Columbus not interested in water authority if no negotiation

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, January 3, 2008

Columbus officials say they are not interested in joining a countywide water authority at this time if the county isn&squo;t willing to negotiate on the terms for forming the authority.

Columbus Town Council met recently to discuss the issue and said it will listen to the county&squo;s proposal at a joint meeting on Monday at the Polk County Middle School. But Columbus officials made it clear they do not accept all of the county&squo;s proposal and would have to negotiate changes before considering participation.

Columbus councilman Michael Gage said he would like to see an intake on the Green River, but he&squo;s&bsp; not sure whether the town can afford to participate in the authority.

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Columbus officials raised concerns that the county recently declined to share information about a proposed land purchase for the intake on the Green River.

The county said disclosing information about the property could impair its negotiation for the purchase. But town officials said it showed the county is trying to control the authority and is not willing to work with them and share information.

Columbus councilwoman Margaret Metcalf described the county&squo;s action as &dquo;slamming the door in our face.&dquo;