ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Dougherty County Commissioners question whether it's safe to put money in the Albany Dougherty Inner City Authority's hands. The county is giving the Flint Riverquarium $250,000, but that money must be funneled through ADICA.
Because of an ongoing investigation into allegations of financial mismanagement at ADICA, county commissioners are nervous about letting ADICA touch any county money.
They decided to go ahead with the transfer, but they sent a clear message to the city to get the problems with ADICA cleared up quickly.
In the three years the County Commission has been helping finance the Flint Riverquarium, there's never been an issue with the money being paid through ADICA, but recent problems with ADICA has left some Dougherty County Commissioners with trust issues.
For County Commissioner Jack Stone it's a matter of trust and right now he doesn't trust what's happening at the Albany Dougherty Inner City Authority. "I would not put my own money in their hands under the circumstances now, and I would not definitely put Dougherty County taxpayer's money in their hand not with the situation like it is now," Stone said.
That's why he voted against the measure to send $250,000 to ADICA for the Flint Riverquarium. The measure eventually passed six to one but not before there were strong words for the city to get the mess cleaned up.
"What we really need is for them to be healthy and functioning and on mission and I think the approach should be of course we need to clean it up," said Dougherty County Commissioner Gloria Gaines.
All of Dougherty County's Commissioners agree, the agency is an important tool for bringing business downtown and what's good for downtown is good for the county as a whole.
"Urban areas are reviving, that people understand how important it is to have a strong center, a strong city center and I think we recognize that and I think ADICA is integral to a strong city center," said Gaines.
Fears were eased for many commissioners when it was explained the $250,000 will be made in monthly payments and County Administrator Richard Crowdis has promised to follow up on the funding.
"The funds will go to ADICA dedicated to the Riverquarium and economic development through the Riverquarium and that there should be a three day turnaround from the time that ADICA receives the funds and the time that the check is written to the Riverquarium," said Dougherty County Attorney Spencer Lee.
ADICA still owes the county more than $8,000 for four months of back rent on the Dollar Square location. That site was actually rented from the county by ADICA and leased to Dollar Square for a dollar.
The County Commission hasn't had a stake in ADICA in several years, but Monday commissioners offered their assistance to the city and said they would consider being a part of the organization again.