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Former Southside Library building may suit county’s needs

Dougherty County commissioners Gloria Gaines and Jack Stone, center, chat with Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard before Monday’s meeting at the downtown Albany Government Center. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

Dougherty County commissioners Gloria Gaines and Jack Stone, center, chat with Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard before Monday’s meeting at the downtown Albany Government Center. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

ALBANY — With no bids from groups that had expressed interest in using the vacant former Southside Library facility, Dougherty County officials said Monday morning they may hold onto the facility for internal usage.

County Administrator Richard Crowdis said the county is considering a wellness center like the one utilized by the city of Albany, and the vacant facility would be “ideal” to house such a center.

“That’s just one possibility, and (utilization of a wellness center) is something our insurance broker (Wells Fargo) is looking into,” Crowdis said. “If we lease the building, of course, that option goes out the window. We’re reviewing the possibility of a wellness center as part of our group insurance plan — there’s been interest in having a joint program with the city — and the vacant facility would be an ideal site.”

Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard said after Monday’s commission business meeting that the Governmental Affairs Committee would reconsider utilization of the facility now that the request for bid submissions had gotten no response.

“That committee still has a list (of groups that expressed interest in the facility), so I expect they’ll contact each of them,” Sinyard said. “But our first priority for the facility all along has been internal use.”

Also at Monday’s meeting, the commission approved changes to its group insurance plan that included alterations to its dental plan and implementation of “step therapy” in usage of expensive specialty prescriptions. That strategy involves usage of less expensive, generic medications before relying on the more expensive, name-brand pharmaceuticals. The vote also included a plan to leave employee contributions at 2013 levels.

Commissioners also:

— Approved purchase of a generator for Fire Station No. 9 at a cost of $35,586;

— OK’d purchase of an HVAC system for the county judicial building at a cost of $71,674;

— Signed off on purchase of a generator for the judicial building that carries a $147,425 price tag;

— Approved one-day alcohol licenses for fundraaisers at Temple B’nai Israel Oct. 5 and Boy Scouts of America Oct. 15.