Columbia County leadership, along with the Columbia County News Times Publisher Barry Paschal, are always quick to compare us to other Georgia counties. We thought we would perform some periodic comparisons ourselves. County debt is a good place to start.
There are 159 counties in the State of Georgia. According to the Georgia Department of Revenue, there are only 8 Georgia counties outside of metro Atlanta that are listed as currently imposing property taxes to pay off debt incurred by way of General Obligation Bonds: Appling, Cobb, Columbia, Forsyth, Gwinett, Paulding, Rockdale and Wayne. (Your house and land are the collateral for General Obligation Bond debt.)
Who owes the most? At $110,740,000, Columbia County has borrowed more money than any other county in Georgia. Next in line is Paulding County, located just northwest of Atlanta. Their current debt, according to their website, is $83,265,000. Bear in mind that Judge Bobby Christine said, “We have not lived beyond our means. We have been faithful stewards” when he violated judicial code and endorsed Ron Cross at his reelection campaign announcement. The News Times and other media outlets and personalities refuse to report this. Why?
The three counties with the largest imposed millage rate to pay off debt are Paulding, 1.87 mills, Wayne, 1.50 mills and Columbia, 1.27 mills.
Paulding County built an airport with their money in 2008, and in 2005 Wayne County built a hospital with theirs. Among various other projects, Columbia County dredged the pond at West Lake in 2010 with our money.
In case you weren’t keeping up with the West Lake pond project, please read the following paragraph taken directly from the minutes of the November 2, 2010 Columbia County Commission Meeting:
“Vice Chair Thigpen made a motion to award bid 2010-039 Bowen Pond Improvements Phase 2 to Blankinship Sand Company, LLC of Canton GA in the amount of $194,930.00. Funding source: 2007 General Obligation Bond, 361-3617-601015-61750. Commissioner Trey Allen seconded the motion and discussion followed. The motion passed unanimously.”
(Please note that Thigpen lives in West Lake and Trey Allen lives in Spring Lakes. Some residents of Spring Lakes should ask Allen why they had to pay with their own money when it was time to dredge their pond. We guess being the “Vice Chairman” comes with additional perks.)
At over $900 of debt for each man, woman and child living in the county, Columbia County has the highest in the State. Paulding, with 133,655 residents owes $625 per resident, and Wayne County, with 29,407 residents, owes $510 per resident.
Why does everyone get upset when the federal government goes into debt, but everyone seems to look the other way when its the county? We think it’s because you don’t know, and we know the local paper won’t print it, and Columbia County’s Republican Chief Magistrate Judge states that “We have not lived beyond our means. We have been faithful stewards.”
And you thought we were a conservative, Republican county!
Keep coming back as we promise to show you more.