Safety fees may rise for Dougherty County -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Safety fees may rise for Dougherty County

County Administrator Richard Crowdis County Administrator Richard Crowdis
Vice Chair Gloria Gaines Vice Chair Gloria Gaines

Dougherty County will soon have to pay the city of Albany more for fire protection and recreation services. On Monday, commissioners discussed Service Delivery Agreements that are set to expire next summer. They hope to avoid a property tax hike for residents in unincorporated areas of the county.

The houses in the special services district of Dougherty County could become more expensive to keep out of harm's way.

"The County commission contracts with the fire department. So I'm sure that will continue. It's just at what cost it will continue at, and that's what we'll be discussing," said County Administrator Richard Crowdis.

The Albany Fire Department has provided fire protection to county residents for years to prevent a duplication of services. It comes at an annual cost of roughly $3.2 million, but that could change after an in-depth review.

"There hasn't been a study done since 1991. So this is the first full comprehensive study that reviewed the cost of service," said Crowdis.

Recreation services, last reviewed in 2006, cost the county about $154,000 a year and have also been evaluated. Now, city and county staff will meet and review the data to come up with recommendations for city and county leaders.

"I'm very encouraged by the process and I'm very encouraged by the prospect of us reaching an amicable agreement on the two agreements that are up for re-negotiation," said Vice Chair Gloria Gaines.

 The county administrator says the added expense of fire protection could affect the special services district that already operates on tight budgets. Gaines says the county increased the property tax rate for the area by one-Mil last year, and is confident that will cover the difference.

"That is certainly our hope as we go into the se discussions that the increase from last year will be sufficient to provide the services at the level they're provided now," said Gaines.

Gaines says the city and county have a good working relationship, and is City and county staff will begin reviewing the cost of services next month. They'll bring back recommendations in February. The agreements expire June 30th. The other 24 Service Delivery Agreements will extend through 2016.


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