Farmers market eclipses 3,000 patrons

ALBANY -- The organizer of the Downtown Farmers Market event here said that halfway through the summer program, 3,000 patrons have bought thousands in produce from local farmers.

David Milliner of the Southwest Georgia Food Alliance updated the Dougherty County Commission on the weekly program that allows local farmers to sell their wares near the parking deck downtown each Saturday.

"We've had some pretty good success," Milliner said. "The vendors are pretty happy, and we've had a steady flow of customers."

The program is set to end in the fall.

Bridget Mack, the director of the Family Empowerment Community Center, briefly told the commission about her group's efforts to get a nonprofit performing arts center off the ground in East Albany.

Mack said the intention of the center would be to help the public deal with life's challenges by funneling that frustration and negative energy into the performing arts.

In other action, commissioners:

-- Approved the purchase of two ambulances for the Dougherty EMS from Peach State Ambulance for $120,216 each for a total of $240,432. The bid is a piggyback bid from a March 2011 bid in which Peach State is willing to honor the original bid price without implementing a 10 percent industrywide price increase.

The ambulances will be paid for out of sales tax proceeds and were budgeted for $250,000;

-- Renewed a one-year lease with the Albany Area Community Service Board for the Mental Health Facility at 601 West 11th Avenue for $38,000;

-- Amended the county's employee retirement plan documentation to reflect eligibility requirements and payout changes made earlier in the year.

The commission will meet again on Monday, Sept. 12 at 10 a.m.