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County Commission News

Commissioner DuPree Budget Work Shops Over - For Now

Columbia County department heads sit in the School District Auditorium listening to Public Works Director, Kevin Kirby give an extensive presentation.

One week ago today, June 29, 2011, Columbia County’s department heads lined up like obedient little Indians and suffered through the last of the Commissioner DuPree imposed County Commission budget workshops. At least 95% of what the County Commission learned during the three months of meetings could have been learned by reading the different department's power point presentations, rather than having them read to them. The series of workshops served nothing more than to stroke the ego of County Commission Chairman DuPree, who asked 95% of the questions.

Commissioner Jody DuPreeAs Wednesday's 09:00 am meeting began, Commissioner DuPree explained to the twenty people in the audience, eighteen of whom were County department heads or County employees, that last week he attended a Florida Association of Counties conference with Commissioner Williams. 

Commissioner DuPree said, "Somethin happened that I think is important to share with -- with the Board and with the department heads and stuff. We were at a Small County Coalition meetin and they presented award to Columbia County." 

Commissioner DuPree surprised everyone, "Part of what I do ain't ridin around my district huntin the problems."
(see drainage below)

Commissioner Williams interrupted and told Mr. DuPree that the award was to be discussed at the next County Commission meeting.

Commissioner DuPree continued, "We'll have the thing here, but anyhow, Columbia County got an award from the Small County Coalition because of somethin that happened in Sen. Dean's office, where Columbia County let another County come in and we kinda cleaned up with them on some of their problems that turned out, worked out pretty good, so that was impressive."

Commissioner DuPree announces: Other small county's commissioners don't know what's going on

Commissioner DuPree explained why he does budget workshops:

The other thing to that I found personally that I wanted to share with everybody is that while I was at the conference, to try to explain why we do this meetin, is I was surprised at the commissioners that I talk to either in financial management meetins or in networkin, that when you would ask them questions about how large is their budget -- they didn't know. Not all of them, but I'll guarantee you the vast majority of commissioners that I spoke to in meetings or outside in establishments -- I was amazed that how they really did not know what was goin on inside of the governments.
They didn't in the budget. They couldn't tell you what was going on inside of the departments. They couldn't tell you what really their problems were and it was always been important to me, and I'm sure that the rest of the board is that, when it comes to our County we know them things -- so that whenever we get asked, we can give an answer. That's a lot of what we're doing."

Kevin Kirby catches his breath during his extensive 112 page presentation. If you would like a copy, e mail the Observer with "Kirby" in the subject line. 1.3meg

Public Works Department

Public Works Director, Kevin Kirby, read an extensive presentation to the County Commission. A spokesperson for the department told the Observer that many people were involved in the preparation, which took about two months. 

The Public Works Department is responsible for the maintenance of 1054 miles of roads, of which 462 are dirt and 592 are hard surfaced. A description of all the services provided by Public Works is available here.

Drainage: $810,000 - What is a Commissioner supposed to do?

Once again, Commissioner DuPree took center stage with his questions.

Commissioner DuPree asked Mr. Kirby if there was a preventative maintenance plan for the cleaning of roadside ditches. 

Mr. Kirby explained that the cleaning of roadside ditches is mainly a reactive chore.

Commissioner DuPree said, "There's no maintenance plan to maintain ditches. It's one of the biggest problems that I run across."

Longtime District 1 Commissioner, Ronald Williams, explained how he gets the ditches in his district cleaned:

I don't have a problem with drainage in my district because when I drive my district on the weekend, I've got my little tape recorder that I'm talkin into and if I see ditch that needs to be cleaned, I say "Winfield Road, need to clean ditches." And then I turn that into the road department. And then they get a work order and they go clean them.

Commissioner DuPree joked, "That's why the ditches in my district aren't getting cleaned, because the folks from public works are out cleaning the ditches in District 1." (Everybody laughed).

 Dist I Commissioner, Ronald Williams.

Commissioner Williams told Commissioner DuPree that he needed to turn in the problems that he found so Public Works could clean his ditches.

Commissioner DuPree surprised everyone with his answer, "Part of what I do ain't ridin around my district huntin the problems."

Commissioner Williams shot back, "That's what you get elected to do."

Including benefits, a Columbia County Commissioner earns $54,733.40

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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