Tuesday's Columbia County Commission meeting brought a bright assessment of the county in 2007.
Chairman Ron Cross started the meeting with his annual state of the county address.
"We're excited about 2007,'' he said to a packed room. "We have a lot of challenges and tasks, but it's a great time to be in Columbia County.''
Cross said the county's future looks good as the commission is trying to achieve a higher bond rating to lower interest on the more than $43 million bond issue that voters approved in November.
Lower interest, he said, would ultimately save taxpayers money. In recent meetings with bond rating officials in New York, Cross said the county was well received.
"We don't know yet the result of that,'' he said, but added, "We were very well received. They had no disadvantages or criticism of the county.''
Cross said the county should have the bond rating completed and money in hand to start the 42 bond projects by Feb. 7.
He also told the crowd that because of recent increases in sales tax collections from new development, the commission would like to lower the tax rate in the coming year to offset the average increase of the county's appraised value of homes.
Also at Tuesday night's meeting, the commission agreed to name Lee Anderson the vice chairman of the commission for 2007.
They then took up the issue of an ordinance that would place certain aesthetic requirements on the Evans to Locks and Furys Ferry roads intersection.
The commission agreed to a first reading of the ordinance, saying it would institute a neoclassic architecture design for new development at that intersection.
Among the new requirements would be slanted roofs for at least a portion of a development's structure.
The neoclassical design also includes vertical, symmetrical window arrangements, columns and pilasters, according to a county document.
The new requirements come as officials say the Evans to Locks-Furys Ferry area is developing into a node of commercial usage and is in need of design guidelines as it grows.
A second reading of the ordinance will go before the commission for final approval at their Jan. 16 meeting in Evans.
After a closed meeting Tuesday, the commission agreed to a two-year contract extension starting this month for Administrator Steve Szablewski and all division directors who have been with the county for at least a year.
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