Columbia County Board of Commissioners workshop in Athens raises concerns


EVANS, Ga. (WJBF) — The first and third Tuesday of the month, the government building in Columbia County is filled with residents. They turn out to keep up with what’s going on in the community. However, a Sunday meeting in Athens has a lot of folks questioning the decision. Commission Chair Doug Duncan says the workshop is for relationship building between commissioners.

“I have a business background; the best practice is you clear your heads and get out of town,” explained Duncan. “We don’t make decisions, we give public notice, but we discuss things and come back.”

Duncan told NewsChannel 6 reporter, Devin Johnson, the board of commissioners has met once a year out of town since he was elected in 2014.

Doug Duncan: “When it boils down to it from a cost perspective, I think the total tab was $580,”

Devin Johnson: “Does that come from the tax payer’s dollars?”

Doug Duncan: “Yes, that is the expense of the meeting, $580.”

While there, the commissioners discussed several projects, including the status of the performing arts center. Which the commission chair says should be done by next year.

“What delayed it a little bit, they sent us the wrong color of bricks,” said Duncan. “They tried to get us to keep that color, but we said that is not what we ordered. So we had to send the bricks back.”

He says they also worked to find a solution to fix the ponds and dams in the county.

“But we also talked about an ordinance to deal with new development on how ponds are built,” explained Duncan. “And new development to have some funding structure going forward.”

Duncan says one of the biggest T-SPLOST projects they are working on, is to widen Hereford Farm Road.

“We want you to be able to get off exit 190 and then come up to downtown Augusta basically; it’s like a Riverwatch,” said Duncan. “It will flow straight into downtown from the Grovetown Walmart.”

Commission Chair Duncan adds all commission meetings are open to the public, with advance public notice. The commissioners encourage the public to attend as many sessions as they can.

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