Commonly asked questions, and the answers you need.
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- The Tax Digest is a complete listing of parcels including property taxes for Columbia County property owners as they were for the current tax bills.
- In most cases when renovation takes place, additions are made or other improvements are added to the property, the value will increase. However, the cost in dollars of adding an item is not always equal to the value that the item contributes to the total property value. Upon receipt of your assessment notice, you may notice a larger or smaller increase in valuation than the actual cost of the construction. An increase in valuation can be due to variables other than new improvements to the property. It depends upon location, market demand and quality of construction. Cost is not always the same as value.
- In Columbia County, properties are reassessed every year.
- The appraisal staff considers a variety of factors when determining the value of your property. Some of those factors are:
• Selling price of similar properties
• Replacement cost of structure
• Income generated by the property (used mainly in commercial valuation)
• Condition of structures
• Size of structures and land
• Any other factors deemed pertinent
Fair Market Value x 40% = Assessed Value
Assessed Value x Millage Rate* = Tax Amount (in dollars)
$100,000 x 40% = $40,000
$40,000 x .026427 = $1057.08
*The millage rate is the tax rate determined by the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education.
- Fair market value of property means the amount a knowledgeable buyer would pay for the property and a willing seller would accept for the property at an arm’s length, bona fide sale.
The Tax Assessors' Office maintains records of all properties (real and personal) within the county, including, but not limited to the current property owner and fair market value. The Board of Tax Assessors directs a staff of appraisers to obtain and review all characteristics of each property within the county to insure the accuracy of the property record. These records are maintained by a staff of appraisal clerks. Each year, the compilation of these records results in a tax digest.
The Tax Assessors' Office is also designated to receive property tax returns for real and personal property. They also accept applications for exempt property, preferential agricultural assessment, conservation use valuation and Freeport exemption.
A "threshold" level of service is needed countywide, but a higher level of service is needed in the urban and suburban areas. At this time, the utility's service area encompasses only those unincorporated urban and suburban areas where the immediate needs are greatest. The County will continue to pay for the threshold level of service from general tax revenues.
This map shows the "Service Area" that has been defined as the utility service area. Generally, it encompasses Martinez and Evans within the Reed Creek, Jones Creek, Betty's Branch, and Euchee Creek watersheds. This area has been most severely impacted by recent urban and suburban development.
- Important information concerning your Semi-Annually Stormwater bill. The upcoming billing period is for the months of January 2018 to June 2018 and will be mailed out July 1, 2018. The due date for this bill is July 15, 2018. If you have purchased the property after January 2018, this bill reflects the amount owed after the purchased date. Likewise, if you sold the property before June 2018, this bill reflects the amount owed before the sell date.
Annual Stormwater bills will be mailed out October 1, 2018. The billing period is from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018 and will be mailed out October 1, 2018. The due date for this bill is October 15, 2018. If you have purchased the property after October 1, 2017 this bill reflects the amount owed after the purchased date. Likewise, if you sold the property before September 2018, this bill reflects the amount owed before the sell date.
If you have any questions regarding your stormwater bill, please contact our office at (706) 855-7246 or by email at Customer Service.
Click this link to pay your Stormwater bill.
- The Columbia County Board of Commissioners established the Greenspace Advisory Board in 2001 to serve as a citizen advisory panel advising and promoting the adoption of policies which will have the effect of preserving at least 20 per cent of the land area of Columbia County as greenspace. It is comprised of seven citizens appointed by the Commissioners. As one of its functions, the board identifies and recommends parcels for greenspace acquisition by the County. These recommendations go to the Board of Commissioners, which makes the final determination for land purchases or policy initiatives (regulatory changes, for example).
Is Columbia County considering interconnectivity of bike and pedestrian facilities while planning greenways and trails?Yes. The ARTS Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan is being referenced and considered throughout the trail planning process in appropriate areas of the county. More information on the ARTS Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan can be found here. Overall, the ARTS Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan assists in the planning and programming of transportation projects to create an integrated bike and walk-friendly network in the region. It is a comprehensive plan that incorporates areas within Columbia County in addition to the metropolitan areas of Augusta-Richmond and Aiken Counties.
If my land is reclassified as permanently protected greenspace through a conservation easement, does this mean that I have to permit public access?It is not necessary that all land considered to be greenspace have public access. Land in its natural state may have community value by protecting water quality, historic or archaeological resources, or wildlife habitat, even if it is not available for public use. In certain sections of the Euchee Creek Greenway Trail, Columbia County may seek easements for purposes of establishing the public trail, which will be narrow, specific route easements or outright purchases which the County will negotiate.
The benefits of a conservation easement include:
- 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. Vew 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.
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.
The purpose of conservation easements include protecting natural, scenic, and open-space property; assuring availability of land for agricultural, forest, recreational, and open-space use; maintaining or enhancing air/water quality; and preserving historical, architectural, archeological, or cultural aspects of the property.
A conservation easement is characterized as a flexible means of permanently protecting land. It is a voluntary, binding legal agreement between a property owner and an easement holder. Lands can be bought and sold while in conservation easement, and the restrictions agreed upon are transferred along with ownership as well. The restrictions specified in a conservation easement are variable and can be negotiated between a property owner and the easement holder. Generally speaking, restrictions include, but are not limited to, future development of any kind, subdivision, mining, utilities, significant landscape changes, etc. The easement holder is considered responsible for ensuring the property owner is complying to all agreed upon restrictions. The Georgia Land Conservation Center serves to assist land owners in selecting the right organization to partner with for a conservation easement. Vew their webpage.
- Greenways have the same natural qualities and characteristics as does greenspace. Greenways, however, have a linear character and typically serve as corridors along stream banks, rivers and other waterways.
The statue adopted during the 2000 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly defines greenspace as “permanently protected land and water, including agricultural and forestry land, that is in its undeveloped, natural state or that has been developed only to the extent consistent with, or is restored to be consistent with, one or more listed goals for natural resource protection or informal recreation”
The rules and regulations of the Georgia Greenspace Program denote nine specific goals for greenspace:
- Scenic protection
- Provision of passive recreation in the form of boating, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, running/jogging, biking, walking, skating, birding, riding horses, observing/photographing nature, picnicking, playing non-organized sports, or engaging in free play
- Water quality protection for rivers, streams, and lakes
- Flood protection
- Wetland protection
- Protection of areas with steep slopes, erodible soils, and stream banks thereby reducing erosion
- Protection of riparian buffers (ie-marshes) and other natural habitats and corridors
- Archaeological and historic resources protection on land that is primarily undeveloped or in its natural state
- Connection of existing or planned areas contributing to the outlined goals
Mr. Chris Driver with Hull Barrett Attorneys is the Attorney for Columbia County.
2017 Commercial Tap-In Fees
Effective April 1, 2017
Cost for 1" Service for Commercial Use
Cost for 1½ " Service for Commercial Use
Cost for 2" Service for Commercial Use
Cost for 3" Service for Commercial Use
Cost for 4" Service for Commercial Use
Cost for 6" Service for Commercial Use
Cost for 8" Service for Commercial Use
Cost for 8" Service for Commercial Use
2017 Residential Tap-In Fees
Effective April 1, 2017
All water and sewer tap-in fees are based on four (4) different conditions that exist in Columbia County. These conditions are as follows:
A: Applicant applies for a tap inside a developed area in which the Developer has furnished water and/or sewer mains, taps and meter boxes.
B: Applicant applies for a tap inside a developed area in which the Developer has furnished only the water and / or sewer mains.
C: Applicant lives adjacent to a water and /or sewer main installed by Columbia County.
S. Special Project*
Cost for 5/8" Residential Water Tap
Cost for 1" Residential Water Tap
Cost for 1-1/2" Residential Water Tap
Cost for Residential Sewer Tap
*Special Project areas may require participation fees as determined by the Board of Commissioners.
(Recent fees have been $4,000)
2017 Water and Sewer Rates
Effective April 1, 2017
Residential Water Rates
Rate per 1000 Gallons
Less Than 10,000 Gallons $10.95 $2.24 Greater than or Equal to 10,000 Gallons $10.95 $3.11 Less than or Equal to 30,000 Gallons $10.95 $4.52 Less than or Equal to 50,000 Gallons $10.95 $6.14
Residential Sewer Rates
Rates Per 1,000 Gallons
*Levelized Winter Billing
Commercial Water Rates
Rate per 1,000 Gallons
1" $19.42 $2.26 1.5" $43.68 $2.26 2" $77.48 $2.26 3" $174.74 $2.26 4" $310.68 $2.26 6" $698.25 $2.26 8" $1,245.53 $2.26
Commercial Sewer Rates
Rate per 1,000 Gallons
1" $23.37 $2.27 1.5" $52.58 $2.27 2" $93.45 $2.27 3" $210.25 $2.27 4" $373.84 $2.27 6" $845.81 $2.27 8" $1,423.52 $2.27
- The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a federal program enabling property owners in participating communities to purchase flood insurance on eligible buildings and contents, whether they are in or out of a floodplain. Columbia County participates in the NFIP, making federally backed flood insurance available to its property owners. For more information, please visit the Floodplain Management page.
- The National Weather Service, along with the Columbia County Emergency Management Agency, provides flood warning and evacuation data to local radio and television stations. When a flood threatens, evacuations may be ordered in areas expected to flood. Residents must be prepared to move to a place of safety. Columbia County Emergency Management will announce emergency shelter locations. For more information, please visit the Floodplain Management page.
- To view the Floodplain map, visit the Floodplain Management page.
- Floodplains are the low, flat lands adjacent to streams, rivers, and lakes that flood frequently. They are considered part of a healthy stream and are designed to hold in flood waters, as well as support a variety of natural resources and provide natural flood and erosion control.
- Stormwater is caused by human activities. We are the solution to this pollution. A few ways you can help are by disposing of harmful substances properly, following instructions for lawn chemical application, cleaning up after your pet, and preserving vegetation. Visit the Environmental Services page for more information and email us or call (706) 855-7246.
- Stormwater hits impervious surfaces and since it cannot soak in, stormwater runoff is created. As stormwater hits hard surfaces like roads, driveways, and rooftops, it collects pollutants such as sediment/dirt, oil, grease, animal feces, lawn chemicals, yard debris, etc. and eventually deposits these pollutants in our local waterways. Visit the Environmental Services page for more information and email us or call (706) 855-7246.
- Rain water, also known as stormwater, is discharged directly to our local creeks, streams, and eventually Savannah River. There is no treatment or cleanup of stormwater before it is deposited in our waterways. Visit the Environmental Services page for more information and email us or call (706) 855-7246.
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?Absolutely! We can present on how and why to protect our natural resources, to include flyover videos of our watersheds, and an interactive Enviroscape table top model. Presentations can be tailored to your needs. Visit the Environmental Services page for more information and email us at or (706) 855-7246.
- Yes! Permit requirements and inspection requirements are two separate categories. Though the Notice of Inspection permit was not required, E&S inspectors still need to visit the site to determine that stabilization best management practices have been followed (e.g., silt fence removal, permanent seeding and mulch, etc.).
- If the project had a Notice of Inspection, please provide the county with an Environmental Protection Department stamped Notice of Termination (NOT) form or NOT form with certified mail receipt of your NOT submission to the Environmental Protection Department. Notice of Termination inspections are scheduled through the Environmental Services Department at (706) 855-7246 or via email
- Inspection requests received by 4:30pm will be scheduled for the following business day unless you specify a later date.
- Call (706) 855-7246 or email us.
- Contact 3-1-1 with pertinent location information. One of our inspectors will inspect the area and get back in touch with the complainant’s provided contact information.
Columbia County E&S Inspection team:
Manager - Mike Anderson
Inspectors - Steve Abbott, Jason Alicea, Dennis Anderson, Wheeler Cowart, Scott Gordon, Tracey Shoemaker, Clayton Whittle
For more information, email us or (706) 855-RAIN (7246)
- For more information about needing a permit, please visit the Development Services webpage.
- The Department of Family & Children Services provides the following services to the citizens of Columbia County: Adoption Services, Adult Protective Services, Child Abuse & Neglect, Emergency Food Assistance, Energy Assistance, Food Stamps, Foster Care, Medicaid, Refugee Resettlement, Secret Santa Program, Subsidized Child Care, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
- Columbia County Department of Family & Children Services is located at 6358 Columbia Road, Appling Georgia. For inquiries on Food Stamps, Medicaid, Childcare and Temporary Assistance for Needy Family, please call 1-877-423-4746. To report Child Abuse/Neglect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, please call 1-855-422-4453.
- You can find information about Columbia County's demographics under the United States Census Bureau.
- Biochemical Oxygen Demand $50.00, Ammonia $60.00, Total Suspended Solids (TSS) $60.00, Volatile Suspended Solids $60.00, Total Coliform Bacteria (TCB) $55.00, Fecal Coliform Bacteria $70.00, pH/Mineral $20.00
- There is a $775.00 deposit, A monthly rental fee of $130.00, and a fee of $2.24 per k/gal water used.
- The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) determined that the entire state would be required to adopt year-round water conservation measures. In 2004, the Columbia County Board of Commissioners adopted an Outdoor Water Use Ordinance that specifies when water may be used outdoors during various drought and non-drought conditions to comply with the DNR rules. This ordinance was revised in 2010.
- According to the County's Outdoor Water Use Ordinance, during the current Level 1 drought conditions, residents may water between the hours of 4 pm and 10 am. NO WATERING between the hours of 10 am - 4 pm.
How can I reach someone at the Water Utility after regular business hours to respond to an emergency?You can call the Water Treatment Plant at (706) 860-2587. The Water Utility has personnel on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- You may call Water Utility's Accounts Payable Office at (706) 868-3475.
- The invoice should be submitted to P.O. Box 960 Grovetown, GA 30813.
- Columbia County Water Utility personnel will record sanitary sewer flow for a cost of $350.00. To order a sanitary sewer flow test, please email our Engineering Department.
- Columbia County Water Utility personnel will record flow on a 24-hour chart for a cost of $325.00. To order a flow test, please email our Engineering Department.
- The Water Specification book is available at Columbia County Water Utility, 2140 William Few Parkway, Grovetown, GA 30813 and costs $40.00.
- The Columbia County Water Utility is constantly expanding. To determine how future plans might be affecting your area, contact our Engineering Department at (706) 651-0433.
- The current fee for a septic tank truck to dump is $100 per truckload up to 3,000 gallons. Each additional thousand gallons costs an additional $40.
- If the establishment is uncertain whether it has a grease interceptor, then the owner should look outside the building for one or two manholes labeled Grease with a cleanout close by. This should be located close to the building. A grease trap or grease interceptor will be required to receive the drainage from fixtures and equipment with grease-laden waste located in food preparation areas (e.g.,such as in restaurants, hotel kitchens, hospitals, school kitchens, bars, factory cafeterias, or restaurants, and clubs).
- Grease Interceptors should be completely pumped (i.e., dry-pumped removing the grease mat, liquids, sludge, and wash down material from the interior walls). Grease Traps should be completely pumped (i.e., dry-pumped removing the grease mat, liquids, and solids from walls, screens, baffles and air-relief chambers). Can you recommend a maintenance schedule? All grease interceptors should be cleaned at least every 3 months, but some establishments may find it necessary to clean their traps more often. If the establishment has to clean its trap too often, the owner should consider installing a larger trap or interceptor.
- An interceptor is a vault with a minimum capacity of 1000 gallons that is located on the exterior of the building. The vault includes a minimum of two compartments, and flow between each compartment is through a 90° fitting designed for grease retention. The capacity of the interceptor provides adequate residence time so that the wastewater has time to cool, allowing any remaining grease not collected by the traps time to congeal and rise to the surface where it accumulates until the interceptor is cleaned.
- A trap is a small reservoir built into the wastewater piping a short distance from the grease producing area. Baffles in the reservoir retain the wastewater long enough for the grease to congeal and rise to the surface. The grease can then be removed and disposed of properly.
- In the sewage collection and treatment business, the answer is an absolute YES! Grease is singled out for special attention because of its poor solubility in water and its tendency to separate from the liquid solution. Large amounts of oil and grease in the wastewater cause trouble in the collection system pipes. It decreases pipe capacity and, therefore, requires that piping systems be cleaned more often and/or some piping to be replaced sooner than otherwise expected. Oil and grease also hamper effective treatment at the wastewater treatment plant. Grease in a warm liquid may not appear harmful. But, as the liquid cools, the grease or fat congeals and causes mats on the surface of settling tanks, digesters, and the interior of pipes and other surfaces which may cause a shutdown of wastewater treatment units. Problems caused by wastes from restaurants and other grease-producing establishments have served as the basis for ordinances and regulations governing the discharge of grease materials to the sanitary sewer system. This type of waste has forced the requirement of the installation of preliminary treatment facilities, commonly known as grease traps or interceptors.
- Chlorine (Hypochlorite) for disinfection, Sodium hydroxide (Caustic) for pH adjustment, Aluminum sulfate (Alum) as a coagulant aid, Fluoride for healthy teeth, Phosphate for corrosion control, Potassium permanganate for iron and manganese control, and Lime as a coagulant aid and for pH adjustment.
- Columbia County's water is very soft. The hardness is less than 25 mg/L of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Water is usually considered hard if the calcium carbonate levels are greater than 60 mg/L.
- Chlorine is added as a disinfecting agent to kill disease-causing microorganisms that can be present in raw water sources. Columbia County maintains a 0.2-2.0 mg/L chlorine residual in its finished water.
- When your drinking water has a smell of chlorine or Clorox, it is usually because the chlorine level is too low. Some people can smell the chlorine in their water if the level goes below a 0.3 mg/L. Please call the Water Utility if you smell chlorine in your water.
- The waters from the Savannah River and Clarks Hill Reservoir have concentrations of manganese and iron salts. Trace amounts of these minerals pass through the filter systems at our treatment facilities. When the water pressures in the pipes go up or down, the mineral deposits are pulled off the walls of the pipes, causing the water to have a brown or rusty orange color. A mineral deposit the size of a dime can cause a whole house’s water supply to be discolored. This does not cause health problems. If your water is discolored you can call the Water Office at (706) 863-6928, and the water mains in your area will be flushed.
- The chemical and microbiological quality of the water is constantly being monitored. Water plant operators analyze the water over 400 times a day. Central Laboratory personnel run at least 100 bacteriological tests, 100 chlorine tests, and over 25 additional quality control tests per month. In general, the drinking water is tested over 100,000 times a year.
- Columbia County’s drinking water is withdrawn from either the Savannah River or the Thurmond Lake Reservoir at Clarks Hill. Up to 46 million gallons per day is withdrawn from the Savannah River and is treated at the Jim Blanchard Water Treatment Facility on Point Comfort Road. The Clarks Hill Water Treatment Plant is capable of treating a daily maximum of 8 MGD.
- The normal range for fluoride in Columbia County’s drinking water is 0.7 – 1.2 mg/L. Fluoride is added to our drinking water to promote healthy teeth. Trace amounts of fluoride are naturally present in most water sources. The range is 0.0 – 0.2 mg/L in the CSRA.
- Yes! Laboratory personnel collect over 200 bacteria and other quality control samples a month throughout the water system to make sure Columbia County’s water is safe for human consumption. The water treatment operators and the laboratory analysts work as a team to insure that the drinking water meets or exceeds all EPA and Georgia EPD water quality standards.
- When you see these markings, it means that someone has requested the locating of utilities in anticipation of performing work in the area. Lines may be painted on the road or in a yard to designate the different utilities that are buried. Each utility's lines are marked with a different color. The colors are: blue for water; green for sewer; orange for phone or cable; red for power; and yellow for gas. The locating of utilities can be requested by contacting the Utilities Protection Center at 1-800-282-7411.
- The County's right-of-way is typically the first 10 feet beyond the curb. This area is reserved by the County for the placement of public utilities such as water lines. Repairs and upgrades are necessary from time to time, and this area has to be excavated.
- During water line construction, the water may become discolored. This happens when deposits in a water line become dislodged when flows are increased or there is a change of direction.
- A milky appearance is typically due to excess air in the water. This does not affect the quality of the water.
- To reduce water pressure coming into a house, a customer can purchase and install a pressure reducing valve (PRV) on the water line between the meter and the house. Because the PRV is installed between the meter and the house, its maintenance and repair are the customer's responsibility.
- Federal regulations require a minimum water pressure of 20 pounds per square inch (psi) in our water lines at all times. Columbia County typically maintains pressures of 50-90 psi throughout the system, so water pressure does vary considerably in different areas of the County. Low water pressure may be caused by a leak or a restriction in the line. If you believe you are having a problem, contact our office at (706) 863-6928.
- Water and sewer rates are established by resolution of the Columbia County Board of Commissioners.
- The three lowest water usages from the months of December, January, February, and March are averaged together. Your sewer charge for the next 12 months is that average times the applicable sewer rate. Customers with no history are charged a flat rate of $28.33/month as established by the Columbia County Board of Commissioners.
- If same day service was requested when the account was set up, a $40 fee is added to the initial bill and shows up as a previous balance.
- BEFORE the bill's due date, you may call our office at (706) 863-6928 to work out an alternate payment arrangement in extenuating circumstances.
- Payments are collected from the drop box Monday through Friday and are credited to the account the same day they are collected.
- A drop box is available in the drive-thru lane at 2140 William Few Parkway, Building A, Grovetown, GA 30813. We also have a drop box located at 4325 Evans-to-Locks Road, Evans, GA 30809 by the flagpole.
- Cycle 1 payments are due by the 15th of each month. A 10% late fee is added to balances not paid by the 15th of the month for cycle 1 bills. Cycle 2 bills are due by the 1st of each month. A 10% late fee is added to balances not paid by the 1st of the month.
- All Cycle 1 water and sewerage bills are mailed on the last working day of each month. Cycle 2 water and sewerage bills are mailed no later than the 15th of each month.
Yes. You will need to complete the Bank Draft Application Form. Automatic draft can only be drafted from a Checking or Savings Account.
Directions for starting a bank draft:
1. Print the Bank Draft Application Form.
2. Complete the following information:
a. Customer Name (printed)
b. Customer Address
c. Customer Signature
e. Name of Financial Institution
f. Address of Financial Institution
g. Checking/Savings Account Number
h. Financial Institution Routing Number
i. Water/Sewer Account Number
3. Attach a voided check to the completed Bank Draft Form.
4. Mail the completed Bank Draft Form with the voided check attached to:
Columbia County Water Utility
P.O. Box 960
Grovetown, GA 30813
If you have additional questions concerning bank drafts, please contact our office at (706)-863-6928.
- There are procedures in place for a one-time adjustment to one high water bill resulting from a leak. Please call our office at (706) 863-6928 for details.
- Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) above permitted monthly average is surcharged at $0.40/lb. Total Suspended Solids (TSS) above monthly permitted average is surcharged at $0.35/lb. Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) above monthly permitted average is surcharged at $0.90/lb.
- Potable water trucks $100.00/truck. Non-potable water trucks $100.00/truck. Mobile tanks $100.00/tank.
- First offense: Written Warning. Second Offense: $100.00 Fine. Third Offense: $200.00 Fine.
- Domestic or irrigation double check valve assembly or reduced pressure zone assembly $25.00/assembly. Commercial double check valve assembly or reduced pressure zone assembly $25.00/assembly. Fire service backflow inspection fee $50.00/assembly. Grease trap/interceptor outside $100.00 per trap/interceptor. Grease trap/interceptor inside $100.00 per trap/interceptor. Grease trap/interceptor retrofit/repair $25.00 per trap/interceptor. Re-inspection fee $50.00/establishment. Grease traps/interceptors; oil and water separators $50.00/establishment.
- The annual fee for inspection of Fats, Oil, and Grease pumper trucks is $250 for the first truck and $100 for each additional truck.
- An Engineering Specifications book costs $40.
- A temporary service is one that is set up for a duration of two weeks or less. Temporary service set-up fee is $30.00 with a daily fee of $2.00 and $2.24 cost per k/gal of the water used.
- The total cost to set up a same-day water service account is $90; $50 for the set-up fee and $40 for same-day service.
- The cost to set up a water service account is $50.
- The mailing address for Water Utility is P.O. Box 960, Grovetown Georgia 30813.
- Columbia County Water Utility is located at 2140 William Few Parkway, Building A, Grovetown, GA 30813.
- The Water Utility typically has a turnaround time of less than 30 days from the date an invoice is submitted to the Accounting Specialist.
- The $50 set-up fee is a one-time charge added to an initial bill to pay for the cost of setting up a new service.
- Please contact the Columbia County GIS and Addressing Department at (706) 868-3421 to have an address assigned. You should be able to provide the name of the road your driveway will be off, the tax map and parcel of the property if available, and a copy of the record plat of the property if it was recently platted.
- All three of these methods allow for centimeter horizontal and vertical accuracy based upon your receiver type. Single-Base is a service provided at no-cost and is available for real-time corrections during data collection. Trimble VRS Now™ is subscription based and allows for real-time corrections from multiple Trimble Reference stations. CORS is no-cost, and is provided for differential correction after data is collected in the field. CORS correction information originates from the GPS constellation.
- A road name does not require the County to maintain a roadway if it is a privately owned road. The road name is assigned to aid in emergency response and postal delivery.
- Reflective address numbers can be purchased through a variety organizations, including the Columbia County Fire Rescue headquarters at 3910 Desoto Drive, Martinez, Georgia.
- The Columbia County Code is available online at www.municode.com. The most recent changes to the code may not be reflected in the online version. If you suspect the regulations have changed, be sure to contact the Planning Department for the most up to date version.
- You can check your zoning using Maps Online, available on the county website. If you need an official zoning verification letter, you must fill out the request form in the Planning Department and staff will be happy to assist you. The list of permitted uses in each district can be found online at www.municode.com.
- Double wide mobile homes are permitted in the R-A (Residential Agricultural) district, in mobile home parks, and in the R-4 (Residential Recreation) district. Single wide mobile homes are permitted in R-A districts and conditionally permitted in R-4 districts provided the lot is at least 5 acres.
- A minimum of 6 weeks from the date of application to the final approval/disapproval by the Board of Commissioners. Please click to view the application deadline and meeting schedule for year 2018.
- In most cases, yes. All of the resulting parcels must meet minimum lot size and frontage requirements for the applicable zoning district. Additional requirements for access may apply depending on the number of lots to be created. For individual subdivision plats resulting in up to 4 lots, contact Kevin Fort for information at (706) 312-7196, For larger subdivisions, contact the Plan Review Department at (706) 312-7270.
- Yes, Columbia County allows non-commercial agricultural uses in all residential districts. However, your neighborhood may have covenants that prohibit or limit the number of chickens you can keep. In addition, if keeping chickens or roosters on your property leads to complaints from neighbors, Code Enforcement can require you to remove offending animals, clean up waste, etc.
- Setbacks are determined by your zoning district and the classification of the road your lot fronts on. In general, the setbacks for single family residential homes are as follows: R-A (Front 75'-125', Side 10', Rear 25') R-1 (Front 65'-115', Side 10', Rear 25'), R-2 (Front 55'-110', Side 10', Rear 10'), R-3 (Front 50'-105', Side 10' Rear 10'), R-4 (Front 55'-110', Side 10', Rear 10'). Planned districts such as PUD, PDD, and S-1 may have different setbacks. Please contact the Planning Department at (706)868-3400 to determine the road classification for your property to determine the front setback.
- You can check your zoning using Maps Online. If you need an official zoning verification letter, you must fill out the request form. The listed use of permitted uses in each district can be found online at www.municode.com
- Permitted uses depend on a parcel's zoning. The full permitted use table is available at www.municode.com
- A burn permit should be obtained through the Georgia Forestry Commission. Burn Permits can be obtained at 1-877-652-2876 / 1-877-OK2-BURN
- A modern roundabout is a circular intersection where drivers travel counterclockwise around a center island. There are no traffic signals or stop signs in a modern roundabout. Drivers yield at entry to traffic in the roundabout and then enter the intersection and exit at their desired street.
- The waters from the Savannah River and Clarks Hill Reservoir have concentrations of manganese and iron salts. Trace amounts of these minerals pass through the filter systems at our treatment facilities. When the water pressures in the pipes go up or down, the mineral deposits are pulled off the walls of the pipes, causing the water to have a brown or rusty orange color. A mineral deposit the size of a dime can cause water supply to be discolored for an entire house. This does not cause health problems. If your water is discolored you can call the Water Office at (706) 863-6928, and the water mains in your area will be flushed.
- Any questions concerning paving of dirt roads or resurfacing of existing paved roads need to be directed to the Road Construction Department (706) 447-7600.
- Please contact Animal Services at (706) 541-4077.
- There are many things that we can all do on a daily basis to reduce water pollution and otherwise improve stormwater quality. We have a series of pamphlets on various topics that we can mail to you. Some of the most important things people can do are very simple, likewise lawn fertilizing and pest treatment practices. Please visit our Pollution Prevention page for more information on how YOU can be a part of the pollution prevention solution.
- No. Only wastewater is collected and transported to the treatment plant by the sanitary sewer system. Stormwater flows through the storm sewer systems, ditches, and channels. It empties, untreated, into our streams, ponds, and lakes. It would be much too expensive to size the sanitary sewers and treatment plant to convey and treat stormwater in the same manner as sanitary sewage. The volume of wastewater generated by our homes and businesses each day is insignificant compared to the volume of stormwater runoff generated during a rainstorm. The better solution is to prevent the entry of pollutants into the stormwater system in the first place.
- Stormwater runoff is water that flows over our yards, streets, buildings, parking lots, and other surfaces when it rains. It flows into gutters, drainage ditches, storm sewers, and other drains that empty into our streams, ponds, and lakes, which eventually enters the Savannah River. Water pollution is less visible than flooding, erosion, and sedimentation, but it is no less important. A variety of pollutants, such as fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, motor oil, gasoline, and other industrial chemicals, accumulate on roofs, streets, parking lots, lawns, and other surfaces in urbanized areas and are picked up by stormwater runoff. Sometimes, people even dump paint, antifreeze, or crankcase oil from gasoline and diesel engines into storm drains. Failing septic tank drain fields allow wastewater containing pathogens and coliform bacteria to discharge onto the ground and into ditches, where it may be swept into streams during and following rainstorms. Even something as common as animal droppings can cause harmful water pollution if they are picked up in stormwater runoff. These pollutants are eventually carried into our local stream, creeks, and lakes. The best way to stop pollutants from entering our valuable water resources is to prevent them from entering the system.
Who should I contact if a traffic signal or school zone light is out or is not functioning properly?Please contact the Traffic Engineering department at (706) 868-4223.
- The 85th percentile speed is defined as the speed at which eighty-five percent of drivers are traveling at or below, while fifteen percent of drivers are exceeding that speed.
- A speed "bump" is a shorter speed control device that is primarily used in parking lots, they are approximately 12-15 inches wide. A speed "hump" is used as a traffic control device on streets and roads. They are approximately 20 feet or wider.
- Traffic Engineering at (706) 868-4223. Please click to view the Speed Hump Program Policy Manual.
- You can call the Traffic Engineering Department at (706) 868-4223 for this information or you may visit the Georgia Department of Transportation website.
- To request sidewalks, please call the Columbia County Road Construction Department at (706) 447-7600.
- Columbia County no longer installs "Children at Play" or "Watch for Children" signs. The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) no longer recognizes "Children at Play" signs. There is no evidence to prove that this sign helps reduce pedestrian accidents or lower speeds and in some instances studies have shown that speeds have increased in areas where these signs are present. Currently, when a "Children at Play" or "Watch for Children" sign is present in a work area, it will be removed.
- According to the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), a stop sign shall not be used to control speed.
- You can report the problem to Traffic Engineering at (706) 868-4223 or email us.
- This is a common myth, research conducted throughout the country over several decades has shown that drivers are influenced by the type of street and the current traffic conditions and not the posted speed limit.
- The placement of speed limit signs are based on several factors. One of the main factors is the functional classification of the roadway. If it is a local road (typical subdivision street), speed limit signs are normally placed only on the local roads that serve as entrances/exits to subdivisions. Usually, none of the interior subdivision streets have speed limit signs placed.
- The stop bar is supposed to be placed at the critical point. It should be placed where one will be out of the flow of oncoming traffic and where the stopping vehicle can see oncoming traffic. According to code requirements, the stop sign can be anywhere from six feet to fifty feet from the edge of the intersecting street.
- The county's regular business hours are 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday.
- To register your livestock, please complete our online Livestock Registration form.
- To volunteer at Columbia County Animal Services, please complete our online Volunteer Application form.
- The Columbia County Code is available online at www.municode.com. The most recent changes to the code may not be reflected in the online version. If you suspect the regulations have changed, be sure to contact the Animal Services Department for the most up to date version.
- The Columbia County Code is available online at www.municode.com. The most recent changes to the code may not be reflected in the online version. If you suspect the regulations have changed, be sure to contact the Animal Services Department for the most up to date version.
- Please complete our online Animal Foster Care Application.
- Columbia County residents can submit a report by calling 311 or (706) 868-3375 for residents outside of Columbia County. You can also submit a report with 311 online.
- No, our venues are available for rent by other companies and groups who occasionally put on events at our venues. For more information, please visit Evans Towne Center Park website.
- For a complete list of permitted and prohibited items, visit Evans Towne Center Park website.
- Event parking changes based on the event taking place, for more information on the securing the closest spot to the action visit Evans Towne Center Park website.
- Commercial structures require numbers that are at least 4 inches tall to be posted on the structure itself within 5 feet of the front door and visible from the roadway. Posting along the driveway access is also recommended.
- Multi-family residences, like duplexes, are required to have 3 inch tall numbers posted on the building within 5 feet of the front door and visible from the road if possible. Posting along the driveway access is also recommended.
- Address changes can result from a variety of changes like road renaming, driveway access changes, new development, parcel changes, etc.
- The county will notify both the regional and local postmasters as well as the Columbia County Tax Assessor’s Office, Water Utility, Fire Rescue, and 911 of an address change. You are responsible for updating accounts with any other service providers or agencies.
- If you have a landline, you can contact 911 by calling the non-emergency phone at 706-541-2800 for a test call to verify the address linked to your phone number.
- The driveway location determines the roadway and address number. For corner lots, the National Emergency Number Association (NENA)'s standards state that if a house faces a different street than the driveway, the driveway location will be the officially recognized 911 address for emergency response. In urban areas, driveways providing access to structures that do not have their own road frontage, and which are located behind other addressable structures, should be named and addressed as streets, especially if there are 3 or more residences.
- Even address numbers appear on the left side of the road while odd address numbers appear on the right side of the road as they increase along the roadway. Address numbers begin at the intersection where the road begins. As for roads that have access or intersections on either end, the address numbers begin at the intersection with the busiest road.
- The primary structure on a property will have the same number assigned to it as the real property or land. Every additional structure will be assigned its own unique address. Structures with more than one use or occupancy will have a separate number for each use or occupant. For example, duplexes will have two numbers assigned.
- Whenever a road crosses a municipality boundary, we will continue the address numbers as best we can to create a smooth transition.
What should I do about addressing if I am demolishing and rebuilding or building a house or other structure?It is your responsibility to contact Columbia County GIS and Addressing to have an address number assigned before a permit can be issued. You can reach the Addressing department by calling 706-868-3421.
- Single family homes are required to have 3 inch tall numbers posted on a fence, wall, or mailbox post approximately 4 feet tall near the driveway access. The numbers should be clearly seen from both directions along the road.
- If a residence is on a private drive that serves more than one building, the address number should be posted on the main road for emergency responders in addition to posting it near the driveway access off of the private drive. If a structure has more than one address assigned for multiple uses or duplexes, numbers should be displayed near the door to each unit as well.
- The only address number that should be displayed is the one that has been officially assigned by the Columbia County GIS and Addressing Department. If you have any questions about your official address, please contact Addressing Department at 706-868-3421.
- A road that serves three or more structures or properties will be named regardless of public or private ownership.
- We avoid any same or similar sounding road-names when assigning road names to reduce confusion in emergency situations. We like to work with the affected property owners when a private road name is assigned.
- They have changed, be sure to contact the GIS and Addressing Department for the most up to date version.he Columbia County Code is available online at www.municode.com. The most recent changes to the code may not be reflected in the online version. If you suspect the regulations
- Currently, payments may be made with cash, a check, VISA, Mastercard, or a money order. Payments may also be automatically drafted from your bank account.
- Yes. In most cases we can set up or disconnect a service over the phone with a one-day notice. Between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM, please contact Water Utility at (706) 863-6928.
REMINDER: Please remember that previously applied credits expire June 30. Please submit proper inspection documentation to prevent a discontinuation of any credits. if you have any questions, please contact 706.855.7246.
A stormwater credit is a reduction in the monthly stormwater utility service fee. The overall goal of the County is to give a credit to property owners that are reducing the impact of stormwater generated by their property. By reducing the peak discharge of stormwater from their property, through either a retention or detention facility such as a pond, property owners are helping the County protect properties downstream by complying with the Federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements, property owners are helping the County improve water quality. Columbia County is offering two types of credits for this assistance: Peak Flow Reduction Credit (also know as a pond credit) and NPDES Water Quality Credit. The maximum amount of credit available is 50% of the total stormwater utility monthly service fee.
It is the property owner or HOA/POA's responsibility to submit the appropriate Operation and Maintenance Inspection Report (Appendix C-1 or C-2) annually to continue receiving credit. Failure to submit the required information will result in discontinuation of the credit on the next billing cycle.
The Service Charge Credit Technical Manual provides guidance on the specific procedures to follow to receive the service credit.
For residential (non-engineered) pond credits, the property owner(s) must complete the following forms and submit them to the Stormwater Utility Department:
1. Appendix A - Stormwater Utility Credit Application Form including a sketch of the property(ies) showing the location of the pond on the property(ies),
2. Appendix B - Permanent Stormwater System Maintenance and Inspection Agreement, including Maintenance and Inspection Plan, and
3. Appendix C-1 - Operation and Maintenance Inspection Report for Non-Engineered Residential Ponds.
For non-residential (engineered) pond credits, the property owner must complete the following forms and submit them to the Stormwater Utility Department:
1. Appendix A - Stormwater Utility Credit Application Form including a sketch of the property(ies) showing the location of the pond on the property(ies). If a Property Owner's Association (POA) is seeking credit, a list of the properties which are included in the POA must be attached to the application,
2. Appendix B - Permanent Stormwater System Maintenance and Inspection Agreement, including Maintenance and Inspection Plan,
3. Appendix C-2 - Operation and Maintenance Inspection Report for Engineered Stormwater Management Ponds, and
4. Appendix D - Credit Calculation Form.
If approved, your credit will appear on your next Stormwater Utility bill. If you have been denied, a letter will be sent to you explaining why you have not qualified for the credit. Please email our Customer Service Department or call our office at 706-855-RAIN (7246) for additional information.
- Urban development in Columbia County has resulted in many problems within the existing stormwater drainage system. Problems such as increased flooding, stream widening and bank erosion, changes in channel beds due to sedimentation, and stormwater quality issues are pervasive throughout the urbanized portions of Columbia County. Coupled with these problems is one of an aging infrastructure. Subdivisions built in the 1970s are seeing significant problems due to issues such as the failure of metal pipe, which has a life expectancy of 25 years.
A comprehensive evaluation of the community's stormwater management needs and opportunities was undertaken starting in 1998. As a result, the Columbia County Board of Commissioners established a Stormwater Management Utility, which commenced billing in October 2000. The Utility provides dedicated funding, enabling the County to initiate comprehensive, watershed-based projects, instead of the existing, largely reactive program.
- The county's Tax ID number is 58-6000807.
- Columbia County's fiscal year runs July 1 through June 30.
- The county's independent auditor is Cherry Bekaert LLP. The complete auditor's opinion letter is included in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).
The millage rate is established annually by the Board of Education and the Board of Commissioners and is applied to the assessed values of properties as of January 1 of that year. The millage rate for fire services applies to special districts within the unincorporated areas only. The Board of Education accounts for approximately 67% of the total millage rate in the incorporated areas and 62% of the total millage rate in the unincorporated areas.
The current millage rate is 25.6967 in the unincorporated areas, 27.937 in the incorporated areas and is broken down as follows:
County Tax 6.189 County Bond 1.207 Fire 2.241
School Tax 18.30 School Bond 0.0
- The adopted General Fund budget for fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, is $54,123.958. A complete copy of the budget can be obtained from the Finance Office and a summary of the budget is located on this website.
- Columbia County continues to maintain strong bond ratings with the major credit rating services. In December 2016, the Government prepared comprehensive presentations for Fitch IBCA, Standard & Poor’s, and Moody’s Investors Service rating agencies in an effort to upgrade the current uninsured bond ratings applied to the Government in anticipation of issuing approximately $60 million in general obligation property tax bonds. The Government received the following ratings for its general obligation debt:Rating Agency:Previous GO Rating:Revised GO Rating:FitchAAAAAAMoody’s Investor ServicesAa1Aaa (upgrade)Standard and Poor’sAA+AA+The Government currently has the following ratings for the water and sewerage debt:Rating Agency:W/S Rating:FitchAAAMoody’s Investor ServicesAa2Standard and Poor’sAA+These high ratings are a primary factor in keeping interest costs low on the Government’s outstanding debt. The County will continue to follow prudent fiscal policies and practices in order to maintain its strong credit rating.
