The calendar, Christmas and a need to tie up some loose ends before the end of the year conspired to put Columbia County Commissioners in a marathon of meetings Tuesday morning.
Instead of the customary pair of committee meetings held on weeks when a Board of Commissioners meeting is not scheduled, the Board found itself faced with five as well as a called Commission meeting.
It all came down to scheduling, said Columbia County Administrator Scott Johnson.
He said the quarterly audit committee and development services and management and financial services committee meetings on their regular date and that the community and emergency services and public works service committee meetings were pushed up because they otherwise would have been held on Christmas Day.
The called Commission meeting was scheduled to ensure all measures requiring two readings, including one establishing the legality of catteries in commercial districts, would be cleared before the end of the year.
“Even though we did not elect an new commissioners, we are not allowed to carry old business over into the new year,” he said. “And it didn’t seem fair to ask people to wait an extra month while we start this process over.”
A cattery is a facility for cats similar to a kennel for dogs. Current county ordinances spell out requirements for kennels but not for catteries, and a prospective business owner wants to open such a facility in the county. The revamped ordinance would make it possible.
While most items other discussed were relatively routine housekeeping items – approving a bid for a new water utility van, the establishment of a street light district in the Chastain Place development and granting $75,000 in economic incentives for infrastructure improvements to the developers of a new Kia dealership on the corner of Washington and Gibbs Road – other were quietly preparing the county for the near and distant future.
Commissioners approved a resolution establishing a service and fee schedule for the county’s new broadband utility, enabling the $18 million project paid for primarily with federal stimulus funds to start generating income. Another passed resolution cleared the way to amend the Fire and EMS advisory Board by-laws, removing fire services in advance of Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue's change to a county-operated entity rather a contracted service.