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Commissioners want public input on new animal control building

Commissioner Michael Edmondson calls for the gathering of public comment before the county commission votes on blueprints for a new Animal Control shelter. The county is in the early stages of planning the facility.

Commissioner Michael Edmondson calls for the gathering of public comment before the county commission votes on blueprints for a new Animal Control shelter. The county is in the early stages of planning the facility.

— Clayton County commissioners don’t want to see designs for a new animal control shelter brought forward for approval until residents have a chance to review them and offer input.

The issue of public comment on the plans came up at a pre-meeting work session Tuesday, where commissioners were advised that they would vote later in the evening on adding the shelter to a list of projects already included in a contract with Silverman Construction Program Management.

That led to some confusion over whether the commissioners were approving blueprints for the building without a recommendation from their newly-reconstituted Animal Control Board, or input from the general public. Commissioner Michael Edmondson called on the police department to gather citizens input on the facility before bringing a final design to the county’s governing body.

Chairman Jeff Turner agreed with Edmondson and added his backing of the request.

“I would be willing to move forward on this, provided we don’t entertain the final plans without first seeing recommendations or approval from the community,” said Edmondson. “ I’m just trying to engage the community on this project.”

Talk of building a new animal control shelter has been bandied about since 2011, but county officials are still not a point where they are ready to begin construction. Designs have not yet been drawn up for the facility, but interim County Attorney Jack Hancock said a conceptual design has been created.

Silverman Construction President Arnold Silverman confirmed the animal control project was not far enough along to see plans presented to the Animal Control Board for approval.

“That would happen after we get started,” Silverman said.

But police Chief Greg Porter said the reconstituted Animal Control Board has been consulted on features that could be included in the building, as part of the conceptual design. Animal Control is a unit within the county’s police department.

“We’ve been having a dialogue with them about certain things — for example — We’ve identified office space within the building to have them hands on,” said Porter. “Not only will we be talking to them, but they will be there in the building.”

Turner said rescue groups have also requested office space at the new shelter.

The project will be funded with 2009 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds designed for public safety facilities.