News Line for Albany

It's cowards who give up on downtown
The biggest obstacle that stands in the way of downtown redevelopment is the lack of courage — the absence of the American spirit, if you will — necessary to face a challenge
Source: Albany Herald

Albany Public Works’ Roberson elevated to assistant city manager
Despite one Albany city commissioner’s expressed concerns about “subtraction by addition,” interim City Manager Tom Berry said Wednesday morning the elevation of long-time Public Works Director Phil Roberson to an assistant city manager’s position at the City Commission’s business session Tuesday night is an important part of a team concept he wants to bring to the city government.
Source: Albany Herald

Aviation Commission members recommended for another term
The Albany-Dougherty Aviation Commission decided to keep its membership intact Monday, unanimously voting to recommend to the Albany City Commission that Aviation Commission Chairman Dr. William Mayher and commissioner Dr. Charles Gillespie remain on the seven-member panel.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany City Commissioner Tommie Postell a lightning rod for controversy
Tommie Postell is, hands down, the most outspoken politician in Southwest Georgia. The Ward VI Albany City Commissioner is a lightning rod for controversy, offering his own unique take on pretty much any topic that comes before the commission and others that don’t.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany’s interim downtown manager passionate about redevelopment
Sharlene Cannon gave retirement a shot. She really did, actually spent a year away from her passion for revitalizing small-town America to focus on the things she’d always wanted to do.
Source: Albany Herald

CARLTON FLETCHER: Downtown is dangerous lament lacks proof
As colleague Brad McEwen typed the weekend law enforcement reports into the newspaper’s computer system Monday, a seeming statistical anomaly jumped out at him.
Source: Albany Herald

CARLTON FLETCHER: Albany gets a mix of the good and bad
There’s still so, so much work to do. And there are still so, so many issues that must be addressed.
Source: Albany Herald

Berry accepts city manager’s position
After meeting with Mayor Dorothy Hubbard Tuesday night, Tom Berry confirmed Wednesday that he has accepted the nomination to serve as the city’s interim city manager.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany City Manager James Taylor resigns; Tom Berry named interim
The Albany City Commission voted 7-0 today after an extended executive session to accept the resignation of City Manager James Taylor.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany City Commission OKs multimodal proposal
While most of the fireworks at Tuesday’s Albany City Commission work session focused on the resignation of City Manager James Taylor and the surprise vote to name former Water, Gas & Light Commission interim General Manager Tom Berry as Taylor’s replacement, commissioners still managed to consider a full slate of agenda items, including moving forward with the city’s proposed multimodal transportation site.
Source: Albany Herald

New 'Albany Hose' lighter and efficient firefighting tool
How often do we think about fire hose? If the worst should happen, it can help us save our homes, businesses — and even our lives, and yet we hardly give it the time of day.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany town meeting to address new gun law
Georgia’s new “open carry” law for handguns will be the topic of a town hall meeting Saturday morning at the East Albany Community Center, 1721 E. Oglethorpe Blvd., says Albany Mayor Pro Tem and Ward I Commissioner Jon Howard.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany City Commission approves budget, parking ordinance
It was a City Commission meeting where most of the fireworks came during a pre-briefing beforehand, fireworks that led to Thursday’s resignation by interim Water, Gas & Light Commission General Manager Tom Berry, but city leaders did manage Wednesday to approve a Fiscal Year 2015 budget and finally agree on an ordinance that will allow neighborhoods to regulate automobile parking.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany Police Department receives safety grant
The Albany Police Department has been awarded a grant by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in the amount of $8,000, police officials say.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany’s downtown redevelopment momentum picks up steam
Of all the business owners currently considering a move downtown, lured by promises of low rent and an inner-city renaissance, few may be better suited than Gene Kirk and his Break Away Cycles, where owner Kirk sells and repairs bicycles and offers pretty much any bike accessory available.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany commissioners tentatively add money for Flint RiverQuarium, Civil Rights Institute
Bucking Albany City Manager James Taylor’s budget recommendations, the Albany City Commission voted 4-3 Tuesday at a work session to supplement both the Flint RiverQuarium’s and the Albany Civil Rights Institute’s operating expenses with a total of $300,000 in funding.
Source: Albany Herald

