ATI asks for left-over sales tax money - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

ATI asks for left-over sales tax money

July 18, 2006

Albany - Albany Tomorrow warns city leaders more money may be needed to finish downtown projects now that the City is taking away park improvement money to clean up contaminated property.

Tommy Chatmon said a proposed pedestrian bridge over the Flint River downtown would have to be put on hold for now. ATI must get FEMA and state permits to build the structure over the river and that could take up to three years.

Chatmon said the money the city is reallocating from park improvements to clean up contaminated city property shouldn't delay any more downtown projects. But he did ask city commissioners to consider giving ATI any sales tax money earned above and beyond the estimated amount back to ATI so the pedestrian bridge could be built later. City commissioners said they would discuss it, but made no promises.

In other news, Albany failed to give enough work to minority businesses because of possible oversights in the disadvantaged business office. The City sets goals as to how much minority participation is needed for taxpayers projects. But recent work at the airport, which is governed by the federal government, revealed many of the small and minority businesses in this area haven't been licensed by the state -- a requirement for doing work on the airport.

The City Manager said he had no idea Albany and Dougherty County's disadvantaged business office wasn't mandating businesses meet the state guidelines.

"We certainly missed a moral point on what we want to do," said Alfred Lott. "We want to involved everybody here. If these airport projects are eliminating all of our local DBE's (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise), then we've had a mission failure. We're going to fix that."

The City Manager stopped short of blaming the Disadvantaged Business Office leader, Pinky Douglas, for the problems. But he did say he was going to investigate the office to make sure the city was following the laws when it comes to hiring minority businesses.

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