ALBANY – Albany city commissioners talked garbage at their Tuesday-morning meeting, but it was not the type of garbage we’re used to hearing from politicians on television.
Commissioners brought up the topics of dilapidated houses and the illegal dumping of garbage toward the end of the Tuesday session.
Ward III Commissioner B.J. Fletcher said it hit home the other day when a landlord received a $10 fine in a court case.
“My issue is two weeks ago, when I found out a case we took to court,” she said during an interview following the meeting. “When the judges are letting them go, giving them extensions, $10 fines, $100 fines — I think it’s time we put them on notice. We need to do something about the blighted properties.”
Fletcher, who also owns rental properties, said it appears that property owners are dumping possessions of evicted tenants in alleys and other places instead of disposing of them properly.
Such dumping has become an issue, one she also brought up at a July meeting.
The city offers a service to sort and haul away such debris at a cost, she said, and landlords should take advantage. There also are “free days” when the fee is waived.
“We need to do a better job of holding the landlords accountable,” she said.
Fletcher also encouraged the public to report, and if possible take pictures, when they see someone illegally dumping materials.
Ward I Commissioner Jon Howard said he has been told there are some 400 dilapidated properties that are candidates for demolition due to being eyesores and uninhabitable in their current condition.
The cases are time-consuming, City Attorney Nathan Davis told commissioners.
“We’re only able to handle eight to 10 of these cases a month,” he said. “They’re so labor intensive. That’s the problem. (And) the court can grant the (owner) opportunity to bring them up to code.”
Howard also brought up the issue of houses without address numbers posted where they are visible. When houses don’t have numbers to identify them it means first responders can’t find them while answering a call.
In other business, the commission:
♦ Approved allowing a vote in November on package sales of alcohol on Sunday and a separate proposal that would allow restaurants and other businesses that meet current requirements to begin selling alcoholic beverages at 11 a.m. instead of 12:30 p.m. on Sundays;
♦ Delayed a vote on a recommendation to increase the amount for which formal bids are required for services and materials and services provided to the city from $40,000 to $100,000;
♦ Approved a roofing repair contract totaling $555,000 with L.E. Schwartz & Son, and $278,000 with Roof Services of Albany;
♦ Accepted a grant of $2.75 million from the Federal Aviation Administration and a second totaling $143,206 from the Georgia Department of Transportation for airport taxiway and apron renovations;
♦ Reappointed Dr. Steve Whatley to another two-year term on the Animal Control Board; and
♦ Approved alcohol licenses for beer and wine consumption at Twisted Timber, 2302 N. Slappey Blvd., and My Pie, 2700 Dawson Road.