By Jeff Gallatin
Bay Village Mayor Debbie Sutherland outlined her plan Monday to lease the current kennel site at the service garage to the Friends of the Bay Village Kennel for a three-year period, with three annual renewals for $1 annually.
The announcement came at the City Council meeting after Sutherland had made several attempts to hold a private meeting with group members to discuss operating and building a new kennel, an invitation rebuffed during an earlier, cantankerous Council meeting. Council eventually tabled discussion, with President Paul Koomar asking the mayor and Friends to make one more attempt to meet.
After Sutherland’s announcement Monday, Friends board member Nancy Brown asked Sutherland if she could send copies of the mayor’s proposal to the other board members for review. After the meeting, Brown said she was surprised by Sutherland’s announcement and said the Friends board most likely would not be able to discuss it until after the first of the year.
“It’s hard to get people and their schedules together during the holiday season,” Brown said. She declined to register a personal reaction to the mayor’s proposal, saying she wanted to discuss it with the other board members.
In addition to leasing the current site, Sutherland said the proposal would incorporate enough land into the site footprint to accommodate a new building, driveway and parking. She noted water, sewer, electric and gas lines are already available on the site and proposed that all utilities be paid by the nonprofit group. Sutherland said the city will construct a new driveway and parking area, once construction plans are finalized.
In the proposal, Sutherland said the Friends can operate the kennel at its expense, saying it would be as they see fit as long as local and state laws and regulations are obeyed. Sutherland indicated in her plan the city should be held harmless in the event of any animal or human injuries at the kennel or on the kennel property. Sutherland’s other requirements are that the kennel will have “room at the inn” for any stray animals brought to the kennel by members of the city police department and the Friends must have a certificate of insurance for the kennel.
Afterwards, Sutherland said she felt the disagreement at the previous meeting could have been avoided.
“I could have handled it better, City Council could have handled it better and the Friends could have handled it better,” she said.
Sutherland said she also was open to negotiating different points of the proposal.