County takes over all animal services
By GORDON JACKSON The Brunswick News
The county takeover of Brunswick's animal control services is proceeding as planned with no glitches so far, said Beverly Morris, the department's director.
"There really wasn't a whole lot of preparation," Morris said. "We used to (provide the service to) the city."
The county took over animal control from the city on Tuesday as part of an agreement approved in November on how Brunswick and Glynn County would share 1-percent tax revenue for the next decade.
In return for the city accepting a smaller share of the estimated $18.3 million in annual tax revenue, the county agreed to take over Brunswick's animal control, traffic light maintenance and management of city recreation programs.
Existing staff, including Morris, are handling the extra responsibility of the city's animal control services until a new employee is hired and trained. So far, Morris said the county has only received a handful of complaints from city residents and it has not created additional problems for the department.
"I'm sure there will be some days when we are run ragged," she said. "I'm not beyond getting on the road, too, and working along side them."
The county provided animal control services to the city in the past but enough time has passed that county workers are still learning the Brunswick's roads again. Mayor Bryan Thompson said the city has been responsible for its animal control services since before he was elected more than seven years ago.
"We'll have to relearn everything," Morris said. "We haven't worked the city for so long, I wouldn't know the problem areas."
Applications for the new position are being accepted through Jan. 11, but it could be until March before Morris said the new hire is on the job.
"It's a slow process," she said.
After the applications are reviewed, the list will be narrowed and interviews will be conducted. The new employee will have to meet county hiring standards including passing a background check and drug screening.
It will take about six weeks to train the employee based on his or her past animal control experience and knowledge of the area, Morris said.
"It's a lot more than picking up animals," she said. "It's a very rewarding job, at times."
Besides learning the local roads, the new employee will have to learn county animal codes and ordinances and how to write citations.
By the time the new worker is trained, Morris said the box for the new county animal control vehicle will be built and installed on the back of an existing county vehicle.
The new employee will likely share duties with other animal control workers, so everyone will work in the city and county from time to time, Morris said.
"I want everyone to learn the city," she said. "I hope it does make a difference."