Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Floating On A Sea Of County Cash, The 5 Donate Another $200,000 to the School District

Columbia County 5
The Columbia County 5 from left to right: Chairman Ronald Williams;
Commissioners Rusty DePratter; Bucky Nash; Stephen Bailey; Scarlet Frisina

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – The Great Columbia County Commission cash giveaway continued last night as the County Commission, The 5, donated another $200,000 of Columbia County tax reserves to the School District. The School District, strapped for cash, this time had let the football field run down with reported "humps and bumps." In November, The 5 donated $200,000 for a girl's softball field at the high school. Commissioner Williams warned of more School District financing to come.

Kevin Kirby, the County Public Works Director, told The 5, "There are many theories about what was going on at the football field." He explained that the County had already been at the field doing a study on what was wrong.

None of The 5 asked how much had been expended till this time.

Mr. Kirby said the cost of fixing the field and planting new grass was "about $79,000."

Mr. Kirby continued, "We know that if we are going to do this properly and spend this type of money, we have to have the right type of equipment to maintain the field in the future. This is about $63,000 of necessary equipment."

Clint Pittman, the Director of County Landscaping and Parks, and his crew are stretched to the limit.

No one has estimated the cost to the County to pay him and his men, along with the County Engineer, and anyone else involved, to do all this County financed work at the School District.

None of The 5 asked, but the job, and the improvements to the School District property to store the new equipment, clearly will cost the County taxpayers well over $200,000.

Commissioner Nash made the motion to give the County money away. The 5 approved it.

Commissioner Frisina said, "It's not every day that we have the opportunity to do something like this, where we can help the students and the kids."

Commissioner Bailey said, "Looking at past history, the way that the school system has maintained their athletic facilities, it doesn't have a promising future for the type of maintenance that this facility is going to require."


The 5's spending of unbudgeted County reserves continues unabated.

The 5 have refused to produce or ask for any kind of updates on the County financial condition and how much money the County gives away, or from where that money comes.

This is decades old business as usual for the  Columbia County 5, where the heads change, but the body remains the same.

Commissioner Williams warned The 5 and the public earlier in the meeting, "This Board is also going to visit Fort White. There are some plans to assist Fort White in some of their athletic endeavors."

There is more school financing to come.


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