Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Highlights of the October 4 Goochland Supervisors’ meeting

In case you haven’t heard, Goochland County received two awards for excellence in its use of technology to keep citizens informed and engaged in local government. Goochland received the Digital Counties Survey Award from the Center for Digital Government for counties with populations up to 150,000. and the Governor’s Technology Award for best citizen portal.
Goochland Director of Information Technology Qiana Foote and the award.

The current board of supervisors believes that transparent government is an essential part of good government. To that end, all kinds of information is available at the county website Goochland.va.us. From the check registers and credit card statements for both county government and school division to the annual budget, certified annual financial report, citizens can see for themselves how our local government operates.

The awards are the product of the hard work of everyone in county government led by the Information Technology Department under the leadership of its director Qiana Foote. A county Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Goochland-County-VA went live recently as did a Twitter account https://twitter.com/GoochlandGovtVA to help our county better connect with citizens. These social media sites will be especially useful in times of emergency to disseminate important information.

A rabies clinic will be held On Sunday, October 16 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the corner of Sandy Hook and Fairgrounds Road. The cost is $10 per dog or cat.

“How we treat our pets is a reflection of us as a community,” Board Chair Bob Minnick, District 4 allegedly observed. His words describe a group of dedicated volunteers who plan to make that notion reality. A new animal shelter is in the works to support the excellent work of the Department of Animal Protection under the direction of Tim Clough. In addition to space to house animals “in custody” the new facility will include an adoption center funded by a public private partnership.

Junior Past County Administrator Rebecca T. Dickson previewed the work of Goochland Pet Lovers a 501 (c)3 organization. Board Chair is Tom Winfree, President Wayne Dementi.

The mission of the organization explained Dickson, is “fund raising and friend raising in support of providing the very best adoption and rescue experience for both pets-in-need and the community through an innovative public/private partnership with Goochland County.”

It was established in June, in response to community support to offer services beyond the basic state mandated core functions of the new animal shelter. Oversight of finances of the organizations will be available to the county to ensure transparent operations
The adoption center will occupy about 2,600 of the planned 12,900 square feet in the new facility. It will include a reception area to allow people to spend time in the shelter, plain view of adoptable pets, cat towers, and construction of “shell space” for an eventual for a spay neuter area. Glass rooms to allow prospective “parents” to view adoptable pets on off hours is also planned. The expected total cost is $4.8 million, including the estimated at $1.5 million for the adoption center.

Dickson requested county support of an initial $50,000 in seed money for Goochland Pet Lovers, and an additional $100,000 in capital funds. Startup costs for the organization could include retention of professional fund raising support and creation of promotional materials. She also requested in-kind assistance from the county to include meeting space and clerical and technical support.

The GPL board, said Dickson, includes an attorney and a CPA, as well as many local philanthropists. Special fund raising events are planned. The supervisors appropriated the initial amount and the approved the capital contribution—to be made when GPL funds are fully raised—and whole-heartedly endorsed in-kind support.

According to County Administrator John Budesky, the animal shelter, whose construction is expected to go to bid early next year, was designed to be built in phases so the adoption center can be built at a later time if funds are not in hand at the outset.

Dementi said that the GPL board is in the final stages of securing its tax deductible status, adding members, and putting its “game plan” together. He expects that the bulk of fund raising will occur in 2017, starting in late winter.

As FLAG, the local volunteer rescue organization that had rescued more than 3,500 pets in its 30-year history, is shutting down, the proposed adoption center is good news. Dementi said that GPL has reached out to FLAG and is still in discussions.

Collaborating with a local non-profit to fund a useful enhancement for the county’s animal protection department is an ingenious approach to a better Goochland.

The supervisors went into closed session to discuss the assignments and performance of the county attorney.

At the end of their afternoon session, the Board toured the nearly complete renovations of the Department of Community Development space on the first floor of the administration building. The wide hallway left over from the building’s first life as a high school will now be used for office and other work spaces. A new customer service center providing one stop assistance, and large conference room will be nice additions to the building. Renovations are expected to be complete and the DCD moved back in by November 14.

Incorporating wide hallways into workspace will enhance operations in the Department of Community Development.

1 comment:

Doug Kinney said...

We haven't had transparency in anything since Adam and Eve hid from The Lord (Gen3:9).