County commissioners alter animal control

Other happenings at the Vance County Board of Commissioners meeting last week:

* The commissioners voted to amend the animal control ordinance. Under the amendments, animals must be able to seek relief from extreme temperatures. According to County Manager Jerry Ayscue, the new version of the ordinance should make it easier to prosecute violators.

A Vance County Humane Society representative told the board that the society wishes to return next month with further revisions. For example, the representative said the word “neuter” had been left out of the requirement that animals be altered when leaving the shelter. She also raised the issue of who is responsible for animal cruelty investigations.

* The Rev. Todd Hester of Cotton Memorial Presbyterian Church gave a presentation to the board on Boys & Girls Clubs of America for the purpose of securing the commission’s support. Hester is vice president of the Boys & Girls Club Steering Committee, which is trying to start a club in the Henderson area by August. The board unanimously voted to support the effort.

* A public hearing was held on the Julia Avenue project’s closeout. The Julia Avenue project was designed to put water and sewer service on Julia Avenue as well as rehabilitate houses on that street in the Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction. Several problems were encountered, such as extensive rock formations and gas pipes encountered where water pipes were planned to be installed, and additional expenditures were needed to resolve those issues. Three homeowners were required to contribute to the project. In total, 39 low- and moderate-income people were served by the project, with 17 of 19 targeted houses receiving improvements. Several residents who benefited from the project were present and commented favorably to the board.

* Vance County resident Scott Hughes addressed the commissioners regarding the ambulance contract with the city of Henderson. Hughes argued that based in experimentation on his part, the contract is not needed because it does not significantly reduce response times. Later in the meeting, the board voted to terminate the contract with the city as of Nov. 30 and move the ambulance to Station 3 in the county. Ayscue said there will be a review of the changes so that there is time to amend the budget if the move has budget implications.

Commissioner Deborah Brown said, “I would just hope that we will truly have a recommendation that will be favorable to the entire county.”

* The HUB Interlocal Agreement, a multicounty project to spur economic development, was accepted unanimously by the commissioners.

* Ayscue told the board that the Intergovernmental Committee plans to discuss the consolidation of government services with the city at the next joint meeting. They hope to identify services that can be combined one at a time, leading toward consolidation. The committee thinks that the effort could lay the groundwork for a unified government.