Columbia County commissioners on Tuesday approved a plan to use sales tax dollars to provide water lines to a road that normally would not qualify for the service.
The residents of Intermediate Road will be offered a reduced tap-in fee cost of $600, which is $700 less than if the water lines were to be installed without help from the sales tax.
The reduced rate is typically what the Water Department charges potential customers to get them to sign onto the service during the construction phase.
In this case , the Water Department had not immediately intended to offer water service to the 19 lots on Intermediate Road, which runs off Louisville Road near Harlem.
After residents of the road asked for county water and sewer service, Water Utilities Director Billy Clayton at first offered a cost-share solution for the lines. That would have required all owners of the 19 lots to agree to a $1,300 tap-in fee.
Only 16 property owners signed on.
Clayton said he could offer the reduced rate for Intermediate Road residents only if the sales tax money helped with construction costs.
"It's not fair to make water customers pay to extend the lines to someone else's property," he recently said during a committee meeting.
After the meeting, officials said they're not too concerned that other residents will request a similar deal because no more sales tax money exists to help them.
The money used to help those living on Intermediate Road came from about $1.4 million left over when water projects came in under bid. All of those funds now are earmarked for Intermediate Road and water tank construction in the White Oak area of Appling, Clayton said.
Any other residents wishing for water and sewer lines will have to wait until more money is available, said Commission Chairman Ron Cross.
"They might not be out of luck, but there will be a wait," he said. "We hope to keep getting projects coming in under budget."
On future sales tax referendums, Clayton said he likely will develop a list of "contingency projects" to fund with any leftover money.
In another water-related issue, commissioners agreed Tuesday to sell about $35 million in revenue bonds to fund water-utility construction projects.
With the money, which will be paid back with water profits, officials will expand the Little River Water Pollution Control Plant, make improvements to the Crawford Creek and Reed Creek plants, relocate and expand the department's lab from Evans to the Little River plant, construct a new administration building on High Meadows Drive and extend several water and sewer lines.
Areas receiving sewer line extensions include The Gateway area near Grovetown and Long Crane Creek.
New water lines will be built along Clanton Road, William Few Parkway, Ray Owens Road, Yelton Road and in the Evans Town Center area.
Also in the meeting, commissioners chose to honor builder Jake Ivey with a proclamation pronouncing Tuesday as Jake Ivey Day in Columbia County.
Ivey died July 26 after a prolonged hospital stay. He was 66.
"It was a loss for you and your family, of course, and it was a loss to all of Columbia County," Cross said of Ivey as he presented the proclamation to Ivey's widow, Wanda.
Ivey owned J.W. Ivey and Associates and co-owned Ivey Residential LLC with his sons. He built more than 1,000 homes in West Lake, Jones Creek, The Boulders, Riverwood Plantation, River Island and other neighborhoods after starting his business in 1984.
Commissioner Ron Thigpen said he met Ivey in 1978, when he was the county engineer.
"He was an outstanding example for all of us," he said.
State Sen. Bill Jackson referred to Ivey as a man who "radiated his goodness."
"His life is a testimony ... to what a good man is," Jackson said.
Wanda Ivey said after the meetng that she was pleased with the proclamation.
"Jake loved Columbia County," she said. "It was just so much a part of his life. It means so much to us for him to be honored in this way."
On Monday city officials in Harlem also approved two proclamations, honoring Francis Tracy and Jean Dove.
At the monthly city council meeting, officials voted to recognize Sept. 7 as Francis Tracy Day in Harlem.
Tracy, 94, was a Harlem native and longtime owner of Tracy-Luckey Co.
The second proclamation declared Sept. 3 as Jean Dove Day in honor of the former city manager,.
Day retired last month after working for the city for 33 years.
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