Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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County Commission News


Mandatory hookup on county docket tonight
Ellisville Utility Boondoggle Continues

The Ellisville utility boondoggle continues as Jack Berry protégé, Dist. III Com Jody DuPree has partnered with Com Ronald Williams in closing out public comment and keeping the County Utility Rate Study under wraps for over a week.

The County Commission, driven by the need to pander to the county "good ole boy" developers has put the needs of the taxpayers on the back burner.

The county utility rate study, dated March 10, was not made available at the last special meeting on March 11. The county claimed that it was not ready. As of 6pm last night, the County had still not posted the study on the County web site, as required by the County Charter.

Ronald Williams closes the hearing to public comment

Board Chairman and longtime Com Ronald Williams has closed tonight's special meeting for public comment on the rate study and mandatory hook-up.

One of the primary justifications of the County for not doing business with the Lake City Regional Utility was the County's claim that they could produce water for "our customers" for less cost than Lake City.

For years the county has been hanging its hat on a water rate of $1.77 per thousand gallons. These were old numbers calculated in the boom times before the economy went bust.

Everyone knew these numbers wouldn't hold up in today's economic climate, yet the county refused to level with its residents and under the leadership of Utility Committee Chairman, Com DuPree, who claimed to be "stupid" and "uneducated" at every opportunity he got, the county bulled forward at Ellisville without any valid studies to support the continued development.

Com DuPree, like his mentor Jack Berry, shows a distain for the Sunshine Laws of Florida which is second to none in Florida.

All the discussions regarding the development of the Mandatory Hook-up Ordinance that took place at the Utility sub-sub Committee, were not noticed.

The latest figures are these.

Lake City charges $27.64 for 7,000 gallons of water.

The proposed county rate, the one that was, according to the county, going to cost so much less is $28.88.

This proves once again that less is more, in Columbia County.

Lake City's basic rate is based on 5,000 gallons per month.

Columbia County's basic rate is based on 4,000 gallons per month. The County doesn't explain how they came up with these numbers and why it is 1,000 gallons less per month.

By next year it is calculated that all county taxpayers will be subsidizing the water rates at Ellisville.

In Lake City, the folks that use the water pay for it.

In Lake City, drinking water hook-up is not mandatory.

Tonight, Columbia County is proposing to make it mandatory, not only in Ellisville, but everywhere in the county. This means if a county water line runs past your property, you have to hook up.

The County is threatening to lay water lines parallel to Lake City's water lines, forcing residents to hook up to the county system. They would not be required to hook up to the city water system.

Lake City has recently removed its water availability fee.

While it is a little murky, it appears that Columbia County has instituted an availability fee.

Columbia County is reaching its hand into the pocket of every tax payer in the county to support the Ellisville Boondoggle.

Tonight at 7pm, Columbia County's homeless County Commission will be meeting at the School Board Administration Complex. The meeting is to continue a public hearing of the Mandatory Hook-up Ordinance. Of course, the public cannot speak.

Comments  (to add a comment go here)

On March 25, 2010 "cumbess" wrote:

Wake up people. This isn't the first time we've been told to sit down and shut-up. Whatca gonna do bout it?


On March 25, 2010 "Stephen Boyer" from Virginia wrote:

I will agree for mandatory hookup if other things are done prior to it taking place. I would want TV cable and paved county roads a long with more commercial store fronts. Cleaner road ways and a closer dumping station for trash would be nice. A fire department that serves my area not one that responds from another county. There is more but I think I make my point.



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