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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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County Commission News

County Commission Slams Taxpayers:
Residents on hook for roads in subdivisions with no homes

Columbia County's infamous County Commission didn't disappoint last night when it approved an ordinance making County taxpayers subject to maintain roads in subdivisions with few or no homes. While many counties in Florida form special taxing districts, which require homeowners in subdivisions to pay for the maintenance of their own roads, Columbia County continues to subject all taxpayers to maintain the roads of the few.

In one regard the ordinance enacted by the Commission last night was an improvement. In order for the County to take over maintenance of subdivision roads, now 50% or more of subdivision must have homes. Upon application to the Commission, and presuming that the roads are built to County specifications, the county will assume all road maintaince, mowing and responsibility for drainage and retention ponds.

However, in order for the Commission to take care of developers who got caught up in the building boom and suddenly found themselves in subdivisions with only one or two homes, the County fathers inserted a grandfather clause into the ordinance. It says that if a subdivision was approved by the County Commission before the ordinance was adopted, the 50% requirement did not apply.

Commission Chairman DuPree explained the ordinance

Commissioner DuPree:

This was already a policy that the board was using, because it was creating an issue with developments in economic times, it was a recommendation that it go to plannin and zonin to take it to subdivisions prior to that were able to go ahead and turn them over to the County for maintenance, but anyone who developed after January 1, they weren't privy to the economic times and therefore made a business decision and decided to develop. Then they were gonna to be held to the 50% standard. Am I sayin that about right?

County Manager Dale Williams answered, "That is correct -- yes."

Commissioner DuPree continued:

... we have subdivisions now that the County still has not accepted and we're not able to figure out how we are goin to fix some of em. Anyone who is a developer today has to be cognizant of the economic times that we have today and someone goes in there and puts a subdivision today, within 12 months -- we assume it. Then all of a sudden I'm sittin here with roads that are deterioratin -- cause the worst thing that can happen to a road is not be traveled on. You got to travel on a road. So all of a sudden the County is gonna be accepting all this liability for these roads, that can be there for years, without being developed. So we are takin on a liability - that I think is undo for the taxpayers... Anyhow, thank you. 

At the conclusion of his explanation, Commissioner DuPree called for the vote.  Commissioner DePratter made the motion.

The ordinance passed, although it is unclear if there were any nays, as Chairman DuPree never asked for a vote of those who were against the ordinance. It is not clear Commissioner DuPree voted.

Last night, it was business as usual in Columbia County.

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