffic Markings for road stripping and other markings as needed. The county has budgeted $75,000 for such work, Cooper said;
• Voted unanimously to approve a purchase of a roller machine for the Roads and Bridges department for $80,750 from low bidder Reynolds-Warren;
• Voted unanimously to approve a resolution to appoint county officials who can field information requests through the Open Records Act. They include directors of the Marshal’s office, E-911, Fire & Emergency Services, Community Development, Public Works, Elections & Voters Registration, Tax Assessor’s office, Finance, Human Resources, Senior Services, Parks and Recreation, Information Technology and the clerk of the Board of Commissioners;
• Unanimously approved submitting a continuation application for a “Stop Violence Against Women Act Criminal Justice System Improvement” grant in the amount of $70,000;
• Unanimously approved the fiscal 2015 GDOT grant application in the amount of $563,580 in operating expenses and $188,828 in capital costs associated with a Cherokee Area Transportation System program. Cherokee County’s obligation will be $281,790 in operating expenses and $18,883 in capital costs;
• Voted unanimously to approve a one-time payment of $25,000 to the Cherokee Office of Economic Development for marketing purposes; and
• Unanimously approved a purchase order to the highest rated-bidder Flint Equipment Company in the amount of $141,116 to buy an excavator for the Roads and Bridges department and authorize a trade of a used excavator.