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Sheriff asks county to reallocate SPLOST funds

Dougherty County officials who volunteered to man the county’s water station during the 2013 Snickers Marathon were honored as the top station by Convention and Visitors Bureau officials Monday. Shown, from left, are race director Barry Cohen, CVB Executive Director Rashelle Beasley and county officials Jawahn Ware, Richard Crowdis, Nancy Hillsman and Ewell Lyle. (Laura Williams)

Dougherty County officials who volunteered to man the county’s water station during the 2013 Snickers Marathon were honored as the top station by Convention and Visitors Bureau officials Monday. Shown, from left, are race director Barry Cohen, CVB Executive Director Rashelle Beasley and county officials Jawahn Ware, Richard Crowdis, Nancy Hillsman and Ewell Lyle. (Laura Williams)

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Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul

ALBANY — Dougherty County commissioners were asked Monday to reallocate an additional $47,000 in special-purpose local-option sales tax funds for encrypting 80 radios at the Dougherty County Jail.

Jail Administrator Col. John Ostrander told commissioners he’d erroneously left the 80 radios used within the jail off his budget request when he asked for $62,000 for encrypting the 106 radios used by deputies.

“This request is to correct an error on my part,” Ostrander said. “By failing to include the 80 radios used by detention officers in the jail facility, they’re left with the inability to communicate with our deputies, with DCP (Dougherty County Police) and APD (Albany Police Department).”

Asked if he recommended approving the funding request, County Administrator Richard Crowdis said, “(The total) sounds excessive to me, but I think it’s not my call. The reason we went to encryption is because the city of Albany went to it. We had to go to it.

“I think this is one of those things you have to make a call on and move on.”

District 5 Commissioner Gloria Gaines said she is in favor of reallocating funds from the SPLOST VI Jail Facility Improvements and Equipment fund.

“(Officers) essentially have radios in their hands that do not work,” she said.

Sheriff Kevin Sproul’s department also asked the commission to enter into a three-party agreement with his office and with the Georgia Sheriff’s Association to help fund a database on secondary metals recyclers. The funding would come from an annual fee paid by the recyclers.

“I’ll simplify this for you, if I can,” County Attorney Spencer Lee said. “They want us to share from that $200 fee to help the Sheriff’s Association keep up the database.”

Sheriff’s Office Col. Mark Shirley said five such secondary metal recyclers are located in Dougherty County.

Commissioners were also asked to consider purchase of 12 mobile data units that would be placed in DCP vehicles (at a total cost of $60,147.12) and two new ambulances and equipment for Emergency Medical Services ($221,677.20) during the work session.

Gaines offered an update on the Governmental Affairs Committee’s ongoing efforts to coordinate better communications with boards and committees appointed by the commission.

“This board and the community need to be aware of what these (appointed) boards are doing,” Gaines said. “Some of them make decisions on substantial sums of money, and we will be more dutiful toward our constituents by having them weigh in regularly.

“Having reports from Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful last week and by the EDC (Economic Development Commission) today gives me a certain level of comfort in knowing how public money is being used.”

Added District 2 Commissioner John Hayes: “Having reports by the boards makes us more accountable to our constituents.”

During a report to the board, EDC President Ted Clem told commissioners a recent agreement with Phoebe Putney Health System at the Pecan Grove Industrial Park brings capital investment this year to $12.76 million and adds to 245 jobs either created or maintained in the county. Clem said the $41 million in commercial permits through July include construction of new Kaufmann Tire, Waffle House and Hardee’s establishments within the county.

Clem also noted that a recent tour of the local Procter & Gamble plant revealed $100 million in investments in the plant by the company over the past 18 months.

Before the work session, Convention & Visitors Bureau officials recognized county volunteers for providing the top water station during the 2013 Snickers Marathon.