Columbus Council removes three items from wish list

December 5, 2012 

Columbus Council has removed three of 14 proposals originally in its draft legislative agenda -- the annual wish list of state legislation it submits to local state lawmakers.

Proposals concerning driver's license requirements, extended pretrial detention, and fair market value of homestead properties were removed Tuesday night in a work session that spilled over into council's business meeting.

Councilors voted to keep the 11 other proposals on the agenda for an official vote at next week's meeting.

Councilors voted to remove a proposal that would allow county tax assessors to use factors other than sales price to determine fair market value of a house that has changed hands.

Because the board of assessors is involved in a lawsuit with a taxpayer

that is being appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court, councilors voted to wait to see what comes from the court rather than addressing it through state law.

Councilor Pops Barnes moved to pull his pre-trial detention proposal. It would have urged lawmakers to support legislation that would address the fact that many prisoners are being held in jail for more than a year before their cases move forward.

Public Defender Bob Wadkins explained to councilors that the issue would be more effectively addressed procedurally rather than legally, which led to Barnes' motion.

Also pulled was Councilor Red McDaniels' proposal to ask lawmakers to repeal the state law that makes renewing a driver's license more difficult. After having been told that most of the requirements are federal regulations coming from the Department of Homeland Security, McDaniels, who was not at Tuesday's meeting, told fellow councilors he would like to pull it.

The proposals that went forward for a vote next week were:

• Giving city leaders "redevelopment powers" that would allow them to use them to encourage investment and development in blighted areas.

• To change the authority wielded by the city's Personnel Review Board, restricting employee appeals solely to disciplinary actions.

• Restore funding to the Muscogee County School District that has been lost to austerity cuts.

• Tweak last year's Secondary Metal Recyclers Act to make it even harder for metal thieves to peddle their metal.

• Require the state Revenue Department to gather and release "point of sales" data when collecting sales taxes.

• Prevent the local region that passed the Transportation Special Purppose Local Option Sales Tax this year from losing transportation funding it would otherwise have gotten.

• Provide funding for a local adolescent residential treatment facility.

• Establish a technology fee to be added to fines in Columbus Recorder's Court.

• Protect hotel/motel tax proceeds to make sure they are spent on destination marketing.

• Create a state-wide study committee to deal with prescription drug issues known as "specialty tier drugs."

• Make minor corrections and revision to the city charter.

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