Gurr says tough decisions need to be made - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Gurr says tough decisions need to be made

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

January 13, 2009

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An Albany City Commissioner doesn't want to give the Flint Riverquarium more of your tax money. He says the money should be spent to improve public safety.

Commissioner Morris Gurr voted against giving the Riverquarium any more money Tuesday. Riverquarium managers asked the city for $50,000. Gurr wants to use that money to put up street lights in alleys in crime riddled neighborhoods.

Riverquarium CEO Scott Loehr approached the city commission Tuesday morning to ask for an additional $50,000 from the city to help fund the Riverquarium. That's on top of $250,000 the city already gave the center this fiscal year. Money that's tough to come by these days.

"All indications are that these are some hard economic times for us," said Commissioner Morris Gurr.  He made it clear after Loehr made his request, he was not in favor of additional funding.

"I will not be voting to support another $50,000 to the Riverquarium," Gurr said.  He said if the city can find $50,000 to spend, he has an idea where they can use it. He wants alleys in crime infested neighborhoods lit up.

"It would give them a sense of security, better quality of life, being able to just go out and put the trash out after dark."

He's estimated that 500 lights could be installed in alleys throughout the city. Interim Police Chief Wilma Griffin says she thinks it's a good idea.  She said, "I think perhaps the citizens will feel more comfortable with more lighting and it hopefully will deter, normally it does deter crime."

"In dark," said Gurr, "things seem to multiply, bad things, and you keep a light on the area, in the area, as much light as you can keep in there, it usually helps deter."

The city could pay for the program using some of the money the now defunct ATI board will no longer need. The City Manager is looking into how feasible the project is, and commissioners will discuss it at a future meeting.

The commission tentatively voted to give the Riverquarium $25,000 if the county also agrees to donate $25,000. Commissioner Gurr voted against that motion.

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