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Shelter, county ink deal
Setup preserved through 2010
Animal Shelter 3 es
Kittens socialize through their cage bars at the shelter. - photo by Emily Saunders

Stray animals will have a place to go in Forsyth County for at least another year.

The county commission voted 4-1 on Tuesday to continue for next year an agreement with the corporation that runs the county’s animal control facilities.

Commission Chairman Charles Laughinghouse voted against the measure because of the contract’s stipulation that the county provide an employee to work at the facility.

“There’s been some discussions today about providing a full-time clerical position, but I don’t think at this period of time we know exactly how many hours are required to provide this,” Laughinghouse said.

The corporation, NALAA, told the board in the spring that it planned to terminate its agreement with the county July 31.

Payment to the corporation goes toward maintenance and operation of the facility, which is at Orr Animal Hospital on Old Atlanta Road.

The deal calls for NALAA to receive $35,000 per month for the remainder of 2009. In 2010, the monthly fee will increase to $40,000, for a total of $480,000 for the year.

NALAA president Lanier Orr owns the facility. It houses more than 200 animals, including dogs, cats, chickens and goats.

The contract expires Dec. 31, 2010, though the county can decline the extension if it notifies NALAA in writing no later than Dec. 1 of this year.

Commissioners discussed other options, including renting the facility from NALAA and hiring a nonprofit organization or private firm to run it.

Donna Kukarola, county procurement director, estimated the cost of doing that would be about $667,000 annually and said it would be a biddable item.

She said, based on the animal control facility budget in neighboring Hall County, it could cost Forsyth about $886,000 a year to rent and operate the facility itself.

Commissioners also discussed building a new facility that could be operated by the county or another entity such as a nonprofit organization.

In addition, commissioners discussed raising the cost of rabies vaccination tags.

“We are the lowest in our cost for tags,” said Kukarola, adding that nearby counties range from $10 to $18. Forsyth County tags cost $3.

E-mail Julie Arrington at juliearrington@forsythnews.com.