Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard
ALBANY, Ga. — After lengthy discussion in a prebriefing session before Tuesday's Albany City Commission meeting, the commission approved a resolution that will allow post-65 city retirees to continue receiving Medicare B reimbursements in the amount of $96.40 a month.
Commissioner Tommie Postell said at the pre-briefing he planned to bring a motion to table the matter for further discussion during the business meeting, but the commission voted to continue the payments.
Commissioners had previously voted to continue the reimbursements despite City Manager James Taylor's recommendation that they end the practice that he said was now costing the city more than $400,000 a year.
Commissioner Christopher Pike warned his fellow board members during the prebriefing that budget woes would continue as long as the board voted not to accept Taylor's cost-cutting recommendations.
"At the end of the day, you all are still going to want those police officers out on the streets," Pike said. "To keep them there, we're going to have to make some cuts in the budget or cut services elsewhere. This makes about $700,000 in cuts the city manager has suggested that we've voted down."
The commission also tabled a rezoning request, sending it back to the Planning Commission for further consideration after a representative of Publix and other retail outlets in the Albany Square Shopping Center said a planned dental office in the center would restrict sight of the outlets.
The commission approved a request to rezone 435.38 acres of land off Oakridge Drive in southwest Albany from manufacturing to agriculture so that the applicants, Justin and Terry Davis, could plant a pecan orchard and other row crops on the land.
Before the business portion of the meeting, Albany Fire Department Chief James Carswell and Deputy Chief Ron Rowe recognized the department's Firefighter of the Year and awarded other firefighters medals of valor for their life-saving efforts during the past year.
Jason Davis, who entered a burning structure without a protective hand line and pulled a resident to safety, was named Firefighter of the Year. Other AFD firefighters recognized for acts of heroism were Joey Rogers, Eddie Goff, Gartavious George, David Smith, Mike Styles and Rod McKenzie.