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County: Police department will not merge

ALBANY, Ga. -- Continuing a sometimes heated discussion that started at last week's work session, Dougherty County Commissioners OK'd recommendations from the county's Public Safety Committee Monday to give no further consideration to combining the Dougherty County Police Department with another law enforcement agency and that no consideration be given to replacing retired DCP Chief Don Cheek for at least six months.

Members of the Public Safety Committee said they made the recommendations to protect interim DCP Chief Jackie Battle as she takes over for Cheek, but one commissioner felt the committee had left Battle at a disadvantage.

"Like I noted (last week), I have misgivings about this entire process," District 2 Commissioner John Hayes said. "(Battle's promotion) seems like a natural transition to me, and to limit her to a six-month (interim period) instead of a year contract .... Well, I wish you had handled that differently."

Despite Public Safety Committee Chairman Muarlean Edwards' assurances that the intent of the group was to "do this the right way," Hayes said the committee's recommendations handicap Battle.

"All things aren't equal here; you're taking an experienced person and boxing her into a six-month period to do a job, but your not equipping her to do the same job as her predecessor," Hayes said. "I'm not trying to be argumentative, but it seems like you're limiting (Battle) to a six-month job. I just want to see fairness take place."

District 5 Commissioner Gloria Gaines said the recommendation by the Public Safety Committee follows common business practice.

"This gives us an opportunity to see (Battle) in that role, and it gives her an opportunity to decide if it's what she wants," Gaines said. "I don't see any doubts (in the committee) whatsoever. I'd like to ask Commissioner Hayes if he has a specific alternate proposal."

The commission finally approved the recommendations and quickly moved through previously discussed agenda items such as revising rules and regulations for county-owned Riverfront Park to parallel city rules for adjacent Ray Charles Plaza, approving renewal of alcohol licenses in the county, approving $20,170.36 in Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax VI funds for the purchase of carpet in the district attorney's office, and allowing a rezoning request by District 6 Commissioner Jack Stone on 3 acres of land on Stone's property.

Stone asked that the land be rezoned mobile home single-family (R-MHS) from agriculture so that he could locate a mobile home on the property. Stone told commissioners the county's Planning Commission should look into requirements that no less than 3 acres can be rezoned.

"We only wanted to rezone an acre and a half, but the county's zoning ordinance says you must have at least 3 acres," he said. "We need to look at that."

The commission also agreed to enter into a shared-cost agreement with Southern Ag Carriers Inc. and to request that the city of Albany extend its sewer system 2,012 feet on Sylvester Road to meet the needs of Southern Ag Carriers. The estimated cost for the extension is $160,000, and the county would finance its share using SPLOST III and V sewer extension funds.

County Attorney Spencer Lee told the commission it must approve an intergovernmental agreement with the city and approve resolutions during a special called meeting Monday if it intends to collect a 2 percent excise tax on energy used by businesses and industries in the county.

Comments

FryarTuk 1 year, 11 months ago

What a stupid decision to discontinue discussion on merging the DCPD with another law enforcement agency. The city and county leaders are dumb as stumps. We spend millions of taxpayer dollars on at least 5 local public agencies, to say nothing of GBI and GSP as crime and civic upheaval abounds in this community. When property owners see the tax bills for next year I think most folks will agree that we have reached the tipping point.

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waltspecht 1 year, 11 months ago

Wouldn't now be a good time to consider it, before the Chief's position is filled? Seems one of the sticking points has always been who would run the combined departments, and what you would do with the displaced administrators? To downsize, you don't promote. You consolidate.

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VSU 1 year, 11 months ago

I was thinking the same thing, now would have been the perfect time.

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chinaberry25 1 year, 11 months ago

Just like an government run business. If it was run by private industry, then it would already be gone. After Obamacare kicks in and insurance rates go up, get ready for a big loss of cops anyway. Insurance prices are suppose to double. Be careful what you wish for because you have got it now.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 11 months ago

cberry25, " Insurance prices are suppose to double. Be careful what you wish for because you have got it now. " Care to explain? I'm having a hard time understanding it.

