Johns Creek mulls options for animal control

Fulton contract squabble casts shadow on service

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Fulton County provides animal control services through a private contractor for which Johns Creek contributes $40,000. Now that Fulton County cannot reach an agreement for an extension of the contract, the city may have to look elsewhere when its agreement with Fulton expires in June.

The operator of the animal shelter has received criticism lately for its treatment of animals. The county has put out bids for other contractors but so far has had no takers.

Meanwhile, the commissioners have been split 3-3 with one abstention over whether to extend the contract.

City Manager John Kachmar said at the Dec. 10 City Council workshop that the city has been satisfied with the animal control services so far.

“Our costs have gone up by about 30 percent a month. But it is negligible compared to the cost of doing it ourselves. It is not something we would want to take by ourselves,” he said.

Meanwhile, Atlanta is thinking about pulling out of the contract when it expires Dec. 31. Atlanta is the largest contributor at $1.2 million to the contract among the cities by virtue of being the largest city. 

Meanwhile, Kachmar suggested the city explore partnering with other cities should Fulton default in providing the service.

While the cities of North Fulton have often expressed the desire to take on more services themselves rather than contribute to a county contract, animal control has never been one of those.

The City Council decided to take a “wait and see” attitude. If the contract is not renewed by Jan. 1, Johns Creek has until June 1 before it must have an alternate plan.

However, Kachmar warned it would not be prudent to wait long after the first of the year to explore options.

Public art master plan

In other business, the City Council agreed to go ahead with the next step in a plan for creating a public art master plan suggested by the Leadership Johns Creek Class of 2013.

This would involve conducting public forums to enlist citizens’ ideas and suggestions and to consult with other cities about successful public art plans they have, said Chris Pullaro of the Leadership class.

When the plan was finished, it would be posted on the city’s website for more public comment.

Wine and growler tastings

The City Council heard a proposed change to the City Code that would allow shops to have wine tastings and “growler” malt beverage tastings.

Assistant City Attorney Scott Hasty said the ordinance would allow for these stores to have tastings with a limit of two hours for tasting and as long as the stores did not sell distilled spirits.

The proposed change was based on similar ordinances in surrounding cities. The tastings would allow one tasting in a 24-hour period. The council wanted some clarification if the two-hour limit was to apply to the tasting itself or to the individual patrons.

A wine shop might want to allow tasting to various customers as it promoted its business. What Councilman Ivan Figueroa said he did not want to see is a customer lingering for an extended period of time.

Mayor Mike Bodker said “best business practices” would limit the hours of the tasting in a shop or store. And there would be little benefit to continue to offer samples to customers beyond the proposed limit of four tastings of 2 ounces.

The council asked for more feedback to consider adoption in January.