Job creation fund one step from approval

ALBANY, Ga. -- Albany City commissioners moved a step closer Tuesday to finalizing plans for a Job Investment Fund that will utilize one-third of the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia reimbursement credits being returned each month to the city's Water, Gas & Light Commission, a fund that local development officials say could be a "game-changer" in attracting jobs.

The commission, initially through its Long-Term Financial Planning Committee, will work with the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission to use the funds as incentive to draw business and industry to Albany and Dougherty County. EDC President Ted Clem, who has worked with city officials to develop the Job Investment Fund plan, told the commission Tuesday that funds would be used as financial enticement to businesses bringing -- or existing businesses adding -- at least 100 jobs or investing at least $10 million in the community.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for us because this money will impact start-up costs," Clem told the commission. "We've talked with more than 40 economic developers in the state, and they all say (the fund) could be a game-changer in attracting business."

Ward III Commissioner Christopher Pike, who is on the Long-Term Financial Planning Committee, said he's disappointed that Clem hasn't been able to provide specifics that clarify plans for the funding.

"There's a long list of bad decisions we've made just to get something done here," Pike said. "And it's asinine to think any proposal brought to this commission that will create jobs is going to get four votes to turn the proposal down.

"I'd just feel more comfortable seeing clearly how this will work."

Clem said each potential project would come with unique circumstances, making a clear-cut, one-size-fits-all plan unlikely.

"Every project that's presented to this board is going to be different," the EDC president said. "There just isn't a cookie-cutter way of doing this."

Ward V Commissioner Bob Langstaff and Ward VI's Tommie Postell, both of whom are also on the LTFPC, argued that further delays were pointless.

"Every day that we sit on this because we don't have a specific proposal is a day we're prolonging the nothingness," Langstaff said. "We could keep finding excuses and do nothing forever."

Postell, too, argued that delays served no purpose.

"This is not an 'I' issue -- what 'I' want -- it's an 'us' issue," the Ward VI commissioner said. "We can brainstorm until next year, but brainstorming is not the solution to our problem. I don't want to see this process held up another four or five months over some 'I' issue someone wants.

"Let's quit beating a dead dog and move forward."

Before calling for a vote to approve the Job Investment Fund, which would not be binding until formal approval at the commission's night meeting on Tuesday, Mayor Dorothy Hubbard asked City Attorney Nathan Davis if the plan met legal qualifications.

"Yes, it does," Davis said. "In fact, in talking with other officials across the state, I've heard some of the same comments that Mr. Clem has."


Abytaxpayer 2 years, 6 months ago

"one-third of the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia reimbursement credits being returned each month to the CITY's Water, Gas & Light Commission", The take over has started and that means More funding for another pipe dream. It just FREE money we taking from WG&L why not waste it.

The "Free" money will be used as incentives to draw business and industry to Albany......Just how is EDC going to attract NEW business when they believe Phoebe is the Great savior for Albany's economic development?


VietVet1 2 years, 6 months ago

Abytaxpayer you're so right. "Free" money - - that's their mind set.


OUTsiderLookingINalbany 2 years, 6 months ago

WOW is all I can say. Why not use this money to invest in the water, gas, and light structures throughout the city?... you know, like it is suppose to. I'm no expert on water quality but I can tell that the tap water here is horrible. Just seems like this plan has a lot of wholes, wholes that will eventually lead to corrupt use of the funds.


rightasrain 2 years, 6 months ago

The Albany City Commissioners are nothing but a bunch of thugs and thieves when it comes to taking money from some one else, even if it is WG&L. Of course the ACC doesn't care if they continue to throw good money after bad because it's not theirs and they will never be held accountable for their stupidity. These "businesses" Clem hopes to attract see nothing but a "Golden Goose" and they (businesses) will have no obligation to the city if their business "fails" after blowing through their "free" money. Once again, taxpayers tote the note.


chinaberry25 2 years, 6 months ago

Thank God I am on Georgia Power. The only jobs that will ever be created in Albany are minimum wage service industry jobs by folks who already live here. If you have to pay someone to open a business here, do we really want or need it? Albany is toast and that about sums it up. Base will close soon, after this war is over and where will Albany be? Back to WWII days. Schools closing left and right and houses boarded up. Little Detroit. If a business does by some stoke of luck locates here, then they will stay long enough to city to build the building and soak of the tax breaks for 20 years and wham it is over and we are out of here. Delco comes to memory. Maybe we need to go back and entice the farmers to come here and be a rural town again because money is flowing to them by the bucket loads.


Sister_Ruby_Two 2 years, 6 months ago

Nobody in Albany will take a minimum wage service industry job. They already effectively "make" that much from welfare, food stamps, subsidized housing, and under the table tax free cash only pay as you go work (if they do any work at all, that is)


Outtahere 2 years, 6 months ago

I work a full time job with the city I live in and I have worked in social services for a few years. Most of the welfare queens get MORE in subsidies than I make in a month. They will NEVER take a minimum wage job (probably all they are qualified to do) because they "make" more off of the system.


bennydawg 2 years, 6 months ago

Sister Ruby you just NAILED the exact problem with Albany.

I am sure I will be called every name in the book for this but in my opinion if your only source of income is from entitlement programs and you are UNDER the age 62, you should have no rights to vote. Why should a person who has no desire to better themselves, their community or their nation have a say in its future?


VSU 2 years, 6 months ago

True! The entitlement program is like a mosquito. Both have no positive impact on society and all they do is suck you dry.


waltspecht 2 years, 6 months ago

If you want to attract jobs to Albany, and South-west Georgia, make it where Companies and their Employees would want to come here. That is done with excellent schools, cheap power, abundant water, a trained and eager workforce with a good work ethic and a health care system that charges what Companies consider reasonable fees. (We already know P&G and Miller consider Pheobe way over priced in comparison to other areas they operate in) That is what you have to improve. Not hold out some money for someone to come along and steal, because that sure seems to happen a lot around here.


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