Supes agree to meet city on restaurant tax

December 5, 2017 10:58:02 AM

Slim Smith - [email protected]


On a day when the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors agreed to meet with the mayor and city council to discuss the future of the county's restaurant tax, supervisors also took action on what could be considered some old business too. 


During Monday's board meeting Board President Harry Sanders told supervisors he had talked to Columbus Mayor Robert Smith about the letter the mayor sent to the board requesting a joint meeting between the two bodies over the 2-percent restaurant tax. 


"The mayor said he had talked to each of the council members and said they could meet with us at 9:30 a.m. (Thursday) on the first floor of the Trotter Center," Sanders said. "So I'm making a proposal that we agree to that." 


The board passed the proposal unanimously but did not have any further discussion of the tax. 


Instead, the highlight of the meeting was a proposal to complete a part of the original plans for the Columbus Soccer Complex. 


Parks Director Roger Short told supervisors the Junior Auxiliary of Columbus has donated $75,000 to build a playground at the soccer complex downtown, contingent on the county providing the remaining $75,000 needed for the 8,000-square-foot playground. 


The playground, which will be located within the complex on the northwest corner of Third Street North and Fifth Avenue, was part of the original plans for the complex, but was scrapped soon after the complex opened in September 2012. Patrons complained of limited parking and a lack of restroom facilities during the opening days, and the money that had been set aside for the playground was diverted to address those issues. 


Now, thanks to Junior Auxiliary, the playground project should be added as it was originally planned. 


"We want to assist children in Lowndes County in every way we can," said Junior Auxiliary President Lauri Sansing, "We thought this would be a good way to promote outdoor activities and play in a way that touched children across the whole county." 


Short said the playground will be a "turn-key project." 


"If we approve this today, it should be finished by March," Short said. "All we'll have to do is a little dirt work and add a sidewalk going to the playground," 


J.A. Dawson & Co. of Pelham, Alabama, will install the GameTime playground equipment, which is designed for children two to 12 years old. 


Short said the builder required half of the money in advance. 


Sanders asked if the $75,000 donation from the J.A. could be used for that payment. 


"That's what we're looking at," Short said. 


"It would have to be that way, because legally the county cannot pay any money up front," Sanders said. 


Sanders then made the motion to accept the donation and provide the $75,000 needed to complete the playground contingent upon the J.A. providing the up-front payment. The board passed the proposal unanimously. 


In other business, the board reappointed Rick McGill to the Solid Waste Management Board. McGill was the only applicant. 


The board also voted to move the scheduled Dec. 29 board meeting to Dec. 28.

Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]