ALBANY, Ga. -- The Dougherty County Commission voted 6-0 Monday to deny $15,000 in funding requested to supplement the National Youth Sports Program hosted each summer for the past 35 years by Albany State University.
Program coordinator Robert Skinner, a coach at ASU, told commissioners NYSP participants receive 10 hours of alcohol/drug prevention training over the course of the summer program, provided at no cost to participants ages 9-15. But the commission cited financial concerns in denying the funding.
"I move that we deny this request, even though it is a very worthy program," District 1 Commissioner Lamar Hudgins, who is chairman of the commission's Finance Committee, said. "Given our current financial situation, now is just not the time (to continue funding)."
The commission had previously helped fund the NYSP program, but discontinued the practice in 2009 when a substance abuse treatment/education fund was depleted.
"If we approve this, I can assure you there will be another five or 10 (groups) knocking on the door tomorrow," District 6 Commissioner Jack Stone said before the vote. "I really like this program, but we've got to do what the finances say we can do. And the money is just not there."
The commission conducted its regularly scheduled business meeting, followed with a work session that would have coincided with next Monday's Memorial Day holiday. It then held a special called meeting to take a vote on a request by the county's Solid Waste Department to increase tipping fees at the county landfill by 2.9 percent.
Solid Waste Director Scott Addison requested the increase when he could not get a commitment from city of Albany officials to increase garbage disposal at the county landfill when the city closes its inert landfill.
"To avoid larger increases in future years, I recommend that we increase the fees by 2.9 percent, which is 0.8 percent higher than the Consumer Price Index increase of 2.1 percent," Addison said. "Based on our most recent financials, we need the increase to make sure money will be available for future projects."
County Administrator Richard Crowdis said the special called meeting was needed to assure there was time to give the required 30 days of public notice before implementing the new fees on July 1.
Addison also said lone bidder Twin Rivers Land & Timber Inc. of Rebecca offered timber harvesting prices that could bring as much as $100,000 into the Solid Waste/Landfill Enterprise Fund. The company would thin significant growth of trees on some 250 acres of landfill property.
"The state requires a 200-foot buffer, and we have places where the buffer is more than 800 feet," Addison said. "The harvesting will take place outside the buffer. It will only be a thinning, not a clearcut."
At the regular meeting, commissioners also approved a $34,812.52 bid by D&D Kitchen Center for improvements on the county judicial building, approved purchases of a bat wing mower ($14,745) and a tractor ($44,600) from low-bidder Town & Country and OK'd the $992,765 bid of Property and Casualty Insurance Broker Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management of Itasca, Ill.
Commission Vice Chairwoman Gloria Gaines read proclamations recognizing this week as National Public Works Week and Emergency Medical Services Week in the county. EMS Director Greg Rowe introduced his department's Employee of the Year, paramedic Heather Murray, at the meeting.
In the work session that followed, the commission discussed the county's Department of Transportation Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant ($262,321) and special-purpose local-option sales tax-funded ($400,000) resurfacing bids. Oxford Construction Co. of Albany had the lowest bid ($637,368) on the project.
Jail Administrator John Ostrander also discussed bids to supply inmate meals at the Dougherty County Jail. The low bid, $903,008.17, was turned in by ABL Management Services of Baton Rouge, La., which will provide the meals at a cost of slightly less than 72 cents per meal.