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      Dougherty County Commission hears from community

      The Dougherty County Commission held a work session Monday morning and heard from several members of the community.They first heard from Barbara Rivera Holmes with the Albany-Dougherty Economic Commission who presented their new "We are Albany" video. The video highlighted the city and county and is being used to bring people here to work, live, and raise a family.The board heard next from Lt. Terron Hayes and Sheriff Sproul with an update on the youth programs they provide. Lt. Hayes talked about various programs such as: the holiday good basket giveaway, back to school supply giveaway, coats for chances, scared straight intervention program, belt for boys/gift for girls, etc. Lt. Hayes says lately their scared straight program has been very popular, they've done over 200 interventions. He also touched on their CHAMPS program which provides services for kids during the school year and summer and teaches them about drugs, bullying, gangs, etc.Denver Hooten, the county tax director, spoke next with an update on taxes (paid and unpaid.) Hooten said for the last several years they've had 98 or 99% collections in terms of property taxes. These taxes are due this year on December 20th. They usually send between 5,000 and 6,000 letters to citizens that owe property taxes. Hooten said her team really stays on top of things in terms of collecting these taxes.Hooten also wanted to talk to the board about those that are not paying property taxes. She says this is slowly becoming a problem. From 2006 to now there are over 1,000 parcels with unpaid real property. The accumulated total loss from those parcels is $782,751.