CARLTON FLETCHER: It's 'crunch time' for city of Albany's leaders
What’s that old saying about insanity and doing the same thing while expecting different results?
Source: Albany Herald

Albany utility projects $132 million budget
Although Albany Water, Gas & Light commissioners won’t have a final say in the utility’s first-ever spending plan incorporated into the city of Albany’s budget, the board gave its tentative OK to an “aggressive” $131,943,844 budget that would require small utility rates increases at Thursday’s WG&L meeting.
Source: Albany Herald

Aaron Blair leaving Albany for California
Downtown Manager Aaron Blair announced this morning he would be leaving Albany around the first of July to take a position as president/CEO of downtown Fresno, Calif.
Source: Albany Herald

Gun bill, multimodal discussions dominate called Albany City Commission meeting
The Albany City Commission held a called work session Tuesday morning to discuss elements of the city’s pending Fiscal Year 2015 budget, but discussion of House Bill 60 and a proposed multimodal transportation site dominated the lengthy meeting.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany Cops on Doughnut Shops set to raise money for Special Olympics
Despite the jokes about cops and their doughnuts, local officers and those circular sweet treats will be “raising some dough” this month for a great cause.
Source: Albany Herald

Charter amendment would make Albany city manager head of Albany utility
After what could generously be called “spirited debate,” the Albany City Commission voted 5-2 at its work session Tuesday morning to tentatively approve an amendment to the City Charter that would make the city manager also the general manager of the city’s Water, Gas & Light Commission.
Source: Albany Herald

Wal-Mart officials plan to bypass city of Albany utility over denied electric rate cut
Management of the Walmart Neighborhood Market grocery store that will be located at the intersection of Westover and Gillionville roads apparently has no qualms about cutting the city of Albany out of utility services for the 41,000-square-foot grocery store.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany police give ‘grades’ on car break-in prevention
Members of the Crime Prevention Community Relations unit of the Albany Police Department were out in force Wednesday, checking to see if unattended cars were locked or if valuable items had been left inside.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany City Commission tables parking ordinance for second time
First, Albany City Commissioners said they wanted a law on the books that restricted parking on residential property within the city limits. Now, after Tuesday’s commission business meeting, maybe not.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany officials address complaints about stormwater fees
City of Albany officials have gone back into education mode to stem the storm that’s been brewing over the newly implemented stormwater fees that first appeared on utility customers’ bills in April.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany City Commission raises verbal stink over garbage contract
verbal stink arose from the Albany City Commission’s discussion about a garbage contract Tuesday, as Commissioners Bobby Coleman, Roger Marietta and Jon Howard pushed to go through a rebidding process in an attempt to guarantee minority participation in the contract.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany Aviation Commission wants drywall cracks at new terminal repaired
Although an engineer’s findings confirmed an earlier report that hairline cracks in drywall installed at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport’s new $10 million terminal posed no structural threat, the Albany-Dougherty Aviation Commission voted Monday evening to inform the terminal contractor that the board expects the three most noticeable cracks to be repaired.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany officials monitor, but leave alone, hidden homeless population
Albany law enforcement and public health officials have settled for grudging acceptance of an ever-changing — and some officials say dangerously large — homeless population that has settled into a wooded area just south of 16th Avenue in North Albany, directly adjacent to Phoebe North hospital and the new Arlington Park subdivision currently under construction.
Source: Albany Herald

City of Albany proposes $128 million FY 2015 budget
City Manager James Taylor gave the Albany City Commission and other department heads a first look at the city’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget at a called commission meeting Wednesday morning.
Source: Albany Herald

CARLTON FLETCHER: City of Albany right to seek panhandler ordinance
After telling an aggressive panhandler four separate times that he did not have money to give him and having the panhandler try and open the door to his vehicle in the parking lot of a local convenience store, a teen driver finally got the persistent beggar to leave him alone by indicating the weapon that was readily available in the vehicle.
Source: Albany Herald

