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Advocates and opposition to animal control speak at Johnson County commission meeting

The Johnson County Commission presents Lois Snyder, the widow of Jim Snyder, with a service award and plaque for his years of service to the community.
The Johnson County Commission presents Lois Snyder, the widow of Jim Snyder, with a service award and plaque for his years of service to the community.

By Bonnie Davis Guy

The April county commission Meeting came to order with 14 commissioners in attendance. Many department heads were also present to answer any questions the committee may have regarding the quarterly reports submitted to them. Following the opening activities of the meeting, public comments were first on the agenda. Chairman Mike Taylor asked indulgence in changing the agenda so that the commission could present the Snyder family with a plaque before the regular business of the night began.
Bill Adams and the entire commission presented Lois Snyder, the widow of Jim Snyder, with a Johnson County service award and plaque. Many family members, including children and grandchildren, were in attendance. Snyder had served on the Johnson County beer board for many years. “His commitment to the county and its people was very admirable,” said Adams.
Arthur Fenner was first on the public sign-up sheet to address the commission regarding animal control in Johnson County. Fenner described himself as a lifelong resident of Johnson County, a hunter, and active member of Doe Valley Sportsman Club.
”I am opposed to the spending of county funds for animal control in the county,” he said.  “I agree with the rabies shot law being required and enforced but not the raising of taxes to pay for a building, kennels and an officer.”
He further stated that in his opinion county money would be better spent to repair roads and other services the county provides. Fenner concluded by saying that he believed that most animal owners take care of their pets and that it’s only a small percentage of people who either abandon, abuse or allow their animals to become a problem.
Tennessee senate candidate Tony Shipley was next on the agenda to address the commission. Shipley said he merely wanted to introduce himself to those he had yet to meet. According to Shipley, it is his intention to meet personally with each commissioner as well as city councilmen. He said he had already met with the school board last week and was making every effort to talk with as many folks as he could.
“I have always believed that any government works best when it stays close to the ones it governs,” said Shipley.
The commissioners broke for a very short executive session and upon their return quickly approved the March minutes. Committee reports were then discussed and the commissioners had the opportunity to ask questions regarding the reports. Jason Bennett, an engineer working on the airport resurfacing project for the Johnson County airport, explained the project is at a standstill as the asphalt bid from Maymead exceeded the grant monies for the project by an estimated $60,000. According to Bennett, the reason the monies were over the bid was because standard Tennessee Department of Transportation grade asphalt was not allowed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA required mix is much heavier grade and is much more expensive. Unless additional funds can be secured, the project will remain at a standstill. Patching, re-sealing and other options are also being reviewed. A motion was made to approve the quarterly reports as a group and an all yes vote was received.
Charles Meadows and Al Grader both had signed up to be on the commissioners’ agenda in regards to animal control. Chairman Taylor reminded both gentlemen that the commission had met with them on Monday for over an hour to discuss the issue, so they would be held to a three-minute time limit. According to Meadows, he had placed his name on the agenda a couple of weeks prior to Monday’s meeting. He went on to say animal control was a huge issue for him and his neighbors.  According to Meadows, he, as well as other neighbors, have called the sheriff’s department on multiple occasions due to vicious dogs running at large, destruction of property by dogs running at large, and noisy dogs on his property late at night. He has taken the situation to court and is very much for implementation of animal control in the county.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.