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County officials: Merger of Rowan, Salisbury animal control not a done deal

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
A merger of the Salisbury and Rowan County animal control operations isn’t a certainty.
The Rowan County Board of Commissioners added a brief discussion of the proposed merger to the board’s agenda Monday night.
Some commissioners, including Chairman Carl Ford, were unaware of ongoing discussions about a possible merger and surprised by an article in the April 17 edition of the Post reporting the Board of Health approved an agreement to consolidate the services effective July 1.
County Manager Gary Page included an updated memo to commissioners Monday night outlining the issues with animal control.
Commissioner Chad Mitchell, who serves on the Board of Health, said the merger is not a done deal and that the commissioners and the Salisbury City Council have to vote on the issue.
Mitchell said the city is offering to give the county $60,000 the first year, $30,000 the second year and $15,000 the third year to help with costs. As part of the agreement, the county would have to hire the city’s animal control officer.
Currently, the county provides animal control services for Rowan’s other nine municipalities. And all animals picked up by Salisbury are taken to the county animal shelter.
Mitchell suggested the Salisbury offer is a good deal for the county, since Salisbury could simply stop providing the service, letting it fall to the county without any financial assistance. Mitchell noted the city isn’t required to provide animal control.
Ford pointed out the county doesn’t have to provide animal control, either.
Page noted that county staff is OK with the proposal to merge operations.
A decision is expected prior to July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.
In further discussion of animal control issues, Commissioner Tina Hall questioned the Health Board’s proposal to limit public viewing of the gassing of dogs and cats.
The Board of Health approved a moratorium on letting people watch animal euthanasia at the shelter while a committee develops a policy to limit public viewing.
It is in part a safety issue for employees, county officials say. In the memo, Page said part of the purpose would be to “decrease exposure of the shelter staff to constant harassment from citizens.”
Mitchell said he has recommended the viewing policy come to the Board of Commissioners for a vote, although it is not required.
In another matter, the board approved buying $40,254 worth of furniture from Church Outlet to furnish two new courtrooms set to open in mid-June.
Church Outlet of High Point submitted the lowest price among three companies.
Responding to questions, Page said the new courtrooms and re-opening of the front doors of the courthouse will occur at the same time.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254.

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