Editorial: Acceleration to solution encouraged

Jan. 25, 2014 @ 11:06 PM

Using attendance as the measure, interest wasn’t too high in the retreat of Vance County commissioners this past week.

Fortunately, we know attendance isn’t the best measuring stick. A retreat held in the middle of the workweek is about as good a way as any to get away from the public. And, holding one on a weekend date probably won’t change the attendance mark either.

Your Favorite Good Morning Newspaper still attends for its readers, however, and the report of five key goals is interesting. Two are tied to the county’s water project, another targets employment, a fourth identifies vacant buildings under county ownership and a fifth is linked to the animal shelter.

All have merit. All are good points of focus, and if executed, will help Vance County. That equates to a positive outcome from the retreat.

Commissioners could have done better with the animal shelter. The situation, as reported in Saturday’s edition of The Dispatch, is — to be kind — a struggle. It has been for a long time.

Work space for humans is cramped and conditions for animals have been investigated more than once. The place is getting by, passing code, and not much more. Commissioners are slow to invest money in a facility reportedly planned to be replaced. We’re not for argument there, but we do believe the move to a new home should be stepped up. It is overdue.

A “future home” sign and fundraising process nine months away are steps going in the right direction, just a little slow. Three more years of the current experience are three too many.

Animal lovers abound in this area. And the problems with any animal shelter will always go beyond the facility — that’s not a Vance County thing. The differences in opinion, and passion with which they are defended and fought, can arguably be compared to opinion on politics or religion. They’re strong.

Inactivity to get a new facility, and failure to bring the passions together will keep the problem in place. There’s a solution among the stakeholders, but only through rational, constructive discussion. That will be a challenge.

Commissioners are not making the animal shelter the highest priority. They’ll get no argument from us. But the route to solution needs more acceleration than it is being given.