Committee: Remove interim tag from Battle

Cynthia “Jackie” Battle has been serving as the Dougherty County Police Department’s interim chief since November 2012.

Cynthia “Jackie” Battle has been serving as the Dougherty County Police Department’s interim chief since November 2012.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Pending a final vote by the full Dougherty County Commission, interim Dougherty County Police Department Chief Jackie Battle will have the interim tag taken off her title next Monday and become the county's first female police chief.

The commission's Public Safety Committee recommended that Battle be given the title at a work session Monday morning.

"It feels good to know I have the confidence of the commission," Battle said after committee chairman Jack Stone announced the recommendation. "I will try to live up to that confidence. I don't expect there to be any big changes (when I become permanent chief), although we will be working to hire people to fill the positions that will get us up to staff."

Before finishing with the statement "We have all the confidence in the world in you, Jackie," Stone said the Public Safety Committee recommended she be given the job and her pay as chief be retroactive to the start of her six-month interim tenure.

The commission also heard a recommendation from Planning Director Paul Forgey and Planning Manager Mary Teter that the county make changes in its Floodplain Management Ordinance to conform with federal regulations.

"We'd like the ordinance to allow the owners of homes that were built before the county implemented elevation requirements to make non-substantial improvements to their homes without being required to meet (current ordinance) requirements," Teter said. "Non-substantial improvements are those that do not exceed 50 percent of the fair market value of the home."

Forgey asked that fees be added to the floodplain ordinance that would allow his office to collect $400 for its work on such cases and an additional $40 per acre impacted. Teter said the fees would cap at $3,500.

Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard shared with commissioners a letter from property manager Frances Krack concerning plans to turn the Broad Avenue Post Office into a Village Post Office. Krack said a full proposal has been presented to USPS officials by the private company hoping to make the downtown post office, which is slated to close in September, part of a "village" concept that will feature other businesses as well.

Commissioners also heard a report on elements of the proposed Fiscal Year 2014 budget that were not discussed at the commission's regular business session last week. Stone expressed concern that Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful is budgeted to get a slight ($2,200) increase over its 2013 budget when most other departments are scheduled for budget cuts.

"Everyone else is tightening their belt, (KADB) should, too," Stone said. "If we keep having increase, increase, increase, we're going to have to raise taxes."

Finance Committee Chairman Lamar Hudgines replied, "Jack, this budget is $900,000 less than last year."