Frequently Asked Questions

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Expand/Contract Questions and Answers

  • What is the tax digest?

  • Will additions or renovations increase the value of my property?

  • How often are properties reassessed?

  • How is fair market value determined?

  • How are real estate taxes calculated?

  • What is fair market value?

  • What is the purpose of the Tax Assessors' Office?

  • What is the service area for stormwater billing?

  • What is the billing period for my stormwater bill?

  • Who decides on what should be acquired as greenspace or greenways?

  • Is Columbia County considering interconnectivity of bike and pedestrian facilities while planning greenways and trails?

  • If my land is reclassified as permanently protected greenspace through a conservation easement, does this mean that I have to permit public access?

  • What are the benefits and downside of a conservation easement to the landowner?

  • The property remains in private ownership, allowing current owners to live on the land, manage it, leave it to their heirs, or sell it to someone else. Depending upon current tax code, a conservation easement can be utilized to lower the amount of estate taxes due from heirs.
  • The property owner is eligible for federal and state income tax reductions if the easement is permanent, meets conservation purposes, and is donated to a qualifying organization. Although there is no acreage requirement for a conservation easement, the IRS determines whether or not lands qualify as a charitable gift, thereby providing federal tax incentives to the property owner.  The lands must be certified by the Georgia Department of Natural resources in order for the property owner to receive a state income tax credit.  Please visit the Georgia Land Conservation Program’s for the most current tax credit information. Click here to view their webpage. 
  • Property taxes are often lowered. A property owner can ask the county tax assessor’s office to re-asses the value of the land once a conservation easement is completed.
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    The most notable loss a property owner will endure is the lost potential for development.  During the process of entering into a conservation easement, there will most likely be a variety of fees, including, but not limited to, accountant, appraisal, attorney, and surveyor fees. Also, easement holders have the right to request a stewardship fee be paid to them by the property owner to assist in monitoring the land and ensuring the restrictions placed by the easement are being followed.

  • What is a conservation easement?

  • What are greenways?

  • What is greenspace?

  • Who is the county attorney?

  • What are the commercial water and sewer tap-in fees?

  • What are the residential water and sewer tap-in fees?

  • What are the current water and sewer rates?

  • Can I obtain flood insurance if I am not in a flood zone ?

  • How can I protect myself and my property from flood hazards?

  • Is my property located in a flood zone?

  • What is a floodplain and how does it function?

  • What can I do to prevent water pollution?

  • How does polluted storm water affect me?

  • Where does rain water go after it enters a storm drain?

  • Can I partner with the County on water pollution prevention and stormwater quality outreach efforts?

  • Does the County offer educational presentations on water pollution prevention and/or stormwater quality?

  • Do I need a Land Disturbance Permit for a retaining wall, deck, or patio?

  • Do I need a permit to clear and stump trees on my property?

  • My lot didn’t require an Notice of Inspection. Do I still need a Notice of Termination inspection?

  • How do I schedule a Notice of Termination (NOT) inspection?

  • How soon can I get an E&S inspection?

  • How do I schedule an E&S inspection?

  • Who can I call about new construction or land disturbance complaints?

  • Who inspects land disturbance on construction sites?

  • Do I need a permit?

  • What types of services does the Department of Family & Children Services (DFACS) provide?

  • How do I contact the Department of Family & Children Services (DFACS) for Columbia County?

  • What is my voting precinct?

  • Who are my State and U.S. House & Senate representatives?

  • Who is my Board of Education Representative?

  • Who is my Commissioner?

  • What are the current demographics for Columbia County?

  • What are the fees for laboratory testing services?

  • What is the cost of a fire hydrant meter?

  • Why are water conservation measures in place when Columbia County is not in a drought situation?

  • When am I allowed to water my yard?

  • How can I reach someone at the Water Utility after regular business hours to respond to an emergency?

  • Who can I call to check the status of a submitted invoice?

  • To what address should a Water Utility vendor submit an invoice?

  • How may I obtain a sanitary sewer flow test?

  • How may I obtain a 24-hour water flow test?

  • How may I obtain a copy of the Water Specification book?

  • Are there any future plans for water and/or sewer to be extended to my area?

  • What are the septic tank dumping rates?

  • Do I have a grease trap? Do I need a grease trap?

  • How do I clean my grease trap?

  • What is a grease interceptor?

  • What is a grease trap and how does it work?

  • Is grease a problem in our sewer system?

  • What chemicals do you add to the water?

  • Is our water hard or soft?

  • Why is chlorine added to my drinking water, and how much is added?

  • Why does my water sometimes smell like chlorine?

  • What can cause discoloration in the water?

  • How often is our drinking water tested?

  • What is the source of our drinking water?

  • How much fluoride does our water have?

  • Is our water safe to drink?

  • Why are there lines painted in my yard?

  • Where is the County right-of-way?

  • Why is my water muddy?

  • Why is my water milky?

  • How can I reduce my water pressure?

  • What should my water pressure be?

  • How are water and sewer rates established?

  • How are the sewer charges calculated?

  • Why does my first bill have a $40 previous balance?

  • In extenuating circumstances, can I make alternate arrangements for paying my account?

  • When are payments that are placed in the drop box credited to my account?

  • How can I make payments for my water bill after office hours?

  • What is the due date for my water bill?

  • When will I receive my water bill?

  • Where can I pay my bill online?

  • Can I setup an automatic draft for my water service?

  • If I had a leak, can my bill be adjusted?

  • What are the pretreatment surcharge fees?

