JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – The Campbell County Commission recessed its regular February meeting from last Monday until this week in order to resolve a necessary spending resolution to reopen the county’s animal shelter. Then they were forced to recess again in order to review what is possibly a better offer.

The shelter has been forced to avoid taking in animals except for strays and rescues, which are immediately farmed out to temporary foster homes or other shelters in nearby counties.

Last fall an effort to seal the shelter’s porous concrete floors and walls failed, and estimates for an adequate repair job approached $40,000. In order to move forward with a contractor and provide the necessary legal notices for emergency spending without going through a bidding process, the commission had to delay a decision until this past Monday, when the animal control committee hoped to agree on a recommendation.

Instead, the committee received still another offer from a competing business, this time a local contractor with what appeared to be a better offer.

The original estimate from one contractor would cost the county $39,800 but would only cover interior concrete floors and walls with a fresh epoxy coating after the old inferior coating is stripped away. Monday night the committee heard from the competing firm, based in Campbell County, that proposed coating not only interior floors but the exterior kennel runs, doubling the area treated, for $43,531.

Several commissioners voiced their preference for awarding the job to the local business, but agreed that an architect who has been retained to review any proposals would need time to inspect the product and make sure the county does not make the same mistake all over again.

Finance Director Jeff Marlow advised the commission that they would need to approve a motion to retain the architect at a cost of $6,600 and once they have settled on a contractor, the commission would need to pass an emergency spending resolution.

As a result the committee recessed their meeting until 6:30 p.m. this Thursday night, with the full commission recessing until immediately after the committee makes a decision in order to approve the expenditure.

The Monday night meeting wasn’t entirely in vain, however, as the commissioners were also asked to approve a motion to authorize the county’s attorney in the rock quarry controversy to take “whatever legal action might be necessary” at the law firm’s discretion.  The new quarry is near Campbell County High School.

A law partner of attorney James Wright appeared before the commission to explain that if the quarry operators decide to challenge the county’s bid to regulate them in court, the law firm needed an official vote giving them the freedom to respond without delay.

Scott Kitts made the necessary motion, seconded by Sue Nance, to authorize Wright’s firm to pursue legal action if necessary to protect the county’s interests.

The motion passed unanimously with one abstention. Carl Douglas questioned whether the quarry operators could come back with a legal claim against Campbell County if they eventually overturned the county’s resolution and sued for lost income and costs.

When the attorney replied that such liability would be up to the courts but doubted the quarry operator could recover damages under the county powers act, Douglas responded, “I hope and pray that we don’t get in that situation,” as he abstained from voting on the motion.

Mayor E. L. Morton informed the commission that the quarry operator had contacted attorney Wright about having a conference, probably by phone, with Wright and county officials on Tuesday (yesterday). The commission may learn of any results from that conversation when they meet again on Thursday. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 02/26/2020-6AM)