County commissioners debate funding NYSP

Commissioners poised to save $160,000 by changing risk management broker.

Jim Britt, a consultant from Scarborough and Britt LLC answers a question from Commissioner Ewell Lyle, right, during Monday’s commission meeting.

Jim Britt, a consultant from Scarborough and Britt LLC answers a question from Commissioner Ewell Lyle, right, during Monday’s commission meeting.

ALBANY —Dougherty County commissioners at Monday's work session wrestled with giving $15,000 to a two-week program that benefits local children.

At the heart of the issue is whether the local version of the National Youth Sports Program, which has asked the Dougherty County Commission for funding to help pay for its two-week summer program for 500 area youth, devotes enough time to advocating against drug use to qualify for funding that is specifically earmarked by the courts for drug use prevention and education.

Reader poll

Should commissioners fund the NYSP?

  • Yes 35%
  • No 65%

17 total votes.

Money from that fund currently goes to support a drug use education program at the jail that is implemented through the Albany Area Community Service Board with partial funding going to support the Dougherty County Sheriff's CHAMPS program, which administers an anti-drug campaign in the Dougherty County School System.

Some commissioners said Monday they're concerned that if if they let NYSP dip into the fund, that it will open the floodgates to requests from other organizations.

"We're not recommending dipping into it for any program other than the one at the jail," Commissioner Lamar Hudgins, who is also chairman of the county's finance committee, said.

Commissioner John Hayes said that the program is a successful one that is diverting young people away from behavior that will ultimately land them in jail.

"I understand that budgets are tight," Hayes said. "But I'm not terribly happy that we can't find a way to fund a terrific program. I think sometimes that, while we know we have a fiscal responsibility, we also have a social responsibility. ... I think this program will help keep kids out of jail."

Some suggested splitting the payment and somehow reaching a deal in which the county agrees to pay a portion of the requested amount if the city of Albany agrees to pay a portion.

"It just seems fair to me that they have to pay," Commissioner Jack Stone said.

Others on the commission said they would be unable to vote on the request until they learn more about the program and what services it provides.

"I don't know enough about this organization to vote intelligently on the matter," Commissioner Gloria Gaines said. "Quite honestly, I'd have to abstain until I got more information."

Col. John Ostrander, the administrator of the Dougherty County Jail, told the commission that the same fund that would provide the NYSP its money had been used to fund the CHAMPS program — whose mission is to turn kids away from gangs and drugs — but that funding for CHAMPS had been cut as the fund has ebbed.

"Once the fund is again healthy enough to draw from, and I don't believe it's there now, I would humbly ask that those staff positions that were cut from existing programs be considered," Ostrander said.

The commission is expected to vote on the matter at its May 20 regular meeting.

In other business, the commission heard:

  • A recommendation from staff to purchase one 2013 Chevy Impala on state contract from Hardy Chevrolet in Dallas, Ga., for $20,109, for the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office. The car is one of two budgeted in the county's Capital Improvements Program budget for a total of $55,000;
  • A recommendation from staff to accept a $34,812 bid from D&D Kitchens Center LLC in Albany for part of the renovation of the third floor of the Judicial Building. Three bids were received, with the highest bid being $45,764. Funding is budgeted from SPLOST V for $40,000;
  • Staff's recommendation to buy one BAT Wing Mower for Dougherty County Public Works for $14,745 from Town & Country of Albany. Four of six bids received met specifications, with the highest bid being $18,712. Funding is budgeted under SPLOST VI in the amount of $17,000;
  • Staff's recommendation to buy a tractor for public works from Town & Country for $44,600. Two out of the four bids met specifications, with the highest bid being $45,940. The tractor is budgeted in the CIP for $50,000;
  • Staff's recommendation to accept a bid for the all-lines aggregate program from Property and Casualty Insurance Broker Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services of Itasca, Ill., for $992,765, which is a savings of $160,424 from the current broker.
  • Staff's recommendation to declare two mosquito sprayers valued at $2,200 as surplus for the purpose of selling them to the Worth County Board of Commissioners.


AlbanyObserver 2 years ago

A) "the local version of the National Youth Sports Program" & B) "funding to help pay for its two-week summer program for 500 area youth"

1) Who or what is the local version? 2) What is the total cost, since this is only to "help" pay for the cost? 3) Where will the program take place? 4) What are the qualifications of the entity or persons involved? 5) What are the qualifications for enrollment of the 500 area youth? 6) Will the cost be lesser if only 300 area youth participate?

What connection does the picture have to the article?


Amazed2 2 years ago

Why don't the 500 parents anti up the money for 2 weeks of camp. Why should my property taxes be used for 500 kids to attend Free Camp I guarantee you Somebody is making money off the camp deal!!!!!


rightasrain 2 years ago

No NYSP with my tax dollars! Do you hear that Sindersine, Hudgins? Not with my tax dollars! I agree with Amazed2; somebody's trying to make a "mint" off this scam.


Amazed2 2 years ago

I think I will ask for $20,000. I want to have a Youth Day at Riverfront Park. Bring in a motivation speaker, maybe some motivational music and serve BBQ chicken for lunch. Age requirements 13 to 18. Limited to 500 Signed Release Form. Cost $1.00 (one dollar) Note: BalAnce to be paid out of $20,000 County Grant. Oh yea we plan to hit up all the major grocery stores for donations.


B4it 2 years ago

Hayes said. "But I'm not terribly happy that we can't find a way to fund a terrific program.

This is the kind of irresponsible thinking that needs to be confronted. If there are limited funds from over extended tax payers, our elected reps need to understand that not every program can be funded, regardless of how wonderful some feel the program may be. For example, if you have over 100 programs to help the poor, how many more programs need to be funded to help these same poor (even if they are good programs in the eyes of those who thought them up)? THINK about it.


whattheheck 2 years ago

John Hayes thinks that all tax money is to support programs for the "poor".


Abytaxpayer 2 years ago

How does a two week program compete against the year round exposure to the positive side of drug dealing in the "Thug Life"? This is just another “give me money program” based on hype and the delusions of liberals who think throwing money at a problem will make it go away.


howsad 2 years ago

How sad that Comm Hayes is upset. He needs to consider that perhaps parents might have a role in raising their kids. $15 per kid per week from parents isn't too much to ask for all day babysitting service. He would lead us to total socialism if he could and drain the County coffers bone dry in the process. By the way...the money cited comes from court fines...not from any tax efforts. The program Comm Hayes wants to spend $15,000 on does not qualify under the requirements of the law governing the program. Comm Hayes knows this, but turns a blind eye to that fact and is up to his much too often political grandstanding for his low information voters in his district. The money is best (and legally) spent through education programs at the jail and the Sheriff's CHAMPS program in local schools.


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