- This reserve shall be appropriated annually as part of the budget by fund and shall be used for paying unexpected or unanticipated expenditures of an operational nature during the fiscal year. This reserve should approximate one to two percent of the fund budget.
The incorporated areas of the county are made up of the two cities, Grovetown and Harlem. Each city is governed by a Mayor and a City Council elected by their citizens. The remainder of the county is unincorporated and is governed by the Board of Commissioners consisting of a county-wide elected Chairman and four Commissioners elected from each of the four districts of the County. Grovetown and Harlem are located within district 4.
Chairman Ron C. Cross County-wide
Commissioner Doug Duncan District 1
Commissioner Trey Allen District 2
Commissioner Gary Richardson District 3
Commissioner Bill Morris District 4
- An operating reserve shall be established in the General Fund and each Enterprise Fund to provide for operating contingencies in either revenues or expenditures, and to provide adequate funds to operate without short-term borrowing. This reserve, which should provide funds for 75 to 100 days of operations, may be used as required by authority of the Board. To determine the current funding level, divide the current operating reserve by the result obtained from dividing the annual fund budget by 365 days.
- Applications for employment must be submitted online. We do not accept faxed or emailed applications. To apply online visit the website at www.columbiacountyga.gov, then click on County Jobs. Applications are active for two (2) years.
- A resume may be attached to an application but cannot be submitted in lieu of a completed online application form.
- Columbia County employee benefits include: Eleven (11) Paid Holidays Per Year; Personal Time Off; 401(a) and 457 Deferred Compensation Option; Employee Assistance Program; Insurance (Health, Dental, Life, and Supplemental); Flexible Spending Account (FSA); Education Reimbursement Program.
In most cases when renovation takes place, additions are made or other improvements are added to the property, the value will increase. However, the cost in dollars of adding an item is not always equal to the value that the item contributes to the total property value. Upon receipt of your assessment notice, you may notice a larger or smaller increase in valuation than the actual cost of the construction. An increase in valuation can be due to variables other than new improvements to the property. It depends upon location, market demand and quality of construction. Cost is not always the same as value.
- The County does not currently have a program to spray for mosquitoes.
- A sewer (top) is usually located in the middle of the road and has no type of drainage from the road whereas a storm drain is usually located at the curb and water is able to drain into it. A storm drain can also be located at the back of property.
- The county's Roads & Bridges department is responsible for the mowing of right-of-way on county maintained roadways.
- If the street light is out, contact Georgia Power at 1-888-891-0938. If the light is obstructed by a tree limb contact Roads & Bridges at (706) 541-1143.
- For new traffic signs, contact Traffic Engineering at (706) 868-4223. To replace an existing sign, contact Roads & Bridges at (706) 541-1143.
- The Board reserves the right to reject any or all proposals. Any objections to the specifications/requirements as set forth should be filed in writing prior to the proposal deadline. Please contact the Procurement Department with your concerns at (706) 868-3305.
- By contacting ProcureHelp or the contact person listed in the Bid / RFP documents.
- You can look in the Columbia County News Times or click here for the BID/RFP/RFQ Opportunities link.
- Columbia County offers the availability to access a tool that adminstrates all Bids and RFPs by choosing the following link: BidSync. There is no charge for this service.
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?For the answer to this question, please contact the county's Stormwater department at (706) 855-7246
A Driveway Repair/Replacement Policy was adopted on September 2, 2014 by the Board of Commissioners stating the County does not direct owners in determining the construction standards or material needed for a driveway. It is up to the landowner to purchase material and install a driveway and to maintain the driveway after installation. The only time the County will replace or repair a driveway is when work is required to repair utilities within the County's right-of-way. See attached driveway policy.
The County does not maintain any privately-owned roads (or driveways) or the following state-maintained roads:
- Appling Harlem Road (Hwy 47/221)
- Belair Road (Hwy 383 - from Washington Road to Wrightsboro Road)
- Bobby Jones (Hwy 520)
- Cobbham Road (Hwy 150)
- Columbia Road (Hwy 232)
- Fury's Ferry Road (Hwy 28)
- Gordon Hwy (Hwy 78)
- Interstate 20
- Lewiston Road (Hwy 388 - from Columbia to Wrightsboro Road)
- Scott's Ferry Road (Hwy 221)
- Washington Road (Hwy 104)
- Wrightsboro Road (Hwy 223 - from Grovetown to Thomson)
What is the procedure for reporting damage to a vehicle caused by rocks or other objects coming from a county vehicle?Stop immediately and call the Sheriff's Office (706) 541-2800 and have an incident report written up. The time of the incident, the address at which it occurred and the County truck number involved needs to be given to the officer. After all paperwork has been completed, contact the Risk Management office (706) 868-3363 with an incident report number.
- Almost every property discharges some stormwater into the public drainage systems, even if it is not noticeable to you. Properly controlling that stormwater runoff is a very real service to you and other property owners. The County's program will capture and control stormwater runoff so properties like yours are not flooded or otherwise impacted by runoff from other properties.
Impervious area (e.g., rooftops and paving) is the single most important factor influencing stormwater runoff. Urban and suburban development replaces natural ground surfaces with impervious surfaces, causing more stormwater to run off the land, rather than soak into the soil. Columbia County's stormwater service fee is based on the amount of impervious area on each property. Each 100 square feet of impervious area is billed $0.1775 per month.
- All properties within the service area are billed to the owner of the property and is based on the impervious surface located on the property as reported by the Tax Assessor's Office. The stormwater service fee is billed on your monthly water and sewer bill. People who do not receive water and sewer services from the County, but own property in the stormwater service area with impervious surface, will receive a "stormwater only" bill. No developed properties will be exempt from the stormwater service charge, regardless of their ownership or tax status.