The meeting began with a joke about recent talk of a county consolidation and ended with a prediction by a county commissioner concerning the idea.
To start Tuesday night's Columbia County Commission meeting, Chairman Ron Cross asked Columbia County Management Services Director Todd Glover to give the invocation, adding that it seemed appropriate in light of the stress he might have been experiencing lately being in charge of overseeing public meetings on consolidation.
Glover quickly agreed.
"I have been in touch with the Almighty a lot lately,'' he said to the laughs of those in the room.
The commission then got to work on an agenda that involved the county's next growth management plan and a vote concerning a proposed bill in the state House of Representatives that would limit annexation by cities where certain services are already offered by a county government.
On the Growth Management Plan 2025, the commission voted in favor of it unanimously. The plan, composed through the guidance of a citizen committee, serves as a guideline to how growth should occur in the county. However, it is not a binding document.
Among some of the plan's recommendations are that major growth in Columbia County should stay south of the Greenbrier area on Washington Road, and development should continue in what's called a nodal approach. Columbia County creates a Growth Management Plan every five years.
The commission also voted 5-0 in favor of House Bill 962, the Fair Annexation Act, which could limit annexation by cities where county governments already provide certain services.
The issue comes as Columbia County continues to pursue the idea of incorporating the Evans-Martinez area and then consolidating it with the county government.
But Cross said, "This is a totally separate effort coming out of the Legislature.'' He said that the Association County Commissioners of Georgia organization is asking all county governments to support the bill.
And concerning consolidation, Commissioner Steve Brown made a prediction at the end of Tuesday night's meeting.
He said he thinks any county vote on consolidation would end with the idea passing 60 to 40 percent.
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