Bill to split Columbia County away from Augusta Judicial Circuit gains momentum
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Monday morning, the Georgia Senate passed a bill to split Columbia County from the Augusta Judicial Circuit. The bill will move on to the House and if its passes, it will go to the Governor Brian Kemp for his signature. FOX 54 spoke to the chairman of the Preserve the Augusta Judicial Circuit Committee who hopes to slow down the split. The committee consists of mostly lawyers whose goal is to keep the judicial circuit as it stands now.
Chairman Attorney Adam King says the split is just a solution in search of a problem. “It seems like there is a lot of momentum in Columbia County’s favor to get this done but we are hopeful that we can slow it down and cooler heads can prevail.”
According to Columbia County, it could save up to $1 million in establishing a stand-alone circuit. However, King disagrees and says tax payers need to know the economic impact of a split from the current judicial circuit. “This will not result in a financial savings for Columbia County. It will likely cost Columbia County about $1.6 million, it will likely cost Richmond County $1.1 million, and will likely cost Burke County around $400,000. So its not going to save anybody any money.”
King says for more than 150 years, the Augusta Judicial Circuit has consisted of Augusta , Columbia and Burke counties. He says a split would compromise the rich diversity of the established circuit and the timing of the proposed split just doesn’t add up. “Times like these are hard politically, health wise, socially. It seems to us and it seems to me personally that we are better off fighting these battles together and that we are better off staying together instead of breaking off and trying to be separate. Now seems to be the time for unity.”