City cutting sections to save cash

New target areas. / Jessica Fairley

Albany's Department of Community and Economic Development is proposing a way to impact the community on a budget that's been drastically cut.

The proposed plan released during Wednesday night's public hearing is set up to leave out some portions of the city.

Presenters say this is a cost saving measure. They say although it's not a new notion that Albany ranks among the poorest cities in the nation, when compared to the state, the numbers are even dimmer.

"As a state, based on the census data alone, we are the highest in the state of Georgia, as far as major metropolitan areas that receives DCBG federal funds," says Jonathan Tomko, Community Planner for the Department of Community and Economic Development.

Tomko says Albany is facing the greatest reductions in funding among community development groups in the state. As a result of this, officials have to change their strategy by focusing their resources more and engaging the community.

One way of doing this is by reducing the target area.

Officials are taking their services from two parts of the city; this includes a portion of east Albany, near the old Cooper Tires plant and west Albany.

"The second area was in west Albany. It actually had the highest household income or medium household income of any of the census tracks where we focus," says Jonathan Tomko.

He says this change will help their dollar go farther into the target population.

Officials have also considered staff reductions and partnerships with other organizations to save money.

Administrators are also introducing a plan to help house impoverished families.

"It is a program that is similar to the Section 8 voucher program. The difference is that there is an expiration date," says Phyllis Brown, Program and Compliance Manager of the Department of Community and Economic Development.

Brown says after two years and mandatory classes, the families are expected to be self sufficient. She says the tenant based rental assistance program is a hand-up for financial success.

The proposed plan has not been approved. It was brought before the public for input. Anyone interested in sending in comments can do so through June 25th.

Comments can be sent in to Jonathan Tomko at or the City of Albany's Department of Community and Economic Development at 230 S. Jackson Street, Suite 315, Albany, Ga. 31702.