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City officials unveil 2012 priorities

ALBANY, Ga. -- Creating a city safe for its residents is again the Albany City Commission's top priority for 2012 with economic prosperity and marketing following in close proximity, officials say.

The list of 2012 priorities has been released following the board's annual retreat with city department heads this week at the Resort at Lake Blackshear near Cordele.

City Manager James Taylor said Thursday that he's promised the commission that he and his staff will create more precise definitions for the priorities, metrics to judge how well the staff is meeting those priorities and goals for how the staff intends to carry those priorities into 2012 and beyond.

"We have to do a better job defining our priorities," Taylor said. "We can talk about eradicating poverty, but that's such a broad and far-reaching topic, its hard to ever see if you're really making any progress.

"What we want to do is put together a better document in 2012 than we had in 2011.... it will be our first attempt to make (the priorities) quantifiable, executable and feasible."

The top priority is "Safe Community," followed by "Economic Prosperity," then "Marketing the city of Albany for the future," "Infrastructure Development," "Leadership and Workforce Development," and "Social Prosperity."

From his perspective, Taylor said that he believed the retreat, which allowed staff members to interact with commissioners for the first time, went well.

"The truth is, we're a team," Taylor said. "A team of elected officials. A team of staff members and a team of citizens. We all have to work together or we can fail, it's really as simple as that."

Taylor says that there are several initiatives that are in the pipeline for 2012 that he believes are important for economic development.

The first is the expansion of sewer lines out Philema Road and into Chehaw Park. That would allow, Taylor said, for Chehaw to advance their master plan, Albany and Dougherty County residents to potentially hook on and would improve the sanitary sewer situation in that part of the county.

The second would be to expand the sewer and infrastructure around the Walmart in East Albany. As a growing corridor, Taylor said that improving the infrastructure in that area would be one way to entice new businesses to an area that is seeing a lot of new retail activity.

Taylor also said that its his goal in 2012 to begin chipping away at the city's anti-business perception. Plans are in the works, he says, to invite local business owners to the civic center to air grievances with city policies they view to be hurting small business so that he and the staff can begin finding alternatives.

"We've got to get them involved so that we can become business friendly," Taylor said. "I want as many as we can get down there, even if I have to feed them, to start the dialogue."

Finally, Taylor said that the city has to take a hard look at the proliferation of non-profits in Albany that are using city resources but are exempt from paying any local property taxes.

"Depending on where you get your number, we have between 620 and 765 non-profits in this town. Some big ones, some smaller ones, some churches...but everyone is using the city roads, the city infrastructure, they have access to police and fire service all tax free," Taylor said. "I'm not saying that we need to tax them, but we need their help. We need them to come to the table and do their part as well so that the taxpayers aren't the only ones shouldering the burden."

As city manager, Taylor's job is to run the day-to-day operations of the city government, implementing the policies and ordinances set by the elected board of commissioners.

Comments

Spike 2 years, 9 months ago

No mention of education. Hmmmmmm. I guess that's not part of city leadership or priorities? Shouldn't it be in the top 5 or at least mentioned?

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Jack_Frost 2 years, 9 months ago

Except that the City Commission and City government have no jurisdiction on education really. That falls under the Dougherty County School System for K-12 and the state for post secondary. It's kind of nice seeing them focus on what they are supposed to for a change.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 9 months ago

I like the fact they are going to get the business owners to air their grievances. There are too many obstacles in place to open a new business here, I've come to find out.

I hope that they also look at the blight problems in all areas of the city. Not just the Heritage House. Take for example the holding pond near Sherwood Church. It is city owned yet they have done nothing with it and it is attracting all kinds of criminal element into the area. If the city is not going to use it as a pond then fill it in and cut back the trees and brush and use it as a nice green space or better yet, sell it to Sherwood if they are willing to buy it.

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TrixibelleBento 2 years, 9 months ago

That's not the City's responsibility. That lies with the County.

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 9 months ago

"Chipping away at the city's anti-business perception" . Somebody pinch me! I must be dreaming…No wait I have heard this song many many times before.

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dingleberry 2 years, 9 months ago

Jim, are you going to pull Phoebe in from the proliferation list? Remember, Joel told Jeff they would continue to pay property taxes on the Palmyra property if the merger went through. I am sure he is a man of his word since others money would be used to pay the bill. But just in case, let's post a sticky note to remind him.

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Justice4Moma 2 years, 9 months ago

StrongNow if we can just get our Elected Officals to do what they say! If All of our Officals would stop trying to make Freinds in there Jobs,and just do there Jobs we might have a chance.But then when they dont do as they should we have no one to Defend,or try to convict them of wrong doings because they are all Freinds of each other.I would like to knoiw just how much such things like that have come up,and how much money was spent on it.It like everyone has a conflict of intrest and cant do there jobs because this one is friends of this one,or this one works with this one,or my FAV."I work with these people so it would be a conflict of intrest for me to hear this case"(From a Judge i will not name.)When you were sworn in,we did not swear in your Friends also. The Justice System here needs to be fixed bad.And if you do wrong no mater,if you are a Judge,City Att,Policeman,or Comissioner.The Law is for everyone to follow.And if not take your punishment,because that Conflict of Intrest thing has gone to far,and no telling how much money it has costed the Tax payers. Most of us have jobs we go to everyday.And if we dont do our Jobs,then we can be fired. That needs to go for everyone in all parts of Govt.But we will all be watching to see if you all do your jobs.Or try to pass the Buck,OUR BUCKS. By the Way,we have some nice meeting rooms in Albany that could have used that money you all gave to the Resort at Lake Blackshear near Cordele.

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