No Contract, No Problem

With the current agreement for Loudon County to continue housing Blount County animals expired as of June 30th, Blount County still doesn't have a place to take their stray and unwanted animals. Loudon County has been taking the Blount animals for more than two years now while all the time Blount County was supposed to be preparing to handle their own animal control. The original agreement was supposed to be for six months or so. Blount County broke ground on a new shelter more than a year ago but has run out of money to complete the project. Doyle Arp had assured commissioners back in December that the new Blount shelter would be open long before July.

Loudon County has been receiving $4,000.00 from Blount County to take their animals. This has hardly covered the additional costs for the Loudon County Animal Shelter whose budget has gone up dramatically.

Loudon County's last vote on housing Blount animals was only thru June 30th and the commission has not voted to extend that contract. However, according to the story below:

"Loudon County officials said that approving a temporary extension of the arrangement will not be an issue."

Not sure which "Loudon County officials" have the authority to extend any contracts without commission's vote but apparently someone does. Who are these mysterious "Loudon County officials" who can over ride a vote of the commission? County commission will not have another voting meeting till August but apparently Loudon County will continue to house Blount animals with no contract.

Blount County Mayor Jerry Cunningham to seek $300,000 from County Commission to finish animal shelter

By Joel Davis of The Daily Times Staff
Blount County Mayor Jerry Cunningham is going to ask the Blount County Commission to approve spending about $300,000 from rainy day funds to complete the first phase of the new animal shelter.

"We think we can get it up and running on a bare-bones basis," he told members of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce during a briefing on the state of the county Tuesday.

The shell of the shelter is complete, but problems with bids for the work needed to make it operational have pushed back the projected opening date, which had been today.

"Animal control has been the most thorny issue I've had to handle," Cunningham said. "... In retrospect, I wish we had contracted with Maryville, but that's water under the bridge."

Animal control has been a problem since the previous County Commission declined to continue funding a contract with Maryville for animal control services. County residents protested when the services stopped, Cunningham said.

"People were furious," he said.

The Loudon County Commission is accepting Blount's stray animals at the Loudon County Animal Shelter for $4,000 a month. The arrangement was set to expire Monday, but Loudon County officials said that approving a temporary extension of the arrangement will not be an issue.

The Blount County animal center is set to open in three phases. Phase I consists of operational kennels and limited office space. The animal shelter is being built behind the Boys and Girls Club, 241 Currie Ave, in Maryville.

The county has been involved in a public-private partnership to build the new shelter. The Smoky Mountain Animal Care Foundation has been raising funds for the effort.

"(President) Chris Protzman and SMACF have been a tremendous help getting us where we are," Cunningham said.

The estimated cost to build the facility as designed is $1.6 million. The County Commission previously appropriated $430,000, which included $80,000 raised by SMACF and $350,000 in seed money that the commission authorized in 2007 that allowed the core of the facility to be built. The organization also was able to bump up the initial direct funding by an additional $20,000 because of a timely grant from the Charles and Susan Fouche Foundation. It has also brought in approximately $325,000 to $350,000 in 'in-kind' donations for the shelter.