Columbia County tax bills are due Friday, yet even though in-structions in the bills tell taxpayers to drop off their checks at the new office in the Evans Government Complex, they can't.
The office isn't open yet.
You'll still have to drive to Appling to pay your bill, unless you're one of the handful of people who live in the county seat. Or unless you let the U.S. Postal Service carry it there for you. (A 37-cent stamp is probably cheaper than the gas for the majority of the county's residents to drive to Appling.)
The incorrect notice is just a glitch in timing, they say. The new office, in Building C, won't be ready for customers until after the first of the year. When it is, Tax Commissioner Kay Allen worries that it doesn't have enough nearby parking.
The drive to the new building may be shorter, then, but the walk to the front door may be a little longer.
Paying tax bills is no fun. In fact, I can't think of any bills that I pay with pure joy. So it's nice to know that sometimes the county government saves a few bucks here and there to keep those bills from getting fatter.
The county's Construction and Maintenance Division saved lot of bucks by reusing some existing space rather than building a new office.
The county planned to spend about $300,000 for offices for Construction and Maintenance, behind the Roads and Bridges building on Columbia Road.
Instead, the county renovated the Clerk of Court Office annex next to Probate Court and the old courthouse in Appling. Dressing up the building cost just $60,000, a savings of about $240,000.
Of course, they spent most of that on food for the open house at the new office last week. (Just kidding.)
Cooking secret stolen
Speaking of food, I've painted myself into a corner by bragging about how good my barbecued ribs are. The Recreation Department and Recreation Advisory Board folks have signed me up as one of the "backyard" barbecue cooks for the Veterans Day Barbecue Cook-off Saturday at the Merchants Association Fairgrounds. We're supposed to eat about 1 p.m.
I thought I had a secret weapon until I found out most of the real cooks - the ones competing in the big-time Memphis in May-sanctioned competition - also are getting their pork from the Ennis family's Town and Country Packing Co. in Thomson.
My family has been friends with the Ennis family since before I was born. I happily remember sleeping on the rear-window deck of Lamar Ennis' Ford Torino on the way back from faraway auto races (child seats didn't exist in the 60s, and seat belts were optional). Lamar's plant has produced a lot of pork, and they're saving me some of the best ribs.
Unfortunately, the competition is getting a share, too.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of once again speaking at Euchee Creek Elementary School for Career Day. It's a great occasion, and provides an annual opportunity to remind Principal Wanda Golosky that she's at least partly responsible for my career - she was my senior English teacher and newspaper sponsor at Harlem High School.
I like to think of it as "sharing the blame."
This year's event was a lot of fun, including the im-promptu math lesson in which fifth-graders figured out that my name and photo is printed more than 2 million times each year (add the number of copies The News-Times prints on Sunday to the number of copies printed on Wednesday, and multiply it by 52).
But there's one kid who told me he's never seen his picture or his name in the paper. That is, until now:
Congratulations, Andrew Boswell. One down, 1.9 million to go.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to bpaschal@ newstimesonline.com, or call 863-6165, extension 106.)
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.