ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Many in Dougherty County said they don’t like how they’re being notified of public hearings.
They said the signs and notifications the planning commission puts out aren’t enough, and they end up missing the meetings all together.
The county’s public hearings are the time and place for you in the community to tell commissioners your thoughts on ongoing issues.
But both commissioners and people WALB spoke to said the way everyone is being notified about rezoning issues and meetings just isn’t cutting it anymore.
“I think you’re vote is important. I think it gives you a voice, regardless of if you’re rich, poor, ugly or not,” said Karen Lance, a Dougherty County resident.
But what happens if you don’t know you have a vote on a certain topic?
“I want to get just more communication out, where the constituent will have an understanding about what’s actually going on in their neighborhood,” said District 2 Commissioner Victor Edwards.
The issue Dougherty County commissioners and people living in the area are dealing with right now is being notified of public hearings, particularly those regarding rezoning issues.
“It’s like with the liquor store on M.L. King. I think we could have got out the word a little bit better on what’s going on,” said Edwards.
Many said they didn’t know a possible liquor store was coming to their neighborhood, so they didn’t go to a public hearing to tell commissioners their thoughts on it. And now it’s left many questioning the way they’re notified of rezoning requests.
“Sometimes, if you’re busy, and you’re going by, you think one of these little signs in the yard is advertising lawn care or something," said Lance.
Lance has lived in the county for almost 15 years. She said the green public hearing notice signs the planning commission puts out just aren’t enough.
Many are asking the signs be bigger, the notifications be sent out sooner and potentially even put on social media and online.
“It gives people a fighting chance on both sides, regardless of how you feel,” Lance said.
Paul Forgey, the Dougherty County Planning Commission director, told commissioners they’re considering these changes and updates to the notification process.
Commissioners asked they discuss them even further and in more depth at a later meeting.
T-SPLOST was another item on Dougherty County leaders’ minds, with only a little over a month left until a special called March ballot.
But in the end, it’s your vote that will determine if the county will have a new 1 cent sales tax.
The first T-SPLOST meeting will be Tuesday night and it’s open to anyone who still has questions about the transportation funding before you can vote yes or no in March.
District 6 Commissioner Anthony Jones will lead the town hall meeting. It’s your chance to ask why you should vote for a 1 cent sales tax increase.
The tax would give the county and city money to fund different projects like road resurfacing.
“The worst thing in the world is if something’s passed and then we have a lot of folks who come in and say they didn’t get the message. So that’s why we’re having these meetings throughout the community and throughout Albany-Dougherty County, so it’s very important that people are aware. Awareness is everything,” said Jones.
The meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the East Albany Police Precinct.
There will also be a meeting Thursday morning at 8:30 at the Government Center.
On Thursday, county commissioners will officially vote whether to put T-SPLOST on the March ballot.
City commissioners have already approved it.
February 11, 2019 is now officially known as Emergency Management Day in Dougherty County.
It’s in honor of Albany Fire Department Chief Cedric Scott and Emergency Management Director Jenna Chang.
Scott and Chang were surprised on Monday with a special recognition by Dougherty County commissioners for their work during Hurricane Michael.
The two said they were honored Monday, but they couldn’t have done it without help from their staff and other agencies.
“It takes all of us to meet the demands of disasters that occur and our community really should be commended for the way they pulled together in a time of need,” said Scott.
Scott and Chang said they’re sharing these awards with everyone who gave up their time to help the community after the storm.