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City OKs incentives, airport funding

ALBANY -- The Albany City Commission approved items Monday that will create an incentive package to entice experienced police officers to come work in Albany and accept grant funding to complete the design and engineering work for a new airport terminal.

Earlier this month, the commission tentatively adopted Chief John Proctor's request to use existing money with the Albany Police Department budget to fund signing bonuses for those met certain criteria.

The bonuses, as much as $3,000, are geared towards attracting experienced officers who will agree to stay with the department for a three-year minimum.

The move will not increase the city's budget, Proctor said, because the money will come from within existing funds in the department.

In other action, the commission was forced to delay consideration of a resolution that would have altered funding in the city's Community Development department after the public hearing was scheduled on the wrong day.

The public hearing, which Assistant City Manager Wes Smith said wasn't necessary to the process but would be rescheduled to allow for any extra comment from the public, was originally advertised and set for Tuesday night's commission meeting. When the commission rescheduled its meeting for Monday, the ads had already run and there wasn't enough time to give adequate notice of the change, city officials say.

"There is no hearing required, but to err on the side of caution, the hearing will still be held to ensure compliance," Smith said.

The hearing will likely be rescheduled for the March 16 commission meeting, but no firm date has been set.

The commission also voted to accept grants from the Federal Aviation Administration that will pay for the completion of the design and engineering work on the airport's proposed terminal.

The money will complete the preliminary phases and facilitate construction of a new apron which is an early step in constructing the facility.

In other business the commission :

-- Approved a alcohol license transfer for R&M Grocery Store at 707 W. Highland Ave.;

-- Approved alcohol licenses for Another Place at 1502 E. Broad Ave. and T&T Variety Store at 1209 E. Residence Ave.;

-- Passed an ordinance authorizing extension of sanitary sewer lines along Westover Boulevard to serve 402, 404, 406, 408, 410 and 412 Westover Blvd.;

-- Passed a resolution exempting Downtown Market & Entertainment's Island Splash Event from the requirements of the city's open container ordinance;

-- Passed a resolution exempting the Downtown Merchant's Association's Mardi Gras festival downtown from the city's open container ordinance;

-- Passed a resolution exempting Albany Harley Davidson's St. Patty's Day Event from the city's open container ordinance;

-- Passed a resolution affirming the determination of the Albany-Dougherty Historic Preservation Commission authorizing a certificate of appropriateness for 413 Flint Ave., 307 Whitney Ave., 114 N. Jackson St. and 521 Second Ave.;

-- Passed a resolution authorizing the city's finance director to transfer $1 million of Long Term Financial Planning Committee funds to the Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission.