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Commission authorizes new payment method for services

Posted: March 24, 2012 - 11:03pm  |  Updated: March 26, 2012 - 1:16pm
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Photo by Barry Paschal Rick McCorkle, manager of the BiLo store on Columbia Road at Belair Road, presented a check for $1,500 during Tuesday's County Commission meetiing to Friends of the Columbia County Library. Receiving the check are Jerry Jilbert (cq) (from left), treasurer of Friends; Jean Pollard, a Friends volunteer; Mary Lin Maner, Columbia County librarian; and Natalie Pulley, the children's librarian.
Photo by Barry Paschal Rick McCorkle, manager of the BiLo store on Columbia Road at Belair Road, presented a check for $1,500 during Tuesday's County Commission meetiing to Friends of the Columbia County Library. Receiving the check are Jerry Jilbert (cq) (from left), treasurer of Friends; Jean Pollard, a Friends volunteer; Mary Lin Maner, Columbia County librarian; and Natalie Pulley, the children's librarian.

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Columbia County commissioners agreed Tuesday to engage Augusta-based PayLink Partners to process online and in-person credit- and debit-card transactions for county services.

County Administrator Scott Johnson said the service first will be used at the Water Utility department in a 60-day trial run.

Should that prove successful, the payment offerings might be used at Development Services. If again successful, Johnson said, PayLink will be used by all county departments.

The county will pay PayLink a monthly processing fee determined by the number and types of transactions. Johnson said a $2.50 fee charged for online payments should cover the costs of the PayLink payments.

Those who pay in person won’t have to pay the fee.

In other meeting news, commissioners voted to create an enterprise fund to pay upfront costs for concerts at Evans Towne Center Park.

To create the fund, commissioners also agreed to loan it $100,000 from the general fund.

State law requires an enterprise fund when user fees are charged for a service, such as ticket fees for concerts, county Finance Services Director Leanne Reece recently said.

Also, Reece said the fund lets officials better keep track of the park’s profitability.

“We want to be able to keep up with how much revenue we’re bringing in from ticket sales versus how much it is costing us to put on the concerts or events,” Reece said. “We don’t want that money commingled with other monies.”

The $100,000 loan is seed money to pay concert promoters, who often demand some payment before booking a show.

Little Big Town, which is scheduled to perform with Josh Kelley on April 5 at the Lady Antebellum Pavilion, required an upfront payment of $20,000, Reece said.

Musician and actor Rick Springfield is scheduled to perform at the park June 8.

As the enterprise fund grows, Reece said, officials will reimburse the general fund.

Also at the meeting, the commission approved a plan to slightly reorganize the Animal Services and Recreation departments.

Through attrition, the plan eliminates some positions at those departments. Additional duties will be distributed amongst other workers for added pay, Johnson said.

With the position cuts, Johnson said the county will save about $50,000 each year.

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