Dougherty Co. Commissioners question effectiveness of 311 system

Dougherty Co. Commissioners question effectiveness of 311 system

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Dougherty County Commissioners had a long discussion Monday about whether or not the 311 system is working well.

It’s used to report blight.

Commissioner Anthony Jones said there’s an issue of blight in his district, specifically issues of old cars and junk being left in yards.

Jones hoped to address the issue of categorizing "junky yards" as blighted homes.

Other commissioners said 311 isn’t working.

Chairman Chris Cohilas and Commissioners Russell Gray and Victor Edwards said they wonder why workers don’t patrol and report blight more.

They also question why tickets and fines aren’t given.

“The reason we operate on complaints is because we don’t patrol the entire unincorporated area. We don’t go look for those kinds of violations. He could make a defense that this is selective prosecution and this is the reason we operate on complaints,” said Dougherty County Attorney Spencer Lee.

Dougherty County Attorney, Spencer Lee.
Dougherty County Attorney, Spencer Lee. (Source: WALB)

Lee said people also don’t always want to tell on their neighbors, even though it can be reported anonymously.

Code Enforcement Chief Robert Carter said he believes the system has been working well, but getting a homeowner to remove a blighted property takes time.

More from Monday’s work session:

Several upgrades could make Albany firefighters’ jobs safer.

There are several upgrades that could make Albany firefighters’ jobs safer.

Albany Fire Department Chief Cedric Scott said the department is behind the rest of the state on getting the new safety upgrades.

Scott asked Dougherty County Commissioners for a new pumping truck.

It would cost around $713,000.

An example of a new safety feature on AFD trucks.
An example of a new safety feature on AFD trucks. (Source: WALB)
Cedric Scott, Albany Fire Department chief.
Cedric Scott, Albany Fire Department chief. (Source: WALB)

He also asked the board to set aside more money in the upcoming budget.

It would go towards a new fleet, including upgrades, like better-placed hoses and ladders and a new foam system, all to put out fires quicker.

“An opportunity for us to address a number of issues from safety enhancements to operational enhancements and the ability to just move forward as an organization and a fire department to be able to continue to serve this community at a high level,” said Scott.

Scott said they’d also like to buy a tanker truck for $530,000.

This is something he said other departments in the state use as well.

Updates on the Radium Spring Memorial:

Updates on the Radium Spring Memorial

A 12-foot-tall memorial will honor the five people who died in the 2017 storms in Dougherty County.

The Radium Springs Memorial is another step closer to completion. But first, Dougherty County Commissioners will need to approve another payment to do even more updates.

The memorial is currently under construction in the Radium Springs Garden.

It will stand 12 feet tall with white columns, etched with the names of those who lost their lives in the January 2017 storms.

Construction was already set to cost around $572,000.

Construction is underway on the Radium Springs Memorial.
Construction is underway on the Radium Springs Memorial. (Source: WALB)

Now, commissioners may need to spend another almost $64,000.

Dougherty County Assistant Administrator Scott Addison said when they started building the memorial, they didn’t know where the Georgia Power transformers were going to be.

Now, they need to upgrade the electricity infrastructure.

“Enough service for potential upgrades of Ron Huffman’s master plan in the future. So, we recommend approval of this, so we can move forward and have the power to meet our needs,” Addison said.

Scott Addison, Dougherty County assistant administrator.
Scott Addison, Dougherty County assistant administrator. (Source: WALB)

Huffman designed the memorial.

It needs access to electricity to make sure lights can be put around the memorial to light it at night.

Monday’s meeting was just a work session, so they’ll vote whether to approve it at their next regular session, which is next Monday.

Another item from Monday’s work session:

Neighborhood petitioning Dougherty County leaders to help with a speeding issue

A neighborhood is petitioning Dougherty County leaders to help them with a speeding issue.

The River Pointe Golf Club Owner and homeowners in the subdivision say drivers are speeding through the area.

They're asking for two speed tables to prevent drivers from going too fast.

Dougherty County Public Works did a speed study and say the neighborhood qualifies for the traffic calming devices.

Neighbors want speed tables to keep drivers from going too fast.
Neighbors want speed tables to keep drivers from going too fast. (Source: WALB)
Jeremy Brown, Dougherty County Public Works engineer.
Jeremy Brown, Dougherty County Public Works engineer. (Source: WALB)

“Their main concern is for each round of golf you play, you have to cross the road twice. Golf carts get pretty close to getting hit and people coming in and out of the golf course parking lot itself, there’s a big issue there with people speeding in and out of the residential neighborhood between Philema Road and the actual part of the subdivision where people live,” Jeremy Brown, a public works engineer, said.

County officials said two speed tables will cost around $8,900 to build, which the county would pay for.

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