Community members ask Dougherty County commissioners for more input

Community members ask Dougherty County commissioners for more input
Residents want an easier way to find information online.

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Some Dougherty County residents said they want more say in how tax dollars are spent.

It started with a suggestion for commissioners to form a resident ran SPLOST oversight committee.

This sparked a larger conversation about making county business more easily accessible.

A request at Monday’s commission meeting sparked the conversation.

“Kind of pitch the idea of having an appointed member group that really represents the interests of the citizens,” Chad Warbington, Dougherty County resident, said.

Dougherty County resident, Chad Warbington. (Source: WALB)
Dougherty County resident, Chad Warbington. (Source: WALB)

Warbington suggested to county commissioners, that they form what he calls a “SPLOST Citizen Oversight Committee,” something people in this area would fully run, giving them a say in what projects commissioners decide to do.

"Having more of a system, more of a committee, more involvement in terms of managing and operating and having transparency towards that,” Warbington said.

This led to a bigger conversation, one of whether the commission’s decisions can be found easily by the tax payers and voters.

“Are we doing a good enough job? A good enough job of communicating? My answer to that is no, but we’re improving,” questioned Dougherty County Commission Chairman, Chris Cohilas.

The board has approved spending a little more than $42,000 to create a new, easy to use county website.

“Making it more accessible and the visibility of it and easy to use,” Wendy Howell, Dougherty County public information officer, said.

The current Dougherty County website. (Source: WALB)
The current Dougherty County website. (Source: WALB)

People said it’s hard to find any information on the current, outdated website which leaves the community frustrated and without any answers. The board is now working to change that.

“Adding forms and interactive functions to the site will be a big plus to our citizens in Dougherty County,” said Howell.

The county will start working on the new site this month.

The board will also work with Warbington to discuss the idea of a SPLOST Citizen Oversight Committee in more detail.

More from Monday’s commission meeting:

Another rezoning issue has Dougherty County residents upset.

County commissioners heard from the Planning Commission.

The commission recommended the rezoning request be approved, despite neighbors’ opposition.

Larry Walden wants the commission to rezone around 45 acres of land from agricultural use to commercial use.

The zoning notice at the corner of Pecan Lane and Moultrie Road. (Source: WALB)
The zoning notice at the corner of Pecan Lane and Moultrie Road. (Source: WALB)

It’s on Pecan Lane, with a rezoning notice at the corner of Pecan Lane and Moultrie Road.

According to the Planning Commission, Walden wants to use the land to store surplus vehicles.

They recommend the rezoning request be approved on certain conditions: the hours of operation are only from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and a 100 foot wooded buffer must be built to minimize any dust and visual impact created by the storage lot.

“Until these folks out there are satisfied, I’m going to be standing with those folks out there in the area because of the fact they brought to my attention that the group hadn’t been neighborly out there,” Commissioner Anthony Jones said.

Neighbors in the area told commissioners at last week's meeting they don't want the commercial business built in their subdivisions.

They’ll have their chance to voice their concerns again at next Monday’s Public Hearing on the issue.

Commissioners will vote whether to approve the rezoning request after the public hearing.

Another upcoming event discussed at the commission meeting:

Fallen officers in Albany-Dougherty County will be honored in a special ceremony this week.

Albany Technical College will celebrate Peace Officers Memorial Day.

Albany Technical College to host Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony Wednesday. (Source: WALB)
Albany Technical College to host Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony Wednesday. (Source: WALB)

It's a day to remember officers killed or disabled in the line of duty.

This year’s ceremony will recognize officers from the Albany Police Department, Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office, Dougherty County Police Department, and the United States Marine Corps.

“We’d love to have you there. I’m saying this publicly in front of everyone. A lot of folks don’t know about this and they always find out about this when they see me in the community when it’s over. So we’d love for you to be there and support our men and women who serve our community every day,” Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul said.

The ceremony happens Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Kirkland Building at Albany Tech.

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