Expressing fears of unfair competition, a Richmond County-based kennel owner is asking Columbia County commissioners to reconsider entering the pet crematorium business.
Richard Lord, owner of Paradise Kennels, Pet Cemetery and Crematorium at 3996 Belair Road in Augusta told commissioners at their meeting Tuesday that if the county's animal control goes through with plans to offer pet cremations, it would severely cut into his business.
"I humbly ask that you not allow the county to conduct private pet cremations," Lord said.
About 80 percent of Paradise Kennels' pet cremation business comes from Columbia County pet owners, he said.
Columbia County Animal Care and Control began operation of an animal incinerator six weeks ago. Currently, the incinerator is only being used to dispose of roadkill.
Commissioners had planned to vote on a resolution that would allow animal control to conduct cremations for county pet owners for $75 per animal, about half of what Lord charges.
"There is presently a lot of discussion about government competing with private enterprise," said Ron Cross, chairman of the Board of Commissioners. "It is of some concern to me."
Commissioners sent the resolution back to committee for further study.
In other business:
Commissioners approved a $5 fee increase for Youth League Recreation Department fees. The fee will be used to supplant some fund-raisers of the Columbia County Recreation Advisory Board, which will place the money in an account to provide items to the recreation department that are not covered in the annual budget.
Commissioners turned down plans to build an apartment complex on a 20-acre tract on Technology Drive, across from the Martinez post office. Many commissioners said a better use for the land would be for light industry. Commissioner Steve Brown was the only dissenting vote in favor of the apartment complex.
The county awarded a bid to Evans-based Blair Construction, Inc., for the Wildwood Park boat-ramp project. Called a tournament ramp, the facility will include six ramps, parking to accommodate 250 to 300 boat trailers and vehicles, floating docks, and weigh-in facilities that can be used during competitive events. The project will be funded with the special-purpose local-option sales tax funds. Blair's winning bid was just under $650,000.
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