Grovetown officials decided at a special called meeting Friday that they cannot support Columbia County's proposed $40 million bond issue.
The city council voted for Mayor Dennis Trudeau to sign a letter to be mailed to county officials detailing why the city will not support the proposed list of capital improvement projects that the county plans to fund with the bond issue.
"I just feel like the citizens have spoken," Trudeau said, noting a straw poll on the July primary ballot where 63 percent of residents did not support the bond issue. "What else do they (county officials) want to know?"
The current project list has: - repairs for stormwater runoff problems in developed areas of the county
- extensions of water and sewer lines in some rural areas - transportation improvements
- recreational projects
- public safety upgrades, including new fire trucks for Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue.
Grovetown had compiled a list of six projects, totaling just more than $2.6 million. Those projects were:
- $500,000 for a 500,000-gallon water tank off Harlem-Grovetown Road
- $1 million for a sewer line to Richmond County
- $552,627 for water lines to connect with Harlem and Richmond County
- $450,000 for sludge re- moval from a sewage treatment plant
- $100,000 for road paving and parking lots
Three projects, including a water line down Harlem-Grovetown Road, were included in the project list after a July 26 meeting where county officials discussed the list. Grovetown's three projects total $1.6 million.
"I have a problem with them (the county) owning the projects," Councilman David Daughtry said. He said that if city residents are paying for the projects such as water and sewer lines, then the city should own those projects.
County Commissioner Steve Brown said that according to state law, all projects on the list must be owned by Columbia County.
"To spend county funds, because this is a bond issue by the county, it has to be spent on county projects," he said.
The letter also refers to city officials' objections to:
- the calculations used to determine what percentage of bond funds the city should receive
- a water tank for the county using Grovetown's $500,000 allocation
- the approval of one important water line, but not another
- recreation projects making up 22 percent of the list despite the fact that residents voted water and sewer work their top priority
City officials also expressed concern at the meeting that District 4, compromised mostly of rural areas, Grovetown and Harlem, will get an equal share of the bond funds.
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