JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – The Campbell County Commission and the Friends of Campbell County Animals group appear set to finalize a contract next Tuesday that will guarantee that FCCA continues to operate the county animal shelter for the next five years. A final vote on the contract, along with resolutions approving the 2022-23 budget and property tax rate, will be on the agenda for a recessed commission meeting on Tuesday, June 28 at 6:00 p.m.

The commission met for less than a half hour on Monday, approving routine matters, a handful of budget amendments and spending resolutions before recessing until next week. The Animal control committee then met on Tuesday afternoon to finalize a 22-page contract that sets out the responsibilities for both the county and FCCA, including both a $40,000 appropriation to purchase a new animal control vehicle and a monthly payment to FCCA of $31,666.66 for operating the shelter and animal control operations.

That monthly payment will increase automatically by 3 percent each year for the length of the contract, with the final monthly payment in year five increasing to $35,641.11. The contract also allows FCCA to charge fees from any parties “public and private including municipalities” located in Campbell County.

The animal control meeting grew contentious at times, with obvious friction between animal committee chairman Dewayne Baird and member Scott Kitts. Kitts offered the motion last week to meet the FCCA demand for an annual payment of $380,000. Baird had earlier negotiated a maximum county offer of $325,000, but Kitts’ motion would make up the $55,000 difference from the county’s undesignated fund balance.

Baird’s patience with Kitts ran thin as the meeting went on, at one point while Baird was asking a question of FCCA attorney Terry Basista, Kitts interjected with a comment.

“Do you have a revision?” Baird asked. “Just talking,” Kitts replied. “Do you have a revision,” Baird tensely repeated. Kitts indicated no with Baird then closing off with “Then let’s move on!”

When the contract review reached the monthly payment section, Baird voiced his discomfort with the extra $55,000. “We are taking the $55,000 from the fund balance this year, but what about after that. Where do you get the funding after year 1?” Baird asked Kitts.

“I won’t let you put me on the spot. We’ll come to that when we get to it,” Kitts replied.

Baird then pointed out his view that its fiscally unwise to commit expenditures without a funding source. When Kitts tried to interrupt, Baird’s patience ran out. “I’ve got the floor, you need to be quiet. When I buy a car, I’m going to want to know how I’m going to pay for it,” he told Kitts, adding, ” Without a tax increase how are we going to pay for it. That’s reckless spending.”

Kitts shot back, “You’re a banker, I’m a junk man. When the time comes, when I’m elected again, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

The back and forth between Baird and Kitts continued until Commission Chairman Johnny Bruce interjected, saying “We’ve discussed this long enough. We need to go ahead and vote.”

With that, Kitts made a motion to approve the contract as written, with Tyler King seconding the motion. Kitts, King, Bruce and Zachary Marlow all voted to approve the contract while Baird voted “No” as it passed 4-1 and will now be voted on by the full commission next Tuesday. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 06/22/2022-2PM)

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