Dougherty Commissioners unanimously approve budget - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty Commissioners unanimously approve budget

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The new money plan wasn't OK'ed without some debate over the success of the economic development commission, which they help fund.

Dougherty County Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas and Commissioner John Hayes went back and forth. "I respectfully disagree with some of your analysis."

"I think it's important that we know that there is a plan," said Hayes.

Debating the progress of the Economic Development Commission. "Our investment, the investment of our quarter million and the city's quarter million every year, there ought to be some results," said Hayes.

"345 announced new jobs through recruitment and retention efforts," Cohilas said.

Cohilas says the progress can be seen from the number of jobs created. He says their plan is working, thanks to collaboration. "We have the ability to invest into a collaborative effort that's been created here through partnership between the county, the city and the business community."

While commissioners approved the more than $79 million budget, Hayes says he hopes to see data driven results and a strategic plan.

"My question is simply, what is our return on that investment? What is the taxpayers return on that investment? They're entitled to it. We just simply need to know what that is," said Hayes.

And regardless of the disagreements, Cohilas is confident this discussion is a positive one. "I disagreed with a specific precise position that was taken by commissioner Hayes. But it was a very fluid and positive discussion and overall, he and I totally agree that the only way that we're going to approach economic development here in this community is through collaboration."

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