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Dougherty County gives special approval for work on Sherwood upper campus

Private school plans to consolidate upper, lower campuses at single location

Dougherty County Public Works personnel listen to a National Public Works Week proclamation read by County Attorney Spencer Lee. Commission Vice Chairman Jack Stone, standing to Lee’s left, listens. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

Dougherty County Public Works personnel listen to a National Public Works Week proclamation read by County Attorney Spencer Lee. Commission Vice Chairman Jack Stone, standing to Lee’s left, listens. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

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Dougherty County EMS Employee of the Year Phillip Jackson, right, and his boss, EMS Director Greg Rowe, listen to an Emergency Services Week proclamation being read by County Attorney Spencer Lee Monday, as District 6 Commissioner Jack Stone looks on. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

ALBANY — The Dougherty County Commission paved the way for Sherwood Christian Academy to incorporate all of its school facilities into one location Monday by granting special approval for building additions and site improvements at the school’s 1418 Old Pretoria Road upper campus.

The school, which currently houses its kindergarten and lower-grades classes at a facility on Stuart Avenue, is expected to start utilizing the eight new lower-grades classrooms and media center/cafeteria at the start of the 2015-16 school year.

School officials said they expect to have an enrollment of around 487 students by the time the additions at Sherwood are completed.

Commissioners also rejected both a Finance Committee recommendation that $15,000 in funding for the annual Albany State University-sponsored National Youth Sports Program be denied and a counter proposal by District 2 Commissioner John Hayes that the commission sponsor the program at a $6,000 level using money from a Drug Abuse Treatment Education Fund.

Finance Committee Chairman Lamar Hudgins made a motion to deny the funding, and after District 4 Commissioner Ewell Lyle seconded, Hayes made his alternate motion. That motion was rejected by a 2-2-1 vote with District 6 Commissioner Jack Stone, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Chairman Jeff Sinyard, abstaining “until I learn more about this,” and District 3 Commissioner Clinton Johnson, who seconded Hayes’ motion, voting in favor.

The board then voted by the same 2-2-1 margin to reject Hudgins’ motion.

“We’ll take this up again,” Stone said. “It really doesn’t matter how I vote today, because four votes are needed to pass or fail the motion.”

The commission currently has only six members because the District 5 seat on the board was vacated by Gloria Gaines so that she could run for the commission chairmanship. Harry James, who will have no opposition in a special election held today in conjunction with statewide Republican and Democratic primaries, will assume the District 5 seat at the commission’s June 2 meeting.

Also at Monday’s meeting, commissioners:

— Approved $27,091.80 in special tax funding to purchase a Ford Explorer for the county police department;

— OK’d $59,805.20 in SPLOST VI funding for the purchase of two diesel pumps for Public Works;

— Approved a 1.6 percent increase in tipping fees at the Dougherty County Landfill starting July 1;

— Signed off on a rezoning request by Stone and his wife Charlotte for 2.113 acres of land from agriculture to mobile home single-family. When Stone said, “I can’t get involved in this” before the vote on his rezoning request but then started to explain what the land would be used for, County Attorney Spencer Lee jokingly interrupted, “The less you say, the less you’ll be involved.”

Lee read separate proclamations declaring this week National Public Works Week and Emergency Medical Services Week in the county.

Stone told Public Works Director Larry Cook, “I always say we have one of the best — if not the best — Public Works departments in the state of Georgia, probably all over the country.” The commission vice chair then told EMS Employee of the Year Paramedic Supervisor Phillip Jackson, “It’s people like you who make your outfit so special.”