County, Partners for Pets to hammer out a deal

Partners for Pets representative Vicki Fuqua talks to Jackson County Commissioners about that organization’s eagerness to get started on plans to build a new animal shelter at Endeavor.

Jackson County Commissioners all appear to agree that Partners for Pets needs a new animal shelter and are willing to make room for one on the grounds of Endeavor, the county’s newly emerging hub of economic activity.

They agreed to such an arrangement in previous action, already pinpointing a 4.4-acre site near the new headquarters of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, but board members were pulled up short by county attorney Michelle Jordan on Tuesday, with the lawyer saying details need to be on paper before the project goes forward.

Partners representatives, eager to get started on the quest for grants and other funding that could help get their structure up and running, were hoping that they had enough, on the word of the county, to go forward with land-clearing activities. But they’ll have to put those plans in idle for now.

The situation, Jordan said, is just one example of an issue that will need careful attention overall so that some general policies will be in place to guide the board in this and in additional cases where other entities begin seeking space in the 1,278-acre parcel of land once known as the home of the Dozier School for Boys.

Commissioners talked it over and directed staff to work out an agreement with Partners for Pets, and bring it back to the board for approval. It is expected to address the many unknowns, or non-inked understandings, that Jordan pointed out in a memo to the board. Those issues pertain to things like insurance and tax responsibilities, the circumstances that would need to be clarified regarding whether this would be a long-term lease of the ground or a donation of the property, as well as general regulations on what can and can’t be placed at Endeavor by a given party, the potential for agreement defaults that would need remedy, as well as other standard issues that have to be dealt with when the county enters such agreements with other parties for use of its property.

Commission Chairman Clint Pate also indicated that those big general questions may be addressed during some upcoming days that the board had expected to devote solely to budget setting activities.

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