The Evans Government Complex held a special public meeting on Columbia County's stormwater utility tax Sept. 11.
Although not well publicized, it was publicized more than those that preceded it.
This was an after-the-fact meeting which would present the overview of the program and address questions.
Many good points were made and many good questions were asked by residents who spoke. I'm sorry to say that many of the questions were ignored or answered in a manner that sidestepped the issue even when a simple yes or no would have sufficed.
Most at the meeting agreed this method for obtaining funds is inequitable. First, notice to residents was in a letter stating the fee to is be added in their water-sewer bill. For failure to pay the fee, the county lawyer said no lien can be placed on any property. A stormwater eco-expert explained the fee would be taken out of any payment first, leaving the water bill delinquent if the stormwater fee was not paid ...
I guess that means the folks with wells are safe in not paying the fee.
The meeting was recessed at 9 p.m. as the room was overcrowded, hot, and opposition to explanations were vocal. Those satisfied or disgusted took this opportunity to leave, of course.
We left the meeting at 10:30 p.m. just after a retired military gentleman asked, "Is this a democratic meeting? I believe we have a quorum here and I wish to make a motion." On hearing that, one county commissioner left the meeting, solving the quorum dilemma.
Was that your commissioner? Ask him. The honorable commissioner from Grovetown then stated that a public ad must be published before any vote may be taken. We all have the responsibility to let the commissioners know how we feel about the new utility, its inequitable fees and the state and federal funds being sought to make up the difference. Then it will be out of our (local) control and we will have to do as we are told, again.
Just say no. Can we? I can, if given the chance. Please be relentless in your endeavor to persevere. I do know how to vote against someone who is not acting in my best interest.
Pat Roach, Martinez
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