Frank Spears' meeting with District 2 constituents Monday night covered the gamut: from Columbia County's stormwater utility to the Georgia Department of Transportation's plans for Davis Road.
"It's important for me to have the opportunity to listen to the topics that are on your mind," Mr. Spears told the two dozen residents gathered at the Evans Government Complex.
Local builder Ernie Blackburn - who supports the county's monthly stormwater fee - asked if public furor over the utility had caused Mr. Spears to reconsider his position on the issue.
"I want to say thanks to (the commissioners) for sticking your head out of that foxhole," Mr. Blackburn said.
Mr. Spears said commissioners had revisited some areas of the monthly fee: They've lowered the billing increments and offered credits for private ponds.
"We know the problem is there," Mr. Spears said. "I can either not do something about it or I can do something about it. But to do something about it, I've got to have funding. ... If somebody could tell me a better way to fund these projects, I'll listen."
Mr. Spears also spoke with residents about the Georgia Department of Transportation's plans for Davis Road - which include a center median from Washington Road to Pleasant Home Road. It's the median that led area businesses to get more than 2,000 signatures on a petition in opposition to the plan.
Mr. Spears said local officials met with new Department of Transportation Commissioner Tom Coleman and discussed the project. So far, the center median remains in the works, but median cuts and the centerline of the road could change.
And there might be very little the county can do about it because the state is paying for the work.
"I don't think we'll be able to tell the DOT what they can do," Mr. Spears said. "It's their money."
Reach Jason B. Smith at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 115.
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