City officials outline plans to incorporate WG&L services
After interim Water, Gas & Light Commission General Manager Tom Berry updated the WG&L board Thursday morning on previously independent in-house services that are gradually being incorporated into similar city services, City Manager James Taylor offered the board a slice of reality.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany City Commission considers panhandling ordinance
The Albany City Commission voted Tuesday morning to table action on a proposed aggressive solicitation ordinance until commissioners receive additional information.
Source: Albany Herald

Dougherty County officials praise downtown manager for development plans
While Albany’s downtown Central Business District is more closely associated with the Albany City Commission, it was the Dougherty County Commission that was singing Downtown Manager Aaron Blair’s praises Monday morning after Blair gave a condensed version of his State of Downtown address at the County Commission’s business meeting.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany's interim utilities manager questions leaders' push against plans
Tom Berry, who’s made it clear since he came to Albany as interim Water, Gas & Light Commission general manager in September of 2013 that there’s little room for personal attachments in his business, offers a sheepish grin when he’s asked the question.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany utility, Dougherty School System propose partnership
The city’s Water, Gas & Light Commission board approved Thursday a service agreement and voted to recommend that the Albany City Commission enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the Dougherty County School System
Source: Albany Herald

City Commission clears path for West Albany Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market
Albany city commissioners laid the infrastructure groundwork Tuesday morning for development of a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market grocery store and complementary fueling station at Logan Court and South Westover Boulevard, just off Gillionville Road near the recently built West Albany Waffle House.
Source: Albany Herald

ADICA dreams big on downtown development plan
For City Attorney Nathan Davis, the choice put before the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority Board Wednesday afternoon was a simple one.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany City Commissioner B.J. Fletcher: Tax owners of dilapidated properties
When businesswoman B.J. Fletcher campaigned for the Ward III Albany City Commission seat, she vowed to do what was best for her constituents, no matter whose feathers she might ruffle.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany ordinance may ban some attention-getting signs
Attention-getting signs that distract drivers on city streets are among the confirmed targets of the city’s Planning Department as Albany officials prepare to upgrade the city’s sign ordinance.
Source: Albany Herald

Northwest Albany water tower will eliminate low water pressure issues
The city’s Water, Gas & Light Commission passed a motion of support Wednesday for moving forward with a Northwest Albany water tower project designed to eliminate water pressure problems in part of the region.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany City Commission denies West Third Avenue rezoning for fourth time
The five tracts of land located at 1601, 1603, 1605, 1607 and 1609 W. Third Ave. will maintain their single-family residential zoning for the time being, but as businessman Bo Johnson noted during a public hearing held to discuss a rezoning request that would allow office-based businesses at the addresses, “This issue is going to keep coming up.”
Source: Albany Herald

Albany business owners ask for sign ordinance common sense
As the city of Albany considers a tweaking of its existing sign ordinance, a number of small business owners took the opportunity to express their concerns to members of a sign task force that met for the third time Thursday morning.
Source: Albany Herald

Dismal 2013 gives way to 2014 optimism for Albany Downtown Manager Aaron Blair
Downtown Manager Aaron Blair was feeling “inspired” Tuesday afternoon, fresh out of a meeting with representatives of Charlotte, N.C.-based developer Shandon Development Properties and the local Hilton Garden Inn and coming off his well-received — if sparsely attended — St. Patrick’s Day state of downtown address Monday evening.
Source: Albany Herald

Phoebe asks city of Albany for $858,000 fee credit for stormwater work the hospital did in 2006
While the Albany City Commission voted to table a request by Phoebe Putney Health System to allow $858,000 in previous stormwater improvement payments to count as credit toward monthly stormwater fees being implemented in the city, City Attorney Nathan Davis said the request is not allowable under the city’s recently passed stormwater ordinance.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard selected Mayor of the Year by Atlanta group
When Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard learned in late January that she had been nominated for a Georgia Minority Business Award as Mayor of the Year, she didn’t think a whole lot about it.
Source: Albany Herald