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B4it 1 year, 11 months ago

As long as we have Lamar Hudgins, Jack Stone nad John Hayes on the County Commission, we will not see any budget improvements for the county. Lamar has been the chair for the Finance Committee for many years. He has not been a leader and there have been no recommendations from this committee for at least the past 6 years to reduce any expenses. Reserve funds have been depleted for the unicorporated area of the county and taxes were just raised by 2 mils this past summer for the 2013 property taxes.

The Finance Committee has been meeting with department heads for the past several months and there have been no action items identified for them to reduce expenses. The only recommendation from another committee has been to stop talking about combining the County Police with the Sherrif's division.

With this kind of shallow-thinking and refusal to address the real issues (= reorganizing the infrastructure of the county and city), there will not be any significant budget improvements. There will probably be another tax increase proposed when they finally realize the year is over and there have been no significant expense reductions.

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dingleberry 1 year, 11 months ago

What you wrote is correct and don't expect any change that is not "forced". When it comes to cutting expenses, it is always "not in my backyard" regardless of how it is approached. The library closings are a great example of a necessary change that was fought tooth and nail.

I was at a meeting once where the subj of property tax reform was discussed and Hayes said it could not be done in DoCo because it has so many under the poverty level. I guess this is why all pay property taxes, eh?

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B4it 1 year, 11 months ago

Dingle.. you are also correct. It will take a tax revolt by the property owners to stop subsidizing those under the poverty level. Businesses also continue to leave the county due to extremely high property taxes and poor leadership from our School, County and City Commissioners (e.g. Modern Gas, Pince Chevrolet). Since when is it mandatory to continue to pay ever increasing taxes because some chose not to work?

I am not at all demeaning those who are indeed less fortunate and need help. However, there must be a cutoff to say enough is enough with the demands from welfare takers for more from those who work hard everyday to produce goods and services.

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MRKIA 1 year, 11 months ago

THE TIME IS SURELY ARRIVING WHEN EITHER THE DCP MERGES WITH THE DCSD OR CEASE TO EXIST. IT APPEARS THAT THE DCP EXISTS NOT SO MUCH TO PROVIDE LAW ENFORCEMENT TO THE COUNTY AS IT DOES TO PROVIDE AN ADDITIONAL EMPLOYMENT ARM. JUST WAIT UNTIL TAXES NEED TO BE RAISED AGAIN TO MAINTAIN THIS DINOSAUR.

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AnotherMom 1 year, 11 months ago

I want to know why we are spending $20,000 on carpet in the DA's office when we are in a budget crunch.

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Cartman 1 year, 11 months ago

It's not their money. The commissioners have no incentive to be efficient.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 11 months ago

I think Cartman's point is spot on. The city, county and school boards are not connected with the source of the money. In the fifties and sixties my old man ran a garage that worked on county and city vehicles in a Southwest GA town nearby. When parts went over $50 he had to call down and explain to the commission's clerk exactly what was going on and get approval. The folks in charge of tax money had a very sober and clear understanding of how to use tax funds. I'm sure they all paid taxes but more than that there was a real sense of personal accountability. With people we have on our commissions and boards there is very little understanding of accountability and limits.

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JustAnotherVoice 1 year, 11 months ago

Haven't there been studies done that recommended consolidation?

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B4it 1 year, 11 months ago

Just... YES!!! There was a previous study that was unanamously approved by 20 prominant selected CIty and County reps. There have also been recommendations from several unanamous Grand Jury's to consolidate the City and County governments as well as recommendations to merge the County Police and Sherrif's division. Action taken by the County Commissioners = NONE!

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FryarTuk 1 year, 11 months ago

The person that blocked this the one time it had of getting to the ballot was your friend and mine Sen. Freddie Powell-Sims of Dawson, GA. An original member of the incestuous nest of rogues.

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