ALBANY, Ga. — Albany City Commissioners made decisions on a pair of controversial topics that have hung over the board for the last several weeks at their business meeting Tuesday night, voting initially not to allocate funding for an additional multimodal site study and later naming Dr. Frank Middleton to the city's Aviation Commission.
On a 3-3 vote — which surfaced in the absence of Commissioner Tommie Postell — the board voted down the allocation of $150,000 in funding from the current fiscal year and $125,000 in the next fiscal year to fund a study on a multimodal transportation site.
After a great deal of back-and-forth among commissioners, Mayor Pro Tem Bob Langstaff asked, at the request of Mayor Dorothy Hubbard, that the vote be reconsidered to allow for further discussion. That motion eventually carried, and the matter was tabled.
Commissioner Roger Marietta had asked that the issue be discussed further over fear that federal funding would be "lost for good" if the vote stood.
Langstaff said, "It's nice to get federal and state money, but you don't want them to lead you down a path you don't want to go."
He pointed out after the meeting that the state Department of Transportation had given assurances that the city could build the station where it wanted, only to determine its choice was not suitable.
"Any vote would be a gamble," Langstaff said. "Plus, the (transit system) transfer station used to be just a shelter, and it was fine. I don't see that we need Grand Central Station."
Hubbard said that while she welcomed further discussion on the matter, she is still opposed to funding a multimodal site anywhere but at the existing site at the old Trailways Station on Oglethorpe Boulevard.
"The people just don't want this," she said. "I've only voted for this proposal once, and I heard from my constituents then. The people just don't want this."
Langstaff suggested that the commission follow the Aviation Commission's recommendation that Middleton be approved for the vacant seat on that board, and commissioners voted 4-0, with Hubbard and Commissioner Ivey Hines abstaining, to OK the motion. Postell had caused a stir during earlier discussions of the matter when he said a black person should fill the seat of another black when he left a board.
Postell had pushed for the Rev. Ernest Davis Jr. to be considered for the post.
Commissioners also approved alcohol licenses for Billy Boy's Wings and BBQ, R&M Grocery and MLK Grocery, and OK'd a license transfer for Food Mart No. 23. The board also voted to OK a one-day license for an Easter Seals Southern Georgia fundraiser at the Veterans Park Amphitheatre Oct. 21.
The Commission also approved $125,000 in additional funding for Code Enforcement's demolition efforts, despite City Manager James Taylor's assertation that the board not "throw more money that we don't have" into the effort, and gave approval in concept to a five-year plan Taylor outlined at a work session Aug. 21.