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Dougherty Commission expected to approve Fleming Road widening project

Improvements would help with traffic snarls near Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany

Dougherty County Solid Waste Director Scott Addison, left, introduces his department’s Employee of the Year, Jackie Wingfield, during Monday’s Dougherty County Commission work meeting. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

Dougherty County Solid Waste Director Scott Addison, left, introduces his department’s Employee of the Year, Jackie Wingfield, during Monday’s Dougherty County Commission work meeting. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

ALBANY — The Dougherty County Commission is expected to vote next week to approve a contract on Phase 1 of a road-widening project that will provide transportation relief to the civilians and military personnel entering and leaving Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany.

Assistant County Administrator Mike McCoy recommended at the commission’s work session Monday morning that the county approve a $529,483.58 contract that would pave the way for low bidder HTS Construction of Albany to start work on the widening of Fleming Road from Mock Road to Short Street.

“This is a huge positive for our community and for the base,” Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard said during discussion of the proposal. “They’re very excited at the base, and the folks in Washington are aware that the community is taking this step to enhance the Marine base.

“There are reports that suggest significant cuts in our military over the next two years, and while I expect a lot of politics to unfold over the next few months, it’s going to benefit our community that we have such a strong relationship with the base.”

County Administrator Richard Crowdis said the road widening, which will include enhanced turn lanes and traffic signals on Fleming, had been a top priority on the area’s long-range transportation plan for a while, and the approval of more than $2 million in special tax funding moved it to the point of readiness.

“This is another example of the positives that can come when our citizens, through SPLOST, work with us to make needed enhancements at an installation that is vital to our community,” Sinyard said.

County Public Works Director Larry Cook, asked when the project would begin, said he expects construction to start as soon as necessary paperwork is completed.

“The contractor is ready to go,” Cook said.

The county budgeted $625,000 in SPLOST VI for Phase I of the Fleming Road project.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Dougherty Sheriff Kevin Sproul and county Solid Waste Director Scott Addison gave yearly reports on operations of their departments.

Sproul noted that DSO had increased security checks by 87 percent in Fiscal Year 2013, including assisting Albany and Dougherty County police departments. The sheriff also noted that the jail population decreased from an average of 826 in 2012 to 770 in FY 2013. Jail Supervisor Col. John Ostrander said the most recent inmate population numbers had “dipped below 700,” but he expects an average for the year of between 750 and 800.

Sproul’s report indicated his department had serviced 11,047 warrents during Fiscal Year 2013, had processed and served 20,576 papers, had assigned 425 criminal cases and cleared 256, conducted 562 sex offender residence checks and had generated $1.64 million in ancillary revenue.

Addison’s report noted the 95 score (of 100) the county landfill had received at its most recent Environmental Protection Division inspection, the $126,118 generated by the landfill gas-to-energy project with MCLB-Albany and the 115 percent jump in landfill tonnage — which generated $6.9 million in fees — at the facility. Addison said a large majority of the increase was due to a one-time demolition project at the former Merck Chemical plant and the Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission’s cleanup of an environmentally hazardous site.

Crowdis said Solid Waste’s planned 2016 cell expansion at the landfill, projected to cost more than $3 million, will be covered by $1 million in SPLOST funds and “sound financial planning” in the department.

Addison also recognized Operations Manager Jackie Wingfield as the Solid Waste Employee of the Year, while Sproul introduced Cpl. Connie Mallory and Sgt. Tonjee Boatwright as his department’s Jail and Sheriff’s Office Employees of the Year, respectively.