A strange public fight is going on between the Columbia County Commission and the School Board.
School trustees didnt want to pay the countys stormwater utility fee. They consider it a tax, and schools dont pay taxes. The county contends its a service fee that any customer must pay, just like the schools pay for county water. As of this moment, the latest court ruling agrees with the county.
School officials have begrudgingly stroked a check for nearly four years of unpaid fees for all the schools in the stormwater utility service area.
Surprisingly, the county returned the check, contending the school system didnt include enough money for late fees. School trustees were not amused, and instructed Superintendent Tommy Price to resend the check to the county.
This is all about taking money out of your left pocket and putting in the right. Sad to say, trustee Roxanne Whitaker is right when she says that $56,000 could be better used in hiring a couple of teachers. Which would you rather have: Clean ditches, or people educated enough that they dont have to dig them for a living?
With all the gyrations over religion and schools, this is one boat theyre in together: Churches, which like schools are tax-exempt, have to render this fee unto Caesar, too.
In my Sunday column, I said opponents of the private use of Columbia Countys animal incinerator hinted that the incinerator would be used for human cremations.
My mistake; that was from just one of the foes. John Glave Jr., owner of Plumtree Pet Services of Williston, S.C., focuses only on what he says are errors in the countys estimates for how economically the big incinerator can be used. Another opponent - Paradise Kennels operator Richard Lord - is the one who suggests funeral home operators should be worried. Glave has stayed on the high road.
One way to cut down on the incinerators use is for residents to adopt more animals from Columbia County Animal Control. The facility is holding a special adoption session Oct. 17 and 18, with dogs for $10 and cats for $5.
Remember: Any animal that isnt adopted is killed with a poison needle and then burned in the incinerator. Not a very good way to treat mans best friend, is it?
Speaking of animals, some animal-rights nuts sent along information about a Walk for Farm Animals planned for Saturday in Atlanta to raise awareness about farm animal welfare and to raise needed funding for farm animal rescue and protection efforts.
Im afraid Ill have to miss the livestock-lover march; were having a Paschal family reunion that day out in Winfield, and my dad and I will be barbecuing a farm-raised pig for the occasion.
Gov. Sonny Perdue is scheduled to be in Augusta Friday for an awards presentation. The Radisson luncheon is from noon to 1:30 p.m. Coincidentally, U.S. Senate candidate Herman Cain also will be in the area Friday for a media blitz.
Their visits are unrelated, but the area around the Radisson is surrounded by media offices - The Chronicle, WJBF, WAGT. Flaggers, those folks still grousing about the Georgia flag, will likely parade near the hotel to make Perdue feel unwelcome. Consequently, Cain is almost certain to drive past the hotel en route to his interviews with local reporters.
As a black Republican, Cain is a somewhat rare candidate (though there are two black Republicans in the race to succeed Zell Miller). Hopefully someone will tell him those Confederate-flag-waving protesters arent there to greet him on his first campaign trip to the area.
Incidentally, one of those flaggers, in a radio sound bite from Perdues last visit to Augusta, called Perdue a liar and pledged to beat him at the polls next year.
That would be a neat trick: Perdue isnt up for re-election until 2006.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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