Columbia County commissioners decided Tuesday to make county employees responsible for keeping their work spaces clean.
Officials also decided to use a combination of temporary personnel and part-time employees, supervised by county staff, to clean lobbies, restrooms and other common areas.
The cost of hiring a custodial company to keep common areas clean is nearly $373,000 annually, according to county documents. The move would save $14,000 each year, officials said.
Commissioners first considered restructuring the county's cleaning practices last month when Tax Commissioner Kay Allen complained about a lack of services from Southern Management, the janitorial agency contracted by the county. Allen even suggested that county commissioners add $60,000 to her budget so that she could hire a custodial company herself to keep her three offices clean.
County officials, however, considered that option too costly.
Brian Neeley, a district manager for Southern Management, said he has received few complaints and called Allen's criticism unfair.
"I have never been contacted by Kay Allen's office," Neeley said. "That has never been brought to my attention."
Allen has said that she often complained about cleaning services, but those complaints had to be filtered through layers of government bureaucracy.
The Tax Commissioner's complaints included overflowing trash cans, dusty desks and dirty windows.
"It just doesn't happen," Neeley said of overflowing trash cans. "Cleaning 101 is to dump the trash."
Neeley also said that the 25 workers he employed to clean county buildings also washed the inside of the windows, but not the outside.
He said his employees did not clean desks unless asked.
"It's not in our contract to clean county desks, which is common in the industry," he said.
Most custodial services won't clean desks due to reasons of security and privacy, he said.
Though he feels his company was unjustly criticized, Neeley said he intends to bid for the contract to clean the county's common areas.
Also at the meeting:
Commissioners approved the rezoning of more than seven acres on Bohler and Owens roads to planned unit development for a proposed $120 million expansion of the Brandon Wilde retirement community,
Keep Columbia County Beautiful Coordinator Jenny Hinton was named Employee of the Month.
Commissioners issued a proclamation honoring the county Purchasing Department during National Purchasing Month.
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