Dalton City Council is donating land to the Humane Society of Northwest Georgia, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen News.
The Humane Society had signed a 40-year, $1-a-year lease on the property about 10 years ago. It broke ground on a $1.5 million, 12,000-square-foot facility in 2017 and opened it a little more than a year later. The organization, which has been in Whitfield County for more than 40 years, had previously leased a site on Cleveland Highway.
City Administrator Andrew Parker said one hurdle [to donating the property to the HSNWGA] was that the city couldn’t legally do that “unless they provide some sort of benefit to the city.”
The City Council members asked City Attorney Terry Miller to look into the issue and he found the Humane Society does provide a quantifiable benefit to the city.
“Over the last few years, on average, they have taken in over 770 stray animals, cats and dogs, each year,” he said. “Through our service delivery agreement with Whitfield County, the taxpayers of Dalton pay part of Whitfield County animal control service costs. On average, the intake of an animal at the (county) animal shelter costs about $200. So, by taking these animals and keeping them out of the county animal shelter, the Humane Society is providing a benefit of over $150,000 a year. Over a 10- or 12-year period, they are providing a benefit that exceeds the value of the property. They operate on private donations, and they can raise donations better if they can control their own destiny.”
The donation includes a reversion clause that says that if the Humane Society stops using the site as an animal shelter it will revert to the city.
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