Fiscal Court hires Trimble’s animal control officer

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By Phyllis McLaughlin

Project manager Tony Walker on Thursday received the certificate of occupancy for the new Henry and Trimble Animal Shelter, meaning the facility has passed all required inspections.

Henry County Animal Control Officer Dan Flinkfelt, who will co-manage the facility with Trimble’s ACO and two part-time kennel attendants, had employees and volunteers moving everything from the old Eminence shelter facility to the new digs on Sulphur Road, across from Valley View Landfill. The old shelter was leased from Kentucky Humane Society in Louisville, which had managed the facility until July 1, 2011. The deadline to vacate the facility was July 2, Flinkfelt said.

Flinkfelt and officials from both counties are planning an open house for the public at the new shelter on July 14. Flinkfelt said he hopes local businesses and craftspeople will have booths where they can showcase and sell their wares, to make it a community event. He also is planning to have inflatable bouncers for children and music by Leo Mason and his band from Eminence.

During a special meeting Thursday morning, Trimble County Fiscal Court voted to hire Susan Guzzardo of Pleasureville as the county’s ACO. Guzzardo’s salary for a flexible 40-hour schedule was set at $27,500 plus benefits. She currently works for Louisville Metro Animal Services.

Applications for the two shelter positions were reviewed during closed session held during the meeting, with the court resuming open session to vote on the candidates to hire.

“It is my understanding that Dan and Susan already have an established working relationship,” said Judge-Executive Randy Stevens. “That’s a plus.”

“There will be 100 percent cooperation, sir,” said Flinkfelt, who attended the meeting. “She will do your county proud. She has tons of experience.”

The part-time kennel attendant position, which pays $9 an hour and is limited by state law to 100 hours per month total, was offered to Angela T. Warren of Bedford, but Warren turned down the offer later that morning. Stevens said Warren declined because she had applied hoping for the full-time position.

The county will continue to accept applications for the attendant position and will re-evaluate other applications already received, Stevens said.

Following the meeting, the magistrates and Stevens met with Walker and Henry County Judge-Executive John Logan Brent for a walk-through of the new facility, which is complete except for fencing on the outdoor kennels. The fencing is expected to be installed within the next couple of weeks, Walker said, adding that all fencing inside and out was donated by Henry County Magistrate Roger Hartlage.

“It’s a fine, fine facility,” said Trimble Magistrate Kirby Melvin following the tour.

The 2,133-square-foot cinder-block building sits on 2 acres of land donated to the county by Republic, which owns and operates Valley View Landfill. The shelter includes 14 indoor-outdoor kennels; a puppy room; a kitten and cat room; a vet room, which will be used for the facility’s spay-neuter clinics; and a quarantine room. The front of the building includes an office for the animal control officers, a lobby and a handicapped-accessible bathroom.

Behind the building is a sewage reservoir, which is protected with a high fence. Plans are to fence in another portion of the acreage for larger animals that may end up at the shelter.

Total cost for the facility has yet to be tabulated, but officials believe it will be well below the $250,000 budgeted by both counties for the project. The counties’ budget included a $150,000 state-funded shelter grant.

Officials believe the final cost also will come in at less than half of the lowest bid submitted by contractors for the project earlier this year. The project was let for bidding twice, however, all bids came in at $375,000 to $584,000.

The bids were a huge disappointment to county officials, who instead opted to hire Walker as project manager to oversee construction of the facility. Walker’s salary for the project was $15,000.

Stevens quipped that he would like to invite some of the contractors that bid on the project to the open house, to show them how exorbitant their bids were.