Commission tables grant for pet spay, neuter services


BUCKHANNON — The Upshur County Commission on Thursday tabled a funding request from a local nonprofit organization whose aim is to control the number of unwanted animals in Upshur County.

Samantha Atchinson, vice president of the Animal Outreach Project, addressed the commission at its weekly meeting, seeking matching funds for a $10,000 grant it received this year through the West Virginia Department of Agriculture Spay and Neuter Assistance Fund.

Atchinson said the nonprofit group blossomed in 2015 out of the desire to provide financial assistance to people who otherwise might not be able to afford to spay, neuter or vaccinate their pets. The nonprofit also maintains a pet supply bank filled with food and other necessities.

Over the past year, the organization was successful in obtaining several grants, the largest of which was the $10,000 one from the state department of agriculture.

“We received a $10,000 grant and we needed to match that with $9,500 through other grants, donations and fundraising,” Atchinson said. “Our request from you today is to utilize some of the county’s spay and neuter fund to further our goals of helping the number of unwanted pets in our community. We understand the funds have been used before for other groups.”

“We are requesting that you match our $10,000 grant out of the $48,000 spay and neuter department fund,” she added. “This will allow us to help even more pets and animals in our community.”

Upshur and Lewis counties maintain a joint spay and neuter fund, which contained $48,578.57 as of the end of June, county administrator Carrie Wallace said Thursday.

Atchinson said the Animal Outreach Project has assisted with operations for 234 animals thus far in 2018.

Commission president Sam Nolte asked Wallace if the county has made similar contributions in the past. Wallace said the county has paid up to $1,000 directly to veterinarians’ offices for spay and neuter operations in the past.

Wallace also said the Lewis County Commission would likely have to agree upon the expenditure, as the spay and neuter fund is a joint one linked to the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility.

Commissioner Troy “Buddy” Brady made a motion to table the request until the commission has a chance to consult with Lewis County and review its own finances.

Nolte agreed, saying, “We probably need to check with Lewis County and make sure they’re on the same page before we vote on anything.”

Commissioner Terry Cutright seconded Brady’s motion, which passed unanimously. Wallace recommended the group make a similar presentation to the Lewis County Commission, which meets Monday at 9 a.m.

Before adjourning, the commission also:

* Accepted two separate bids from Jenkins Ford for two county vehicles: a sedan ($25,162) and an SUV ($28,160).

* Adopted an order for the refinancing of the construction and renovation of the Upshur County E911 Center. The order also authorizes the execution and delivery of a base lease and sublease between the county commission and the Upshur County Building Commission with regard to the lease revenue bonds the building commission is issuing to refinance the 911 project and approves the building commission’s designation of the bonds as qualified tax exempt obligations.

* Approved a request from WVU extension agent Craig Presar asking for the use of the large pavilion on Monday, Sept. 17 for an Upshur County CEOS celebration picnic, free of charge.

* Approved orders to approve the number of election officials, election commissioners, and sets of emergency absentee voting commissioners for the Nov. 6, 2018 General Election.

* Approved the reappointment of Robert Wright to the Hodgesville PSD Board of Directors; his term will expire Aug. 5, 20224.

* Approved Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility volunteers Carol Cook and Faina Reasons.

* Approved a request from Upshur County Youth Camp director Greg Woody asking for the termination of Gavin Haymond, seasonal youth camp employee, effective Aug. 3.

* Received a proclamation by Gov. Jim Justice, declaring that the unexpired term of office for justice of the W.Va. Supreme Court of Appeals be filled by voters through an election held in conjunction with the Nov. 6 General Election. 

*Received a letter from Dr. John Mathias, former medical director of the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department, recommending that members of the county commission direct concerns and/or questions regarding the Living in Good Health Together harm reduction program to infectious disease specialists and public health experts.

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