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How to Verify a Professional's License in Columbus?
There are currently more than 17,000 professionals within Columbus, including construction contractors and healthcare-related professionals. However, before professionals can offer their services to city residents, they must be licensed by the relevant licensing agency and adhere to city regulations. The licensing of professionals in Columbus and across the state of Georgia is handled by 42 specialized state licensing boards, with assistance from the Professional Licensing Boards Division (PLBD) of Georgia's Secretary of State's Office. These boards include the Georgia Board of Landscape Architects, which licenses landscape architects, and the Georgia State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors, which licenses residential and general contractors. To verify a contractor's license, you can contact the PLBD at (404) 424-9966 or utilize the PLBD's professional license verification portal.
In addition to state licensing requirements, Columbus also requires professionals to satisfy some regulatory requirements before offering some services in the city. For instance, construction professionals are required to obtain the relevant permit before handling any construction. The city's Department of Building Inspection and Code Enforcement usually issues these construction permits and receives queries regarding permit issuance at (706) 653-4126.
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The Mayor of Columbus, along with the City Council and other city officials, oversee and govern the affairs of the city. Columbus is organized into ten districts, and every neighborhood belongs to one of these districts. Although the City Council assists the Mayor and other city officials in governing the city's affairs, it does not issue permits for home improvements or construction works. Nevertheless, it continues to consider resolutions for the city's development which may involve construction. For example, in February 2021, the City Council voted to approve the refurbishment and turning of an old Best Buy building into a distribution center. It is anticipated that the refurbishment process for the building will create jobs for residents. Similarly, in June 2021, the City Council approved a redevelopment plan for the Schumacher Place Giant Eagle, which included the permission to construct a mixed-use building. Although some residents have expressed disappointment with this approval, the City Council defended its decision by referring to the economic and housing benefits the approved redevelopment will give the city.
The Columbus 311 Citizen Services Department handles inquiries and questions regarding the city government's services. You can contact the agency and make inquiries regarding filing a consumer complaint against a professional or business by dialing 311. If the professional's or business's action is fraudulent, you can contact the department's dedicated fraud line at (706) 225-4610 or contact the city's Police Department at (706) 225-3100 for assistance on how to report the situation. Alternatively, you can file unfair business or unethical professional actions with the Georgia State Consumer Protection Division, either online or by calling (404) 651-8600 or 1-800-869-1123.
When you file a consumer complaint with any of the agencies mentioned above, your complaint will be investigated and this may result in legal action against the professional or business. However, note that such legal action is usually in the public interest and not for your personal redress. If you want personal redress, it is recommended that you hire the services of a competent attorney and consider initiating a civil suit against the professional or business. Such suits are usually initiated at the Columbus Magistrate Court, which serves as the city's small claims court and handles civil cases with a maximum claim of $15,000.