Public Works staff in Dougherty County logs in busy year

Dougherty County Public Works Director Larry Cook presented his department’s annual report to the Dougherty County Commission last week. (Staff Photo: Jennifer Parks)

ALBANY — While helping in recovery efforts following Hurricane Michael, the various Public Works departments in Dougherty County had a busy year in conducting their duties.

Public Works Director Larry Cook gave his department’s annual report for 2018 outlining those activities for the Dougherty County Commission last week.

Overall, a total of 53 Public Works staff members are employed in the county. Ten employees have a year or less of service; 20 employees have less than five years of service, and nine employees are eligible to retire. Last year, there was a 33.9 percent turnover rate in the department.

“I think it is money, quite frankly,” Cook said while addressing the turnover rate.

Drainage personnel cleaned 18 canals, while operating and maintaining 15 pumping stations and five portable pumps during heavy rain events. Their special projects included the demolition and removal of the old Radium Springs Country Club and its restrooms, as well as a county-owned building on Highland Avenue, building of a cul-de-sac on Grand Cyprus Lane and assistance to the city of Arlington in its recovery efforts from the hurricane.

Road maintenance staff was involved with 47.26 tons of litter removal, 14 driveway repairs and five driveway installations. Twenty-eight road sections were patched, cracks sealed on Old Pretoria Road and 56 trees moved. As for special projects, staff assisted Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful in “Stash the Trash” pickup, prepared sandbags for the hurricane, cleared roads and removed trees after the storm, and did stump removal and grinding at Radium Springs Gardens.

The Engineering staff took on the review of new construction projects, created bid packages for road resurfacing, inspected 7,798 linear feet of storm drainage lines, coordinated daily with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and contractors for storm cleanup, and implemented nine timber harvesting permits. They were also involved in the design work for the Radium Springs Storm Memorial, stormwater improvements on Jacqueline Drive, resurfacing and the Flint River Trail System.

The Engineering department also performed compliance inspections and assisted in the updated stormwater management plan, submitted the county’s permit with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, and submitted quarterly and annual reports to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission.

Fleet maintenance staff processed 2,340 work orders and distributed 33,291 gallons of diesel fuel. The environmental control staff sprayed 279,453 acres with adulticide, conducted 150 hours of light trap surveillance and utilized 1,762 gallons of pesticide for mosquito control.

Environmental control duties also included the logging of 215 mosquito compliant calls and the usage of 2,277 altosid briquettes. Staff also treated 403 miles of road for vegetation management, using 300 gallons of chemicals. They also mowed 369 miles of right-of-way, 267 acres of industrial parks and 144 aces of canal right-of-way — while also performing tree and limb removal from rights-of-way in the Crofton Subdivision, Lily Pond Road, Denson Road and Slade Avenue.

Environmental staff also provided education through three neighborhood watch programs and participated in the KADB water festival that educated more than 750 children on how to better protect the environment.

Parks maintenance personnel worked on Radium Springs Gardens, Robert Cross Park, Elliott Street Park, Putney Community Park, Dougherty County Public Library facilities, Public Works locations, Flint Resource Center, the former mule barn, all Dougherty EMS stations and the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit office. Staff’s special projects included the repair of storm-damaged fencing, tree trimming and removal, and stump grinding, as well as the re-establishment of greenspace.

The parks maintenance staff also oversaw rentals at Robert Cross Park and Radium Springs Gardens.

Among the upcoming projects for Cook’s staff are road widening, road improvements and resurfacing, canal maintenance for Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, installation of fitness systems at Robert Cross Park, walking trails and the storm memorial, and a ticket booth at Radium Springs.

The other agencies these employees assisted in 2018 were the Dougherty County Landfill, the Public Works staff with the city of Albany, KADB, Dougherty County Facilities Maintenance, Dougherty County Public Library, Albany Utilities and the Dougherty County Police Department.

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Staff Writer

I'm a 2007 graduate of Georgia Southern University, and I've been a reporter for The Albany Herald since 2008. I cover news related to health care, Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, SOWEGA Council on Aging and other areas as assigned.