The Flint RiverQuarium is located in downtown Albany.
ALBANY, Ga. -- The Dougherty County Commission heard requests from four organizations seeking to reallocate general special tax funding for specific requests during the county's work session Monday morning.
Officials with the Flint RiverQuarium, the Thronateeska Heritage Center, the Dougherty County Police Department and the Dougherty Sheriff's Office asked the commission for permission to use Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax VI funds for needs that each said was pressing.
"Once we got the (recent heavy) rains, it was determined that the roof on our building was not repairable," acting RiverQuarium director Emily Jean McAfee told the commission. "And, unfortunately, the company that put the roof on is no longer in business. Warranty for the roof was transferred (to another company), but the warranty is worth only about $1,800, and that's not going to help us much.
"We'd like to use SPLOST funding we have available for equipment updates to replace the roof. We need to do these things immediately because they impact our day-to-day operations."
Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard endorsed the request, saying, "I think it is good to utilize the dollars that are available to make sure the RiverQuarium stays in tip-top condition."
Thronateeska Heritage Center Executive Director Tommy Gregors asked for permission to reprioritize almost $97,000 in SPLOST VI funds set aside for restoration of a historic train car at the center for use in the ongoing Tift Depot stabilization project.
"We can return to the train car project at a later date with no loss, but if we have to come back to the depot stabilization project at a later date, it would increase the cost," Gregors said. "What we propose to do is to use the $97,000 on the depot project and mount a fundraising campaign to replace the funds that we're asking you to reallocate."
County Administrator Richard Crowdis told the board the historic Tift Depot would have collapsed without the destabilization project.
DCP asked that SPLOST funds earmarked for police building improvements and equipment be allocated to purchase a new animal control truck ($42,000) and for encrypting county police radio equipment ($55,000).
"Albany police have already done this, and now they're waiting for us," Crowdis said after the meeting. "We have to make these improvements to be able to communicate with Albany police."
Sheriff's office officials also asked for SPLOST funding to finance the encryption improvements on radio equipment. The update would cost the sheriff's office's special tax fund $62,000.
"Our folks are asking for 'reallocation,' but this funding has already been approved by voters for improvements within the various departments," Sinyard said. "We always ask our department heads to bring requests like this before the commission so that everyone's clear on the funding being spent."
Solid Waste Director Scott Addison, after recognizing John Mathis as the department's employee of the year, told commissioners 141,584.3 energy units had been transferred to Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany's Landfill Gas to Energy project, a total of $171,798.83 being billed for the transfer. Minus almost $53,000 in electric costs, the county realized $119,124.84 in revenue.
Addison said the county's total tonnage at the solid waste landfill had declined 12 percent since 2008, but increased tipping fees drove revenue up by 14 percent. Construction and demolition tonnage increased by 14 percent during that same period, while revenue went up by 10 percent. Addison said the solid waste landfill had a projected 33 years of usage left, while the C&D landfill could operate for another 53-55 years.
Robert McDaniel with the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission asked the board to sign off on a federal transportation assistance grant request that is funded without the use of any county matching dollars.
"This is the blue-and-white van program," McDaniel told the board. "There are 17 of them operating in Dougherty, Lee and Terrell counties, and from July of 2011 to June of 2012, they made 84,168 trips in those counties."
Also at the meeting, the board:
-- Heard a staff recommendation to purchase six 2013 Dodge Police Interceptors for DCP at a cost of $141,006, more than $14,000 less than budgeted for the vehicles;
-- Discussed a grant easement being sought from the Department of the Navy for location of a holding pond at MCLB-Albany;
-- Heard from County Attorney Spencer Lee about the need to accept a deed conveying all streets, easements and detention ponds to the county at the Pecan Grove Corporate Park;
-- Got a staff report on a 100 percent Department of Transportation grant (for $117,857) that would be used for signage, striping and other road safety measures;
-- Were informed about a request to the Georgia State Properties Commission asking that 2.1 acres of land previously used as a state farmers market that has been abandoned by the state be returned to Dougherty County;
-- Heard requests for an alcohol beverage license for Better Brands of South Georgia at its new facility under construction at the Pecan Grove industrial park and for a one-day license for a Girls Inc. fundraiser.
Commissioners also welcomed District 6 Commissioner Jack Stone back after his health-related absence.
"Looking at this long agenda, it doesn't look like y'all have been doing anything while I was out," Stone quipped. "Well, it's now a fact: Jack's back."