Commissioners talk flood, political rules -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Commissioners talk flood, political rules

March 16, 2004

Albany - The new Riverwalk along the Flint River in downtown Albany is more than a nice place to jog. It may also stop future flooding. Geological experts are working with the City to find ways to stop catastrophic floods such as the one in 1994.

Hydrologists say cleaning trees and debris from under bridges will improve water flow and help control flooding. They told city leaders that clearing around the Riverwalk will do the same.

"It's improved the conveyance and reach along the river. It has improved the smoothness of the river banks, so the river will carry more water at less stage," said Hydrologist Thomas Dyer.

The U.S. Geological Survey designed computer software for the City that shows how improvements, such as smoothing out a man-made peninsula under the Broad Avenue bridge, will affect water flow during a flood. The city must pay the USGA $150,000 to utilize the flood model software and to continue their flood studies.

In other commission news, city employees must quit their jobs if they run for political office. But, City leaders say that ordinance should be changed.

Albany Police Lieutenant James Williams plans to run for Dougherty County Sheriff. Under the current city policy, he'll have to resign from the police department. Tuesday, commissioners tentatively agreed to change the ordinance to allow employees to take unpaid leaves during their campaigns.

"That way there would be no connection with the City at all, as far as anybody that might think there is an impropriety or undue influence with a city person trying to run for an office," said City Attorney C. Nathan Davis.

City employees running for office will still receive insurance during the unpaid leave. Commissioners must officially change the ordinance at the meeting next Tuesday.

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