Columbia County commissioners have reluctantly agreed to pay $67,000 to the East Central Georgia Regional Library System for another year of services.
The group, which processes new books and operates the bookmobile, came under fire last year when it raised the fee for their services in the county from $14,000 a year to $34,000.
The second cost increase is part of a three-year plan to raise dues to $1 per person in the county. Members of the commission's Community and Emergency Services Committee tentatively agreed to the fee increase in a meeting Thursday; the issue is scheduled for final approval at the full Commission meeting April 20.
Even at the increased cost, Columbia County Library Director Christina Rice said it is still a bargain.
"It saves us about $100,000," she said in a phone interview.
" They do all of our tech services for us," Rice continued. "Tech services is when you order books, process them and catalog them. We would either have to outsource that to a vendor or hire a lot more people to do it ourselves."
Community and Leisure Services Director Barry Smith urged commissioners to stick with the system at least until the new main library in the Evans town center opens next year.
"Soon we'll be moving into this new library and the system will aid in that transition," he said.
The CES committee also agreed to waive a $5 fee at the Wildwood Park Horse Trails for Columbia County 4-H to hold a horse-riding benefit.
Like a walkathon, 4-H equestrians will ask for donations based on how many miles a person rides. Raised funds will benefit St. Jude Children's Hospital. The ride is scheduled for Sept. 11.
Also, Smith told commissioners that Reed Creek Park construction should begin in the next two months and, following Masters Week, state Department of Transportation workers will put up signs along main thoroughfares directing motorists to the Columbia County Visitor's Center at Savannah Rapids Pavilion.
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