HomeNewsColumbia County poised for even more growth

Columbia County poised for even more growth



Columbia County Commission Chairman Doug Duncan is excited about what the year 2023 may bring to the county with several public-private capital projects on the horizon.

Plans are moving past the talking stage on bringing an expansion of Augusta Tech into Columbia County, according to Duncan.


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  1. how about getting some traffic engineer’s that can design roads that don’t run out of space in 5 years or less instead of the 10 years they work on. just look around columbia county now that roads that maxed out due to poor planing

  2. I’m glad to see they got rid of that evil Stay Social. They need to replace it with a strip club that serves alcohol. Perhaps the strip club will achieve that 50/50 loan requirement Columbia County places on loans.

  3. I’d like to see Chairman Duncan address the potential elephant in the room regarding the proposed hospital for the county. And that elephant is this, what will be the final price tag that the resident taxpayers of Columbia County get saddled with and where are those funds going to come from?

    Here is a bit of a refresher:
    – Way back in the day when the Ill-advised project was first discussed, there was no hospital bed need for the health planning area that Columbia County resides in. So, the only way to get a Certificate of Need, CON, awarded by the state would be to use a maybe once used loophole in the State’s CON law that would allow a CON in a county that doesn’t currently have a hospital but only if the County itself agreed to put up 20% of the costs to build such hospital.
    – Again, way back in the day, approximately 2014, the proposed hospital had an estimated price tag of $150,000,000, of which the county taxpayers would cough up 20%, or $30,000,000. Now that we are approaching nearly 10 years later and have experienced a pandemic, who wants to play ‘Price is Right’ and guess the new cost? My guess would be a minimum of 2x, or $300,000,000, which now saddles us taxpayers with a $60,000,000 bill to pay. Where will this come from Doug?
    – Now let’s address a few other complicating matters. Like first and foremost, why did the CEO and CFO of Augusta University Medical Center, up and leave town at the same time earlier in 2022? The top 2 officer’s don’t normally jump off a ship sailing in calm waters. I don’t pretend to know the former CEO, Katrina Keefer, but I knew of her and was not surprised when her friend and former CEO of the hospital system in Tuscaloosa finally retired and she hightailed it back home to the Birmingham area to run DCH. So, let’s say for fun that all is well at AU Health and she moved back for personal/family reasons.
    – But all is not well at AU Health, otherwise Moody’s would not have lowered their bond-rating to the highest level of non-investment grade from the lowest level of investment grade. Ex-CEO Keefer is quoted in an article that once the the final price tag is added up, AU Health will just go to the bond market for their 80% of the project. Good luck with that.
    – Someone please tell me the last time AU Health actually made a dollar. A quick Google search comes up with two articles, one for the first 6 months of FY 2021 alleging the system made $4.6 million and the next article shows they really lost $20 million in FY 2021. And so the County has partnered with these amateurs to manage our 20% investment in this hospital.
    – I called the project Ill-advised when I started and here is why. Opening a hospital is not like putting in a Krispy Kreme where Stay, Social is vacating. There is a reason the State showed no bed need for our health planning area. And don’t give me the crap about Columbia County doesn’t have a hospital. If the founding fathers of Doctors Hospital had bought property north of I-20 instead of south then Columbia County would have had one since 1974. The main reason the State showed no need is that the MSA we live in has more hospitals and hospital beds per capita than most places. You count them all and then for fun try counting all the surgery centers in the two county area.
    – And most of the hospitals and some of the surgery centers are struggling now. You think University would have been taken over by Piedmont if they were doing well, and would the new owners be attacking retiree benefits if the hospital was doing well? Don’t even get me started on what Piedmont will do with Summerville and McDuffie, but you are not going to like it. RIP Saint Joseph Hospital.

    Just a little food for thought…
    …but I would like to hear how and how much I will be paying for my share of the growing 20% of this project sooner than later.

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