With only a few items on the agenda for January, the Columbia County Quorum Court this week passed a set of resolutions honoring former Justices of the Peace, as well as a resolution that transferred funds within department budgets.
Resolutions of appreciation were read aloud and approved unanimously that honored former JPs Marjie Blair and Steve Lee, whose terms both ended on December 31, 2020.
Blair, who represented District 2 of Columbia County, had been in office since 2007.
She retired from the Quorum Court at the end of her term. Lee, who represented District 6 of Columbia County, was defeated in last May’s primary by Greg Sanders.
Lee had been a JP since 2009.
Neither of the former JPs honored Monday by the Court were present at this week’s Quorum Court meeting.
The court also passed a resolution amending budgets within county departments. The transfers included budget amendments ranging from $6 to $13,000 within the County
Judge’s office, the County Clerk’s office, the County Equalization Board, County Elections, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, Office of Emergency Management, County Jail, and the Public Defender’s office. Most of the transfers were made to accommodate overtime pay, salaries, health insurance matching, unemployment, and workman’s compensation.
In other Quorum Court news:
Columbia County Judge Denny Foster stated that the county has received $651,179 in coronavirus relief funds as part of the CARES Act grant monies. The funds were applied for in November and will be set up in a special COVID relief fund within the county budget. The funds were awarded to help finance county emergency and health worker salaries and expenses associated with the virus.
JP Annette Pate, who chairs the Quorum Court’s Finance Committee, revealed that the county ended 2020 with a General Fund budget interest income of $11,000 more than what was initially projected. She attributed the excess to smart investing and projections from the county treasurer’s office.
The Magnolia-Columbia County joint rescue truck project is close to being finalized, according to JP Jason Ray. A resolution for voting on the project is expected to be ready next month. The Magnolia Fire Department is currently operating as the county’s rescue service provider. The agency is expected to do so for the foreseeable future as part of the city-county deal, but new equipment still needs to be purchased. The price tag for a new, fully retrofitted rescue truck is expected to be over $100,000.
WCA solid waste pickup may be running a few days late in the next few weeks, according to Foster. He said this week that COVID-19 has sidelined multiple drivers for the county’s solid waste pickup provider.