  • What are the permit fees for water trucks and tank inspections?

  • What are the penalties for violating the FOG & Backflow Ordinance?

  • What are the fees for backflow prevention devices?

  • What is the inspection fee for a Fats, Oil, and Grease pumper truck?

  • What is the cost of an Engineering Department Specifications book?

  • What is the cost of a temporary water service?

  • What is the same-day water service set-up fee?

  • What is the water service set-up fee?

  • What is Water Utility's mailing address/Where do I mail my payment?

  • Where is Columbia County Water Utility located?

  • How long does it take for a submitted invoice to be paid?

  • What is the $50 set-up fee for water?

  • How do I have an address assigned?

  • What is the difference between Single-Base, VRS, and CORS?

  • If a road is assigned a name, does that mean the County is responsible for maintaining it?

  • Can I buy reflective address numbers from the County?

  • Where can I find a copy of the zoning ordinance?

  • How can I verify the zoning and permitted uses on my property?

  • Can I put a mobile home on my property?

  • How long does a rezoning or variance process take?

  • Can I subdivide my land?

  • Can I have chickens on my property?

  • What are my setbacks?

  • How can I verify the zoning and permitted uses on my property?

  • What can I do with my property as it is currently zoned?

  • How do I obtain a burn permit?

  • What is a Roundabout?

  • How often are dirt roads scraped?

  • How do I find out if my road is on the list of roads to be paved?

  • Who do I call to have a dead animal removed from or alongside the road?

  • What can I do to help improve stormwater quality?

  • Doesn't Stormwater Runoff Go Into the Sanitary Sewer?

  • What is Stormwater Pollution Prevention?

  • Who should I contact if a traffic signal or school zone light is out or is not functioning properly?

  • What is the "85th Percentile Speed"?

  • What is the difference between a speed "hump" and a speed "bump"?

  • Who do I call to request Speed Humps?

  • I need traffic count information along a road I am planning to open a business, who do I contact?

  • Who do I need to call to request sidewalks?

  • How do I get a "Children at Play" sign in my neighborhood?

  • I want to stop speeding on my street, can a stop sign be installed?

  • Who do I call if a traffic signal is not working properly?

  • Will a lower speed limit reduce speeding on my street?

  • Can I get a speed limit sign on my street?

  • Where do I stop at an intersection when there is both a stop bar and a stop sign?

  • What are your regular business hours?

  • How do I register my livestock?

  • How can I volunteer for Animal Services?

  • Where can I find the County Codes and Ordinances for animals?

  • Where can I find the County Codes and Ordinances for animals?

  • How can I foster an animal at the shelter?

  • How can I report a complaint of animal abuse?

  • Are all events run by Columbia County?

  • What can I bring to a concert?

  • Where can I park for an event?

  • What are the requirements for posting address numbers for a commercial building?

  • What are the requirements for posting address numbers for a duplex or other multi-family residence?

  • Why is my address being changed?

  • Who does the County notify when they change my address?

  • How can I make sure 911 has the correct address tied to my home phone number?

  • How is an address determined?

  • What is the address numbering system?

  • How is my address affected if I have multiple structures on my property?

  • What happens with addressing if a road crosses a County or city boundary?

  • What should I do about addressing if I am demolishing and rebuilding or building a house or other structure?

  • What are the requirements for posting address numbers for a single family residence?

  • How should I post my address number if I live on a private drive?

  • Is it possible to have more than one address number assigned or displayed?

  • How do you decide if a roadway needs to be named?

  • How do you decide what name to give a roadway?

  • Where can I find the Addressing code and Structure Naming code?

  • What does Water Utility accept for payment?

  • Can I start or disconnect my water service over the phone?

  • How Can I Qualify For A Credit Against My Fee?

  • Why is a Stormwater Utility Necessary?

  • What is Columbia County's Tax ID Number?

  • What is the County's fiscal year?

  • Who is the County's independent auditor and how can I obtain a copy of the audit report?

  • What is Columbia County's Millage Rate and how is it established?

  • What is the County's annual budget and how can I obtain a copy of it?

  • What is the County's bond rating and who determines this rating?

  • What are contingency funds?

  • What is the difference between the incorporated and unincorporated areas of the County?

  • What is Columbia County's operating reserve?

  • How do I apply for a vacancy with Columbia County?

  • What types of benefits does Columbia County offer?

  • Will additions or renovations increase the value of my property?

  • What department is in charge of spraying for mosquitoes?

  • How can I tell the difference between a sewer and a storm drain?

  • Who is responsible for the mowing of right-of-way in the County?

  • Our street light is out or is obstructed by tree limbs. Who do I call?

  • Who should I contact to discuss installation of a new traffic sign on our street?

  • What if I have objections about a bid?

  • Where can I obtain Specifications/Requirements for a BID/RFP?

  • Where can I direct questions about a BID or RFP that is posted on the website?

  • How do I know when a bid has been advertised?

  • How can I be added to your vendor list?

  • How can I view Columbia County's Bids On-Line?

  • A tree fell across the stream behind my house. The stream also has a lot of trash and weeds in it and needs to be cleaned out. Who is in charge?

  • I need to have a driveway installed. What is the procedure to do so?

  • Which roads are not maintained by the County?

  • What is the procedure for reporting damage to a vehicle caused by rocks or other objects coming from a county vehicle?

  • Why am I being charged a stormwater fee?

  • How is the Stormwater Service Fee Calculated?

  • Who is the Stormwater Service Fee billed to?

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