Also during Thursday's meeting, the Forsyth County commission:
• Denied a request for a conditional use permit for a T-Mobile cell tower on Hyde Road, citing a failure to show the need for additional coverage or enough evidence to justify the requested setback variance, among other reasons. Residents of a nearby subdivision had opposed the tower's location.
• Adopted a policy governing the county's repurchase of sewer capacity from customers under certain criteria. The policy also allows for customers to sell capacity to others in the same basin under certain circumstances.
• Accepted a symbolic check from Keep America Beautiful for $109,174, representing money saved from the program's impact.
Note: All votes were 5-0 unless otherwise noted.
-- Alyssa LaRenzie
The Forsyth County commission gave final approval Thursday night to renewing its animal shelter contract with NALAA.
Though understanding the need to renew the deal, which expires this year, some residents challenged commissioners to began building a county-owned shelter.
"I understand that the private entity NALAA stepped up many years ago out of compassion," resident Cheryl Williams told commissioners, "but the needs of our animal population has way outgrown the ability of NALAA."
Williams said that a local animal shelter, like libraries or schools, also "speaks to the well-being and quality of life in a county."
She urged the commission to become a community that cares for all life and to build a shelter she can be proud to show her children.
Commissioners have been discussing the prospect of ending the contract with NALAA and building a facility that could be run by the county or another entity.
The commission could discuss the matter and open the design/build and operation/maintenance proposals at a work session Tuesday.
Since the existing contract expires in December, commissioners had little option other than to renew.
The approved contract is for one year with a one-year automatic renewal. The county pays NALAA $40,000 per month to operate the shelter.
County resident Betty Delman has taken exception to the price tag and the contract, which she says has no accountability for where the dollars are spent, or where animals go.
Citing figures she said she obtained through an open records request, Delman told commissioners Thursday that the fate of 16 percent of the outgoing animal was not documented during a recent six-month period.
She also disagreed with the care of the animals in the shelter, showing commissioners scale-sized papers demonstrating the size of cages in which the animals are kept.
Resident Lance White said the difficult economic times mean more animals are finding themselves without homes as owners can't afford care.
He said the commissioners' only short-term option was to renew the contract, particularly since demand for the animal shelter's service has increased.
"Now the commissioners must build a new building, so we don't have just one option," White said.
The cost to build the shelter has been a main issue for the commission, which has not found a way to fund it.
White floated a few suggestions Thursday. Among them were: using a portion of property tax; allowing residents to donate while paying their tax bills; and allowing rescue groups to help raise funding.
The commission has considered raising rabies tag fees, which are some of the lowest in the area.
Williams and resident Linda Whitaker expressed support for a fee increase to go toward a county-owned shelter.
"I would like to see this great county change for the homeless animals and to be a model for other counties," Whitaker said.