By JOHN SCOTT COOPER, Staff Writer
City Manager Raphel Maddox informed Waycross city commissioners Monday that city management is preparing to appoint an interim animal shelter director working with volunteers to maintain daily operation of the city’s stray animal shelter.
“The Blackwell Street center will continue to operate,” Maddox said, in the aftermath of the Okefenokee Humane Society giving up its control of the facility last month.
The Waycross City Commission met in its planning and information session Monday with a plan to discuss the “future of animal control” in the city.
The discussion began a little earlier than planned when Dr. Craig Kubik stopped by to complain about the “escalation” of conflict between the city, Ware County and the Okefenokee Humane Society.
“When I was last here, I thought everyone was working for the best solution,” Kubik said. “Now, I’m not sure. The agreement (between the city and humane society) was signed in 2011. Did anyone ask for financial reports before now?”
The humane society has recently decided to ease out of operating the animal shelter on Blackwell Street, its board members unhappy with what they feel were attacks by city officials. A singular main contention was that the society had failed to file monthly financial reports.
Mayor John Knox said Monday that he, nor any commissioner, has called for an end to the shelter management by OHS.
“I’ve always thanked the humane society and the Friends of the Humane Society for what they were doing,” Knox said. “I don’t know about before, but surely you can’t fault us for finding out no reports were being made and calling for reporting.”
Kubik responded that, while he is not on the OHS board, he is concerned about pets and unhappy with what is going on. And, he thought the humane society had responded to the city by turning in a report and promising to report in the future.
Also on Monday, the city manager invited commissioners to attend the groundbreaking of Waycross Fire Station No. 4, 701 Haines Ave., Friday at 10 a.m.
Maddox also informed the commissioners that staff is preparing a spring visit to about half of the companies in the Waycross-Ware County Industrial Park. Visits to the other companies will be planned for the fall.
The city manager apprised them of a May 10 meeting with Ware County commissioners, Ware County Board of Education members, the city and state officials for lunch and a discussion of the legislative session that will have then been completed.
In addition to recognizing the March employee of the month, Darius Perry, of the public works department, and declaring surplus property to sell, commissioners will vote today in a 5 p.m. meeting on resolutions to: hold the April 17 commission meeting at the City Auditorium, submit an application for a 2018 Community Development Block Grant for neighborhood revitalization and amending the 2017 Northside Urban Redevelopment area, adding the Bunn Building to the residential properties in the district.
The April 17 regular meeting is being moved to the City Auditorium because it is during Georgia Cities Week, and among the activities of the week will be recognition of elementary school art competition winners. The gathering of students, parents and school officials makes a crowd too large for the City Hall commission chamber.