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Columbia County Observer

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Nash Rules In Final County 5 Meeting of the Year Public To Be Inconvenienced Again

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – The County 5 met for its final 2017 meeting on Thursday, December 21. As reported earlier, County 5 Scrambling to Fund $50+ Million of New Capital Projects – Public Left Out, Again, the County has been evaluating its space needs since 2002. When County Manager Ben Scott wanted to schedule a workshop during the second meeting of the New Year in February to review the County's available space and architect's findings, Commissioner Nash, the man that many believe is running the County, blew him off, instead calling for a special meeting on an off meeting night, keeping the public hopping and making extra trips to Lake City a must for those who want to witness first hand what The County 5 is up to.

As the Meeting Wound Down, Commissioner Murphy Brings Up Space Needs

With the meeting winding down, Commissioner Murphy, out of the blue, brought up the County's space needs.

County Commissioner Tim Murphy

Commissioner Murphy (as spoken): "With some other buildin's that come up and available in Columbia County that could serve to help solve -- assist -- in our space needs issues, I asked Ben... (to have an architect and mechanical engineer) make passages through these buildings."

County Manager Ben Scott weighed in, "I would suggest the second meeting in February (for a work shop on space needs and available buildings)."

Commissioner Sylvester "Bucky" Nash asked, "Second meeting in February?"

County Manager Scott explained that the architect was coming on January 8 to do a walkthrough of buildings and give estimates on what it would take to renovate them.

Commissioner Nash was not happy with the end of February, "I say the end of January."

All of the County 5
Not on the Same Page

Commissioner DePratter asked, "What estimate is he giving?

Commissioner Murphy explained that it was the old Bank of America Building which is 26,000 sq feet.

Commissioner Murphy continued, "It's something as a governing board we need to explore. I'm not promotin' it, I'm just saying, I'm personally willlaby to at least look at it and see if this is a possibility."

After it appeared obvious that Mr. Murphy wasn't giving up the price, an audience member asked, "What is the reduced price they're asking?"

Mr. Murphy volunteered it was $950,000.

Commissioner Nash In a Rush
Causing Citizens To Make Special Trips to Lake City

Commissioner Nash (as spoken):  "I understand Commissioner Murphy -- you know -- the buildin' -- but I'm past that. The thing about it -- if you want to have him walk through it and give you estimate of what a buildin' gonna cost; what it's gonna take to remodel it for the county. That should be done in January and from that point on you've explored all your buildings and I've been here five years and all we do is when we get to this point we keep goin' lookin' back at these buildin's because somebody comes and stands at the podium and critiques what we're doin'..."

"I think that no later than the second meeting in January you need to make a decision whether you're goin' to go out there on Bascom Norris and build everything out there or you're going to entertain the Barnett Buildin'. As soon as you entertain the Barnett Building you're goin' to have to do it at the Brown buildin', you're goin' to have to do it at Duval Place... You're gonna' run out a' time and you're gonna' get yourself in a crunch."

Commissioner Murphy responded, "I couldn't agree with you less, if you wanna' say."

There was talk about when to schedule the meeting.

County Manager Scott said there was going to be a commissioner out of town for the first meeting in February. In the usual way the county does its business, he didn't say who. The commissioner didn't volunteer the information. It was District I Commissioner, Ronald Williams.

Commissioner Nash opined, "I don't put a lot of stock to a commissioner being out of town. I think that's why you have five. These delays – and delays – and delays. I'm not about that."

County Manager Scott then recommended a special meeting on January 25.

The 5 agreed to a start time of 5:30 pm.


In 2012, during then candidate Sylvester "Bucky" Nash's campaign for the seat of his business partner, Commissioner Jody DuPree, one of Mr. Nash's campaign themes was he would take as much time as needed to listen to the public, "If it took till two-thirty in the morning."

Now, as the power behind the County 5, which is the County, two minutes on an off night is all the critiquing time a citizen gets.

The legendary Columbia County 5: its business as usual.

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