Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell, right, explains why he believes the contract for archeological work on the multimodal site should be tabled at Tuesday’s Albany City Commission meeting. The commission voted 6-1 to table a decision on the matter for one month.
ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany City Commission avoided derailing the construction of a controversial multimodal transit center Tuesday, but did throw the brakes on the nearly $10 million project until more information could be gathered about proposed contract.
Little discussion was had when commissioners voted 6-1 Tuesday night to table for one month the awarding of a $590,000 contract to a Tucker-based company to perform mandatory archeological site work on the area where city leaders intend to build the new transit center.
In the city's briefing before the regular meeting started, some commissioners expressed reservations about moving forward on the contract.
Ward IV Commissioner Roger Marietta told his fellow commissioners that he continued to be concerned about the fact that only one responsible bidder was found to do the job and that he believed additional efforts could be made to ensure that the "as-needed" $590,000 bid was the best use of those funds.
Marietta also expressed a desire to have City Manager James Taylor and his staff research the feasibility of moving in a different direction with the center entirely and, instead of building a completely new transit center behind the Dougherty County Judicial Building, buy and renovate the existing Greyhound bus terminal on Oglethorpe Boulevard.
"I think we should table this to see if we can get more bids and get some more information on some other options," Marietta said. "I don't want to subvert the process, but I'd like to ask the city manager to do some research on this and come back before us."
Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell also expressed a desire to delay awarding the contract "so we can make an intelligent decision."
Ward I Commissioner Jon Howard, the lone dissenter on the motion to table, asked Taylor in the briefing whether the $6 million in federal stimulus funds set to be spent on the project have a shelf life and whether that money must be dedicated to that site.
The answer, according to Taylor, was yes to both.
"If you're asking me if the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) money has a shelf life, then yes, sir, it does," Taylor said.
"I think, then, we are between a rock and a hard place," Howard said. "If those funds are site-specific, then we can't change locations and we're under the gun to spend that money or risk it being taken."