Dougherty County considers speed hump policy models

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY -- Dougherty County Commissioners are considering a proposal from public works staff that would create a traffic calming policy in the unincorporated areas designed to slow traffic in subdivisions plagued with speeders.

The policy models one adopted by the city last year, but with a few changes, Public Works Director Larry Cook said.

The policy generally allows for concerned neighborhood residents to ask the county to do a traffic and engineering study to determine if the subdivision or block meets the requirements to go ahead with a petition.

The petition would require signatures of a certain percentage of the neighbors in the affected area -- either 80 percent or 60 percent depending on the severity of the speeding.

Once the petition is gathered, it would be verified and then be sent to the county commission for approval, Cook said.

Under Cook's proposal, if the commission approves the petition, a work order and cost estimate would be produced and sent to the neighborhood and once payment is received, construction would begin.

It was that portion of the proposal that drew the most discussion Monday, as commissioners debated fiscal responsibility with fairness to those in the neighborhoods who wouldn't support the devices.

Cook prepared three options for payment of the devices, which typically average about $2,500 each.

The first option would require the neighborhood members to pay 100 percent of the cost of the speed humps.

The second option splits the cost 50/50 between the county and the residents with the third option putting the financial burden completely on the county.

Of concern are those people who don't support the traffic devices but would be obligated to pay for them.

"Everyone on the block of a neighborhood would benefit so the neighborhood should pay," Commissioner and Public Works Committee Chairman Jack Stone said.

"I just have a real problem imposing a fee or charge on people who didn't think it would be a good idea," Commissioner Lamar Hudgins said. "It seems like it would be some kind of penalty."

The city policy, which is the basis of the county policy, requires the neighbors to pay 100 percent of the cost of the speed humps or tables but gives the residents a six-month window to fork over the money.

So far, there is only one neighborhood that has had speed humps installed based on the city policy.

Those temporary speed humps on Lullwater Drive are set to be removed next month for non-payment.

That is when, according to city officials that the six-month-window is set to expire.

After discussion by commissioners Monday, it seemed as though they were interested in assuming the cost of the devices given that it was a public safety issue, if they could include it on the upcoming 1 percent sales tax referendum.

"I think we should consider paying for them ourselves as long as the funds are available," Commissioner Gloria Gaines said. "Once they're gone, then it would be the responsibility of the citizens to raise the funds somehow."

There are currently two areas that have expressed interest in the use of speed humps, officials say. The first is in Commissioner John Hayes' district and the second is in Hudgins'.