Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Tri County/Florida News

FOILED – A Plan to Depose the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council and Replace it With the SVTA

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – The legendary Columbia County 5, The 5, was poised tonight to vote to replace the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council (NCFRPC) as the Designated Planning Agency for the Transportation Disadvantaged (TD) with the Suwannee Valley Transit Authority (SVTA).  Buried in tonight's consent agenda was a resolution which stated: "The Board requests the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged to designate the Suwannee Valley Transit Authority as the Designated Official Planning Agency for the regional service area of Columbia, Hamilton and Suwannee Counties." The NCFRPC is presently the planning agency for the TD program.

In Columbia County, the Consent Agenda is assembled by the County Manager and approved by the County Chair, Commissioner Ronald Williams. Commissioner Williams was a staunch defender of the recently resigned Administrator and former Operations Manager. Commissioner Williams is also the long time Chairman of the SVTA Board.

The word on the street is that nothing went on at the SVTA without his knowledge or approval.

The Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged was unaware of the resolution. Early this morning, the unofficial word from Tallahassee was this was not going to happen even if The 5 passed the resolution.

County Manager Dale Williams told the Observer, "Lisa (the Administrative Manager) got the resolution. I don't know where she got it. She is out of the office. I hadn't even looked at it until you called." He said he would call back as soon as he found out something.

About an hour later County Manager Williams did call back. He said he heard from Tallahassee and that the resolution was going to be pulled.

"Things have changed since last week."

The Observer asked, "Doesn't the County Chair approve the agenda? Are you saying he didn't know about it?"

The County Manager responded, "Well you know, things have changed since last week."

Lisa Roberts didn't know who dropped off the resolution. She said it was delivered at the front window to Kimi Roberts.

A while later your reporter asked Kimi Roberts who dropped off the resolution. She said, "I have no idea." She then transferred the call to a number that rang for about three minutes and then disconnected.

Lynn Godfrey of the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council said it didn't know about the resolution.

Suwannee County

Suwannee County's County Administrator, Randy Harris, said "I found the resolution in the middle of my desk. There was no cover letter and I don't know who dropped it off. I called the SVTA and I still couldn't find out who dropped it off."

Mr. Harris said he spoke with Commissioner Ricky Gamble, one of Suwannee County's representatives on the SVTA Board, and Commissioner Gamble didn't know if the resolution had been approved by the SVTA Board.

Mr. Harris mentioned that he has not heard good things lately about the SVTA. "We were going to pull it," he said.

Hamilton County

Hamilton County is the third county in the region serviced by the SVTA.

County Coordinator Louie Goodin told the Observer, "I've got it here on my desk. The way the Authority's imploding I'm not going on the ropes for anybody. It's not an official document. I don't intend to do anything with it."


Columbia County Chairman Williams did not return a phone call for a comment.

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

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Related Links:

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