The Upson County Board of Commissioners heard from a Safebuilt representative at their May 27 meeting before unanimously voting to terminate the agreement between the county and the company who was contracted to do building inspections for the past year. David Mundt of Safebuilt told the board the level of service the county is receiving would remain the same if they chose to stay with the company, even though the amount of inspections needed would go down. Chairman Rusty Blackston stated the change had nothing to do with the quality of work the company provides, it is merely financial reasons due to the City of Thomaston forming their own building and zoning department.
“The majority of our work, 60 percent estimated, has been done in the City of Thomaston,” said Blackston, noting much of the inspection work load comes from inspecting rental houses within the city limits. “They are going out on their own now. This has nothing to do with the service that has been provided; you (Safebuilt) have done a very thorough job. This is all going to be due to dollars and cents.”
Safebuilt took over the county inspections last February when the Building and Zoning Department was short staffed due to one employee being out for major health reasons and another resigning from the position. A three-year contract was signed last July that provided the county with three certified building officials, three master co-professionals, certified plan examiners, permit techs and a co-residential inspector. Mundt told the board that all the inspectors were also certified disaster response specialists who could provide a different type of assessment if there were to be things such as a tornado or a flood to hit the community.
The agreement with Safebuilt will officially end at the end of August and according to Blackston, the county will be looking into hiring a building inspector.
In other business, the board approved ordering new, up-to-date code books for the county with Municode. County Manager Jim Wheeless noted all codes and ordinances will be updated and reprinted, providing 25 copies to the county and the codes will be available for six months online at no additional charge. The total cost of the project is just over $8,000. Commissioner Steve Hudson asked why the board was looking into getting hard copies of the codes instead of just going with an online edition. In response, Commissioner Lorenzo Wilder stated that not everyone may have access to the codes online, so he felt it would still be a good idea to get a hard copy. Hudson made a motion to approve ordering the new books in hard copy and it was seconded by Commissioner Ralph Ellington. The board unanimously approved.
Finally, during the public comment portion of the meeting, Tami Boyle spoke to the board about extending the amount of time an animal is available for adoption at the Upson County Animal Shelter. Boyle stated that the five days total (three days for owner pickups and two for adoption) an animal is at the shelter is not long enough and asked the board to consider having an eight-business-day hold on all healthy animals that are brought in. She noted this would allow more time to get the animal photographed and placed online to possibly be adopted or sent to a rescue shelter, as well as giving owners more of a chance to reclaim pets that have wandered away.
Boyle, along with several other volunteers, has worked with the shelter to heavily market adoptable pets online, but stated it usually takes more time than the animal has. She told the board that currently, owner turn-ins of pets can be euthanized immediately and many of them are already social, friendly and spayed or neutered.
“All pets that are healthy deserve a shot to get out,” said Boyle.
Boyle presented the board with a list of ideas for improving the chances of a pet being adopted from the animal shelter, one being the formation of a citizen advisory board to help with the shelter and its policies. Last month, Chairman Blackston urged the commissioners to look at the animal control policies and to think about extending the time an animal is allowed to stay at the shelter. The board has yet to take any action, but thanked Boyle for her comments and stated they would take them under advisement.
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1