Columbia County's annual report focuses heavily on the recently completed fire study update.
Included in today's edition of The Columbia County News-Times, an entire side of the fold-out report maps county fire stations and lists the 10 recommendations for improving fire service put forward by the study.
"The fire study was one of the big initiatives undertaken this year, and it's something that's still under review by the county commission," County Administrator Steve Szablewski said. "Putting it in the annual report so prominently is an attempt to get that information out to all the families in Columbia County."
Thoughmuch of the annual report focuses on fire service, it also includes reports on the county's capital improvements plan, Martinez redevelopment plan, long-range transportation plan, stormwater utility projects categorization and updates on dirt road paving and water service.
Of note is a list of four public meetings to discuss the 2005-2010 capital improvements plan, which is funded with one-cent sales tax money. Meetings will be Sept. 22 at Savannah Rapids Pavilion; Sept. 23 at the Columbia County Government Complex Auditorium; Sept. 24 at the Eubanks Blanchard Community Center and Sept. 24 at the Bessie Thomas Community Center. All meetings are at 7 p.m.
"The capital improvements relate not only to fire, but to roads, recreation, water and sewer, economic development and so on," Szablewski said. "I think it's timely, because it's something that's going to be considered in the coming year. It's an activity that citizens need to be aware of."
The meetings will be used to gauge what projects are most important to residents, Szablewski said. A vote will be held next summer on a new special-purpose local-option sales tax referendum, which will list how the money will be spent, including fire service expenses.
"The report is about things that are currently going on," Szablewski said. "The theme of it did relate to the fire study, because it was such a big activity in the county over the last nine months. Fire was the most timely activity."
The report also includes a list of county elected officials and a breakdown of the county budget for the 2004 fiscal year.
"Part of an annual report is showing how the money is being used in a general sort of way," Szablewski said. "We've got a budget hundreds of pages long, but this provides a breakdown of the major categories and also shows where the money is coming from. We encourage citizens, if they want to know more, to come by our office, and we'll get into as much detail as they want."
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