Play Ball! 96-year-old former mayor throws first pitch.
At 96 years of age, former Albany Mayor Jimmie Davis could not remember the last time he threw a baseball, but it might have been in the spring of 1964 when he threw out the first pitch to open Albany’s Dixie Youth Baseball’s inaugural season.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany downtown manager Aaron Blair addresses Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County
A few weeks in front of his “State of the Downtown” meeting, Albany Downtown Manager and ADICA CEO Aaron Blair, gave members of the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County a preview of some of what will be discussed at that meeting.
Source: Albany Herald

City of Albany’s Fiscal Year 2013 audit report a good-news, bad-news mix
Meredith Lipson shared CPA firm Mauldin & Jenkins’ “audit agenda” with Albany city commissioners at their work session Tuesday morning. But not without a fight.
Source: Albany Herald

Utility GM Tom Berry: City, Water, Gas and Light must change culture
Tom Berry told the crowd of some 50 East Albany residents that he would talk about general services provided by Albany’s Water, Gas & Light Commission, not about specific concerns.
Source: Albany Herald

OUTLOOK 2014: EDC shows residents why they should love their city
In 1952, a famous comic strip opossum named Pogo made a profound statement: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Source: Albany Herald

Albany City Manager Taylor: Tift Park is not for sale
James Taylor’s well aware of the “contact your local officials” campaign that has sprung up around the city’s “plans to sell off historic Tift Park, parcel by parcel.” There’s just one thing the Albany city manager says is wrong with the campaign. Tift Park’s not for sale.
Source: Albany Herald

Task force convenes to discuss Albany sign ordinance
A dozen members of a citizens Sign Task Force met with city officials Thursday to begin discussions of a “new and improved” citywide sign ordinance that would replace the existing ordinance.
Source: Albany Herald

CARLTON FLETCHER: Finding the fine line between inspiration and what was I thinking?
I had a cousin once who was at that age where he was expected to start making decisions about his future, so I asked him if he had any kind of career goals in mind.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany city officials defend need for pit bull ordinance
With a week to go before city officials are scheduled to take a vote on a proposed ordinance that would place stricter controls on pit bulldog ownership, the debate continued Tuesday over the need for a breed-specific ordinance.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany officials OK proposal to raise ticket prices at Chehaw Wild Animal Park
For the first time since 2011, visitors to Chehaw’s wild animal park will pay more for admission tickets starting April 18.
Source: Albany Herald

City of Albany terminates lease with Panthers
Assistant City Manager Wes Smith informed The Herald on Tuesday that the city of Albany has terminated its lease agreement with the Albany Panthers, leaving the Professional Indoor Football League without a venue for the 2014 season, which was already in jeopardy for financial reasons.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany City Commission continues discussion of pit bull ordinance
Johanna Falber was not exactly given the Chamber of Commerce red-carpet treatment by the Albany City Commission at that body’s work session Tuesday morning.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany City Commission votes to do away with TAD oversight committee
The Albany City Commission approved with a nonbinding vote Tuesday morning an amendment that would dissolve the Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee created to oversee spending of tax funds in the city’s special tax district.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany City Attorney Nathan Davis, staff come up big in discrimination suit
A U.S. District Court jury simply said “No” recently when asked if the city of Albany had denied APD Capt. Brian Lavoie an opportunity to fairly compete for a promotion within the department. And it was the jury’s one-word statement that spoke loudest.
Source: Albany Herald

Bond funding vital to downtown Albany development
When Downtown Manager Aaron Blair talks about projects completed or in the works in the inner city’s historic district — the Art Park, Pine Avenue Streetscape, canoe/kayak launches, lighting in the historic Old Northside neighborhood, renovation of the Albany Theatre — he never fails to mention the bond funding that pays for the projects.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany City Commission approves funding for multimodal assessment
It may have been only another “baby step” in the drawn-out process of bringing a multimodal transportation center to the city, but the Albany City Commission did take a step at its business meeting Tuesday night.
Source: Albany Herald

Albany city officials recognize police officer, civilians
While Albany’s city commissioners were conducting business at their most recent meeting, some time was taken to honor those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to serve the city’s residents
Source: Albany Herald