Dougherty Co. Commission focuses on local improvements and investments

Dougherty Co. Commission focuses on investing locally
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 6:30 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Dougherty County commissioners are working to make buildings in the county safer and more connected.

Commissioners voted on improvements like weatherproofing buildings, roof restoration, and even better cell service.

The Albany Rescue Mission was approved to restore their roof, costing about $57,000.

The Dougherty County Health Department was also approved to restore their exterior wall and replace their fire alarms.

When it comes to improving cell service in the area, commissioners say there’s an upfront cost. But it’s a cost that the county will benefit from on the back end.

Anthony Jones is the commissioner for District 6.

“Improvements are always high on our list. And this cell tower, this is going to be a big deal for the county,” Jones said. “This is going to help offset our tax digest. Because we have all these different cell towers with Verizon; all these different phone companies. And we need to capture the funds for them using these towers.”

Anthony Jones is the commissioner for District 6.
Anthony Jones is the commissioner for District 6.(WALB)

The total cost for the cell tower re-valuation is $170,000; shifting the county budget.

“2023 budget increase was that $170,000 you saw coming towards those cell towers,” Jones said. “And we had to do that because anytime- the budget is always, its fluid. It’s moving all the time. So any time that we have something that wasn’t budgeted, these cell towers wasn’t budgeted. You have to bring it before the commission and then you have to amend the budget. It happens all the time.”

Commissioner Clinton Johnson says all of these projects are made possible by the people who live and operate businesses in Dougherty County.

“Keeping the tax digest equal is most important,” Johnson said. “And so we do property taxes. And that’s how we fund the majority of our work. And so our job is to just make sure that everybody’s paying taxes right at the correct rate and nothing more than that.”

Clinton Johnson is the commissioner for District 3.
Clinton Johnson is the commissioner for District 3.(WALB)

Commissioners also made changes regarding committees.

Other matters of business included addressing a vacancy in the Retirement Fund Committee. With only one applicant, commissioners want to find the right person for the position.

“That’s a big investment because you’ll have to spend thirty years, forty years if you want to retire,” Jones said. “And so certainly, anytime we can keep good folks on that it helps our employees once they retire, they’ll have funds and they’ll have a residual income that’s coming in. Certainly, we want to always keep good people on these boards and so forth, so that we can help our citizens and employees as they retire and move into the sunset of their lives.”

The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council also received a $200,000 grant.

“The funds are going to help towards certain things that-basically what they have in there,” Jones said. “Any time of criminal activity is going to help offset the costs. And certainly, that’s a very important grant that we have coming in. It’s going to help them. Plus, it’s also going to offset put budget. Grants are always free money. That’s the best kind of money you can have.”

Jones adds that grants are another way to add money to the overall budget.