County utility boondoggle
moving into high gear • DuPree bans city participation
Columbia County, FL (posted
District III Commissioner, Jody
Like a bull in a china shop, Jack Berry protégé,
County Utility Sub Committee Chairman, Jody DuPree is
following in the footsteps of his mentor, former LSHA
boss Berry. Instead of spending millions without a plan
in order to take care of the "good ole boys" in the land
scams around the Hospital Authority, the Columbia County
Utility boondoggle is going to cost the working families
of Columbia County tens of millions in one of the most
inane demonstrations of pure muddle-headedness in the
history of the state of Florida.
Sub Committee Chairman DuPree has shown time and time
again that he, along with the rest of the County
Commission, is incapable of grasping the most
rudimentary fundamentals of planning and economics.
Columbia County, after a purportedly studying the
utility business for the past ten years and spending
millions of dollars, has only come up with a utility and
a plan that includes fourteen customers.
Now, the County wants to spend up to thirty million
dollars developing three water plants in unspecified
locations and serving an unknown customer base without
any plan at all.
Back room dealing, which has long been a hallmark of
the Columbia County Commission, has dipped to a new low
with the election of Commissioner DuPree and now,
surprise attacks at County Commission meetings are
common place, as off agenda items worth millions are
slinked onto the agenda, leaving some to wonder why the
County Commission even bothers to print an agenda at
On December 17, 2009, Commissioner Williams went off
script when, out of the clear blue sky, he recommended
locating a "well field" somewhere in Columbia County.
Commissioner DuPree, picking up the faux pas had to
ask Commissioner Williams, "To make sure I understand
what you mean by a well field. You talkin about a sure
enough water plant -- Right?"
That two step by Commissioners DuPree and Williams
will eventually put the working families of Columbia
County on tap to spend at least $10,000,000.
The next out of the blue sky sneak attack occurred on
January 5, 2010, when Com DuPree, carried the ball by
Minutes before the County Commission meeting
concluded, Com DuPree asked the Board to approve an RFP
(request for proposals) for a geological study to
determine where the "well fields need to be located."
Com DuPree told the Board: "“It is going to play a
huge role in the cost and the quality of the water.”
When Com Bailey questioned the reason for the
geological study, Com DuPree cut Com Bailey off.
Com Bailey asked a logical question, "And the reason
for the geological study would be to be so that you can
actually determine the cost of what it would cost you
to," DuPree interrupts.
Com DuPree's answer:
Partly most of what that
happens that a geological study's got to be done to get
facts to know where to put a well plant. You just can’t
go anywhere and decide that’s where you’re gonna draw
water from -- you have to take a study of the Columbia
County area -- about where we’re gonna get the best
water out of... (talks about city)
We’ve kind of gotta do the same thing. We’ve gotta
gather an engineering outfit come in do the study along
the lines of where -- that’s what we have to do as a
utility committee to is come up with in relation to
economic development -- where does all these lines being
dug -- that’s going to take some explanation ~inaudible~
to determine the best location for the well plant.
It could very well be you could end up with three well
plants, because you don’t want to spend thirty million
dollars apiece. So you break it out. That’s a lot of
what the geological study will tell you. Here’s where
you can set your well fields and then you can
~inaudible~ later, design your system around it.
There is no county study showing the areas of growth
in the county. The Columbia County Industrial
Development Authority claims that it is doing a study
and it has not been completed.
Under the Generalship of Com DuPree, the taxpayers of
Columbia County are going to end up being on the hook
for millions and millions, as he and an intransigent and
back slapping "good ole boy" County Commission go into
competition with the real county utility system, the
Lake City Regional Utility.
In a classic act of hubris by a school yard bully,
Commissioner DuPree has determined that the folks at the
Lake City Utility should not be participating on the
County Utility Sub Committee, anymore.