Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Oconee County Ready To Move Forward With Feasibility Study of Animal Shelter, Administrative Officer Said

RFP This Month

Oconee County Administrative Officer Jeff Benko told members of the county’s Animal Control Advisory Board last week that he expects to advertise this month for a feasibility study of improvements to or replacement of the county’s Animal Shelter.

Benko said he expected the county to open bids responding to the request for proposals in August and that the Board of Commissioners likely would award a contract at its meeting on Sept. 6.

The feasibility study will look at the current building, including its wiring and plumbing, the land on which it is built, and the surrounding land to see whether it is possible to add on or whether it will be necessary to build a new facility, either on that site or elsewhere in the county.

In other action at the meeting last week, the Board elected Tom Beacorn as chair, replacing Susan Wells, who will serve as vice chair, and Janet Calpin to continue as secretary.

South Of County

The Animal Shelter sits on just more than 6 acres at 2541 Macon Highway (U.S. 441) in the far south of the county.

Benko 7/13/2016

According to the county’s tax records, the 1,680-square-foot building was constructed in 1980.

The one-story building is valued at $88,819 and the land is valued at $98,496.

The land is next door to the old county landfill and Heritage Park.

The staff of the Animal Control Department has long advocated for a new facility, and it has been joined more recently by at least some members of the Animal Control Advisory Board in making that case.

Many have argued that the facility should be more centrally located in the county.


Benko said the feasibility study would include an assessment of the soils at the site and examine the problem of flooding of the existing facility.

The submitted bids will be reviewed by a committee, according to Benko. Members of the Animal Control Board expressed interest in being involved in the evaluation.

Benko told the Advisory Board back in February that the county would not spend the estimated $10,000 for the feasibility study until it had collected sufficient revenue in the 2015 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, which went into effect in October.

Once the county has completed the feasibility study it will begin the process of designing an expanded or new facility, Benko said.

New Member

Philip Freshley, newly appointed to the Advisory Board by the Board of Commissioners, introduced himself to his colleagues at the front of the meeting, saying he assumed he had been selected because he knew former Advisory Board member Mary Mahaffey.

In selecting Freshley, the BOC passed over eight other applicants, including several who have been very active as volunteers at the Animal Shelter.

Freshley and Mahaffey both live on Cedar Road in the far south of the county, near Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis.

Commissioner Mark Saxon said during a candidate forum this spring that the commissioners favor people they know when they make appointments to the various citizen committees.


The complete video of the July 13 meeting of the Advisory Board is below.

The meeting took place in the Community Center in Veterans Park.

Only four persons, plus Benko, were in the audience.

OCO: Animal Control Board 7 13 16 from Lee Becker on Vimeo


Anonymous said...

I hope this project does not go unnoticed by the people of Oconee County.
The obviously one viewpoint board will be making a recommendation that by-passes the dedicated volunteers involved with Animal Control.
The volunteers work at the current facility. The volunteers have background in the area of animal care-yet are disregarded to the blighted concerns of a one sided board directed by Mary Mahaffey from the sidelines. It is not where you live, it is what you do to make this a better county.
Please do not let this go without citizens input, especially supporting the views of the foster program volunteers.
I am not part of foster program but see the mis-representation.

Zippidy said...

This is good news that they may move forward with a new facility and consider its location. Sounds like progress to me.

mike streetman said...

Definitely need a new building! Build on the existing land but make sure its on a raised pad that will not flood. Build it large enough with extra space for future expansion. Cheaper to build larger now than to have to build later when prices will be more.