Despite a $30 million state budget cut, Columbia County is determined to keep Greenspace alive.
"Just because we won't get state money doesn't mean this program will die," said Columbia County Greenspace Committee Chairperson Gwen Wood.
The Greenspace program was a major casualty of budget cuts that were overwhelmingly approved by the Georgia general Assembly on March 24.
The General Assembly created the program in 2000 to help preserve undeveloped land in heavily populated and fast-growing counties.
Lawmakers called the program "nonessential spending" and promised to re-fund it when tax revenues permit.
Meanwhile, in a county Greenspace Committee meeting last Thursday, members discussed possibilities for other sources of revenue to supplement the lost funding.
Some of the alternative funding sources mentioned included corporate donations and seeking special purpose local option sales tax money in 2005.
Wood said the budget cuts would "create a real dent" in the committee's ability to purchase property.
"It's so early in the game to pull this money out," she said.
Columbia County Landscape Architect Leah Owens reminded the committee that the state funds were always "intended to be a spring board."
She said that the state never meant to supply funds for Greenspace in perpetuity and that it was going to be left up to the county anyway to find funding.
Currently, the committee has around $600,000 leftover from the 2001 and 2002 budgets to purchase land.
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