The Columbia County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday took a step forward toward the construction of a long-discussed public golf course off Columbia Road.
The commissioners voted to issue a $1.5 million, tax-exempt promissory note for land purchase to developers of the 900-acre Bartram Trail community, just east of Patriots Park.
County Attorney Doug Batchelor said another $8.8 million in financing is expected to close later this month to build the 200-acre course. That amount is not tax-exempt because it is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The loan is being made to Bartram Trail CDC Inc., a nonprofit group the county created in 2001 to sell bonds for the course's construction. Although officials decided to seek loan financing instead, Batchelor said the county would not assume the debt because it would be through the nonprofit group.
The debt is expected to take 30 years to be paid off through revenue that the golf course generates. When it is paid off, the course will be deeded to the county.
"The county will also have the right at any time of closing forward to acquire the property simply by paying the debt," Batchelor said.
The Bartram Trail development around the golf course has been described as a residential area with 750 units.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, commissioners agreed to table a rezoning request nearly 40 acres off Hereford Farm Road.
Jake Ivey, a developer who wanted to build 40 townhomes and 92 houses at the site, told the board that he was willing to postpone making a purchase offer to the DeVitte family because he learned the county's school system also is eyeing the land.
School officials said they are considering the DeVittes' land and at least three other parcels as replacement sites for Evans Middle School.
The commission voted to table the issue until its Nov. 18 meeting.
In other action Tuesday:
- Commissioners voted to move ahead with charging late fees again on stormwater utility fee accounts. The 1.5 percent late fees have been suspended since April 2002. The board still needs to approve the change in the stormwater utility fee ordinance before the delinquent charges take effect.
- Commissioners approved an increase in county occupational taxes. The increases vary according to the number of workers an employer has and range from an additional $25 and $750 a year for a businesses.
- The board approved a new ordinance that establishes a $10 per horse trailer fee for people riding horse trails at Wildwood Park. The trails are being constructed out of logging roads in the park.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.