Columbia County, Georgia

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Columbia County is one of 159 counties in Georgia. Its county seat is Appling. As of 2000, the population was 89,288. A 2008 Department of Commerce Survey shows a population of 115,766.[1] Appling is an unincorporated area, making Columbia one of only three counties in Georgia to have an unincorporated county seat. The de facto county seat, the location of Columbia County's government and courts, is Evans, also an unincorporated area.[2]

Evaluation of website

In 2011 Columbia County earned a Sunny Awards for having a perfect website transparency score.

Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning Y
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Audits Y
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Contracts P
Lobbying N
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Public records
Local taxes Y
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Transparency grading process

Main article: Evaluation of Georgia county websites

This website was reviewed on February 14, 2012.

The good

  • Elected officials are listed with contact information.[3]
  • Meeting schedules are posted, along with guidelines for public attendance and videos of prior meetings.[4] Meeting agendas and minutes are available.[5]
  • Administrative officials are listed with contact information on department pages.
  • Audits are posted.[6]
  • Budgets are posted.[7]
  • Bid opportunities are posted.[8]
  • Tax information is posted, and taxes are payable online.[9]
  • Zoning information is posted.[10]
  • Building permits are available.[11]
  • Information and contacts are provided for public records requests.[12]

The bad

Board of Commissioners

The Board of Commissioners seeks to provide the necessary county services in the most cost-efficient and effective manner and to provide the foundation and guidelines necessary for the future prosperity of Columbia County. Each Commissioner is chairman over a committee which provides the conduit for information and business to be conducted from the various County departments and the Board of Commissioners.[13]

Name Position District Term
Ron Cross Chairman At-Large 2011-14
Ron Thigpen Vice-Chair District 1 2011-14
Trey Allen Commissioner District 2 2009-12
J. Charles Allen, Jr Commissioner District 3 2009-12

County Administrator

The County Administrator serves as the chief administrative officer of the County and directly supervises all County Division Directors. The Administrator also coordinates activities and budgets with Elected Officials, agencies, boards, and authorities.[14]

The current County Administrator is Steve Szablewski.


The budget for Columbia County, GA, for FY 2011 provides funding to maintain current levels of service, with a proposed decrease in the millage rate of 0.25 mills, while reducing operating costs and capital outlay where possible. The budget for all funds totals $165,798,922, reflecting a decrease from the fiscal year 2010 adopted budget of $7,176,842, or -4.15%. This decrease is due to (1) uncertainty in revenue collections resulting from changes in state legislation and the sluggish economy, (2) completion of capital projects, and (3) maturing debt.[15]

Public Records

The Georgia Open Records Act provides that citizens are allowed to inspect and receive copies of records maintained by public office or agency. As a local government, the records of Columbia County are public records. The County Clerk’s office is responsible for ensuring compliance with public records request for records of the Board of Commissioners.[16]

External links