By Rebekah Martin
The Opelika City Council will continue its long-standing relationship with the Lee County Humane Society to handle the city’s animal control services. The formal decision was reached at Tuesday’s council meeting after city administrator Joey Motley and director of the Solid Waste Department, Terry White, met with Elizabeth Mueller, LCHS president and its board of directors. The city budgeted approximately $77,000 for the services provided by LCHS.
“We had a great meeting with the Lee County Humane Society … There has been breakdown of communication over the past few years, but we have that all worked out and we feel good about the meeting,” Motley said. “They brought a lot to the table to offer.”
The council passed a resolution approving the continuation of the city’s stray animal contract with LCHS, with a contingency clause that states if the humane society reaches full capacity and can not house any more animals, those animals will be accepted by Drs. Buddy Bruce and Gary Hunt at Animal Health Center and Opelika Animal Hospital, respectively. The two local veterinarians, who currently hold Lee County’s stray animal contract, were the topic of discussion at the previous council meeting after bidding for the city’s contract. They will now handle the overflow of strays brought to LCHS, and the humane society will reimburse the city for the cost of housing those animals at private vet clinics.
Council president Eddie Smith praised Motley and White for their efforts. “I think what we have here is a pure example of how democracy is supposed to work. People came here, told us they wanted it different, we sat down and worked it out and now we’re going to do it,” Smith said.
Mueller praised the city council for allowing LCHS to continue to serve Opelika. “We wanted to be here tonight to thank you, the council members and the mayor for giving us an opportunity to meet with Mr. White and Mr. Motley, to renew and renegotiate our long-standing contract with Opelika animal control. We had a really positive meeting and they cleared up some misunderstandings and miscommunications and helped us get a clearer picture of Opelika’s animal control concerns and needs. We are looking forward to an improved and stronger partnership with not only the city of Opelika, but its citizens as well.”
The council also heard an update from Aaron Fortner on the quickly-approaching Carver-Jeter initiative that is slated to begin its implementation next month. Fortner said the art installation day, that will begin the process by painting four intersections in the Carver and Jeter neighborhoods, is slated for Oct. 10. “This comes right out of the master plan, and we are going to be able to see it come to life on Oct. 10, so I would encourage you all to come by that morning … I think we will be able to look back and say that was an important day.”
In other business the council:
-Presented a proclamation to Luanne Helms, organizer of the upcoming “Angels Riding for Autism” event to take place tomorrow at Spring Villa Park, naming Sept. 19 “Angels Riding for Autism” day in Opelika.
-Heard a report from city administrator, Joey Motley about the 2016 FY city budget.
The Opelika City Council will meet again Oct. 6.