ELIZABETHTON — The Carter County Commission took a step Monday evening that could lead to the transformation of the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter from a government entity to a nonprofit private organization.
The vote was to approve a notice to the Elizabethton City Council, the county’s partner in operating the shelter, of the county’s desire to change the makeup of the shelter’s organization. The county commission meeting was held electronically on Zoom and many City Council members, including Elizabethton Mayor Curt Alexander and Elizabethton City Manager Daniel Estes, participated.
The meeting was also attended by members and directors of the Johnson City and Washington County Animal Shelter, which has lengthy experience as a nonprofit.
The successful motion would inform the City Council of the county’s intention to work toward the transformation of the shelter to a 501c3 nonprofit in about 16 months. It also specified that the county would continue to fund the organization at a minimum of $225,000 per year.
The Commission approved the motion by a vote of 19-5, with Commissioners Robert Acuff, Mike Hill, Sonja Culler, Kelly Collins and Thomas Proffitt voting against it.
There was concern raised by county attorney Josh Hardin that the operation of the shelter is currently covered by a joint agreement between the county and the city, and that the the county must work with the city in making any changes from the current agreement. Mayor Alexander also expressed the need for coordinated action with the city and the shelter’s board of directors.