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City approves Windstream request, honors Panthers

Photo by JD Sumner

Photo by JD Sumner

ALBANY, Ga. -- Albany City Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to allow a high-speed Internet access provider to lay its fiber along the rights of way of a handful of downtown streets in exchange for a yearly fee.

Windstream KDL has been trying for weeks to lay the fiber along the rights of way on Pine Avenue, Washington and Jefferson in order to finish what their engineer told commissioners Tuesday was their service "loop" into an AT&T substation on Pine Avenue.

But the move didn't come without a rub. City officials didn't learn about Windstream's intentions until they were caught digging -- without the proper permits and without authorization.

It was a move that left a bad taste in Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell's mouth.

"It sounds like they broke the law and our regulations. If they did, they need to be held responsible and brought up on charges," Postell said.

City Manager James Taylor told Postell that while Windstream did attempt to install some of the fiber without authorization or permission, that, after consulting with City Attorney Nathan Davis, there appeared to be no "willful intent" so no charges were filed.

Following discussion during the commission's pre-briefing, the commission voted unanimously to allow Windstream to install the fiber.

Windstream officials say there are no immediate plans to offer service to Albany residents.

In other business, the commission passed a resolution honoring the Albany Panthers, after the Panthers crushed the Louisiana Swashbucklers to win the group's first Southern Indoor Football League Championship to cap a 21-6 record over the last two seasons.

On hand to accept the resolution was team owner Rod Chappelle, General Manager Will Carter, several players and coaches, as well as the Panther's dance line, the Felines.

Dr. Kay Kirkman, chairperson of the Albany Tree Board, and Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful Director Judy Bowles presented Patty Woodall, the director of the Willson Hospice House, with the 2011 Tree Stewardship Award.

Kirkman said that the award was bestowed based on the way that designers and developers built the facility "with the environment in mind."

The building is LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certified and is accredited through the International Audubon Society as a bird sanctuary.

The commission also approved a beer, wine and package license for the Downtown General Store and a $340,000 bid for four sewer and dump trucks from Yancey Truck Center in Albany.

Ordinances

The commission voted unanimously to rezone a piece of property located at 1018 Pine Avenue from C-2 to C-3 with conditions from the planning commission.

The commission also voted to rezone the Harvest Temple Church of God at 3005 Old Dawson Road from R-1 to C-5. During discussion, city planning officials said that Albany Advocacy Resource Center was in negotiations with Harvest Temple to use the property.

The commission unanimously voted to lock in the millage rate for the current fiscal year. The millage will stay the same.

Resolutions

The commission unanimously passed resolutions authorizing a right-of-way agreement between the City of Albany and Windstream KDL, and affirming a decision by the Historic Preservation Commission to issue a certificate of appropriateness for 617 3rd Avenue.

The commission also voted to adopt a resolution authorizing Community and Economic Development to release HOME funds to Mt. Olive Community Outreach Center, Inc.

Consent Agenda

The commission approved the following items 6-1, with Commissioner Jon Howard voting against:

- An alcohol license application for Miss B's Food Mart & Deli for 2121 Radium Springs Road for beer, package.

- An alcohol license transfer for Sungwoo, Inc., doing business as Shogun Japanese Restaurant at 629 North Westover Boulevard.

- One Day Alcohol License for the Lily Pad for a fundraiser at the Hasan Temple at 1822 Palmyra Road., August 12 at 6:30 p.m.

The commission approved a $60,000 contract with Rufus Montgomery to serve as the city's lobbyist for the next year.

And the commission voted to approve the following bids:

- $45,274 contract with HTE Software Maintenance, Sungard H.T.E., Inc., of Lake Mary, Fla.

- $163,291.50 bid to Dell Computers for Ruggedized Notebook Computers.

- $443,000 bid to Benson Construction out of Tifton for renovations to Gordon Sports Park.

- $57,942.50 contract with Reynolds Inliner, LLC., of Tucker for emergency sewer repair.

- $3,453,875 bid to Jim Hinton Oil, Albany, for fuel.

- $379,342 bid for two service trucks for Adams Equipment Co., of White Plains.