ALBANY, Ga. — A vote by Albany City Commissioners Tuesday likely will mean the end of a plan to construct a new multi-modal bus facility on a proposed site just north of the Dougherty County Courthouse.
Commissioners voted 4-3 in a work session to deny requests for proposals for architectural engineering plans for the proposed facility, which was going to be built there with almost $10 million in stimulus funds.
While the vote is not binding until next week’s regular meeting, city staff members are preparing for contingencies in case the vote stands next week. Assistant City Manager Wes Smith said Tuesday afternoon that if the vote stands, the city will terminate the current contract with an Atlanta-based firm currently conducting the archeological study on the site that is required by law.
During the meeting, a motion was made to grant an architectural and engineering design services contract to a company from Richmond, Va., but the motion failed when Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard, Mayor Pro-Tem Bob Langstaff and Commissioners Christopher Pike and Jon Howard voted against it.
Ward II Commissioner Ivey Hines asked City Manager James Taylor what the vote means for the future of the project.
“So I guess this means we’re back to square one?” Hines asked Taylor.
“We’re beyond square one,” Taylor said, referring to contentions from city staff that if the current site is abandoned a new site survey and study will have to be completed from scratch without the use of stimulus money that was designated for the site behind the courthouse.
Walking away from millions in stimulus money is a tough decision, Hubbard said following the meeting, but it’s the right one.
“I’ve voted consistently against this project ever since that first vote for it, because people and constituents have told me that they just don’t want or see a need for it,” Hubbard said. “You have to be concerned any time you’re giving up money, but, at the same time, why spend money when what you’re spending it on is not what the people want?”