Ellisville Utility Hearing
More County slight of hand
Columbia County, FL (posted July 22, 2010 09:05 am)
Hard economic times mean nothing to a County Commission drunk on its own power and known for backroom dealing and working in the shadows. While rogue county commissioner Jody DuPree has brought the concept of a public meeting being "a market place of ideas" to its knees, Tuesday night's best sleight of hand falls squarely in the lap of the top county management and long time Columbia County Manager, Dale Williams.
County Manager Dale Williams. If he knew about the changes and omissions in the ordinance, he wasn't talking.
The proposed county utility rate ordinance was approved by the county utility rate committee on June 4th and posted to the county website on June 18th. There it sat unchanged until July 20th, the day of the public hearings.
Last minute changes and additions to county agendas are a way of life in Columbia County, however, a change to an ordinance, unless it is of a minor nature, requires re-noticing of the ordinance and subsequent public hearing, making the changed ordinance available for public inspection for at least ten days before the public hearing.
This is nothing new to the gang running the county.
What did they get wrong? <— click
They got wrong the base service rate for water. From June 4th till July 19 the stated rate was $2.02. The real rate was $21.02. On July 20th, the day of the public hearing, the county posted the corrected rate in the ordinance.
At no time during the public hearing or during any part of the meeting did the County Manager, Dale Williams, mention word one about the missing rates.
What did they leave out? <— click
For over a month the county left out of the proposed utility rate ordinance the billing charge of $4.16. This charge amounts to an addition to the minimum water bill of 19.8%.
Your reporter, who is also a Columbia County tax payer and property owner, certainly would have commented on this outrageous billing charge to his fellow county residents if he had known about it and no doubt others would have also.
Once again the County Manager and the County Commission had every opportunity during the evening's meeting to advise the public of their omission.
The usual refrain of County Manager Dale Williams is that he is working for his bosses (the County Commission).
On Thursday night, the circle of the conspiracy of silence was complete and no one was talking.
Welcome to Columbia County.
correction: July 22, 2010 02:03pm - par 2 - June 20th changed to July 20th