By Betsy Finklea
The Dillon County Council took up a number of issues at their March meeting.
County Administrator Rodney Berry gave his report. The first matter that he discussed was funding the various community entities. He said that the county had done such a big part with the inland port and invested a great deal of money. He said that he strongly feels that this was their injection into the community for jobs, and he thought that they needed to carefully choose the things they fund. He said that he provided a form to show how these entities use the money and how they plan to sustain it.
R. Berry gave an update on the county auction. He said it was quite successful and yielded approximately $50,000. He applauded Charles Taylor, Melissa Thompson, and others who worked on the auction for their efforts.
R. Berry reminded council members that they were invited to the NETC dinner/meeting in March.
R. Berry also gave the council a roads and bridges workload update. He said he gave them some paperwork which will be updated weekly. He also stated that he planned to attend the S.C. Power Team Symposium. Berry gave an update on the FEMA claims and said if they are approved that they were looking at about a half million dollars.
Greg Ackerman from Webster-Rogers presented the 2015-2016 audit. The county received an unmodified opinion, which Ackerman said was a clean opinion.
After the audit report, there was a discussion over the bill. R. Berry asked Ackerman to give an explanation of the bill. A great deal of discussion followed.
Ellen Hamilton from the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault spoke. She said April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. They will have an event on April 26th at the City of Dillon Wellness Center. She said they were available to speak at churches, community organizations, etc.
The council also took up the procurement code. Councilman Robbie Coward said the county administrator was doing an excellent job, but with the financial issues they were having he thought they should change the spending limit of the county administrator from $10,000 to $5,000. This means that any expenditure over $5,000 would have to be voted on by council.
Chairman Archie Scott said that the county administrator was very conservative and not a wasteful spender. This is just a measure for more accountable spending.
County Attorney Alan Berry said any changes would have to be done by ordinance. He said he would draft an ordinance and if approved by the administrative committee, he would get it on the agenda for first reading at the next meeting.
Fund 45, concerning the Latta area and Lake View area capital sales tax money, was discussed. Councilman T.F. “Buzzy” Finklea, Jr., said the Latta area and Lake View area Fund 45 money was in the general fund. When the county ran short on capital improvement projects that money was used on other things. Finklea said the he was proposing that when they get the GO bond money in April that they give the Latta area and Lake View area back the money, and it be put in two separate accounts for Lake View area infrastructure and Latta area infrastructure. Lake View area funds would amount to $531,722.51, and Latta area funds would amount to $173,261.75. Councilman Jack Scott seconded the motion. It was added that if the county came up short and needed to use the money that this could be done with a vote of council and replaced at a later date. County Administrator Rodney Berry said he had concerns about this, but this was alleviated some by the fact that four councilman could vote to use the money. The vote was unanimous by those present with the exception of Councilman Harold Moody, who was not present at the meeting.
Readings of the following ordinances were approved by council:
-First Reading – An Ordinance By Dillon County Council To Amend the Official Zoning Map Of Dillon County To Rezone A Parcel Of Land Know As Tax Map Nos.: Portion of #80 (Parcel 92) 68.62 Acres, Portion of 80 (Parcel 17) 49.69 Acres, Portion of 68 (Parcel 30) 39.88 Previous Property Owner(s): E. Cullen Bryant and Joseph Coward, Current Property Owner South Carolina State Ports Authority, Tax Map No. 080-00-00-112. Location Is Along West Side Of CSX RR From W. Countryside Road To W. Fairfield Road, Dillon, SC 29536 Change From Rural (RU) to General Commercial (GC) in Order to Operate The Inland Port.
-First Reading – To Amend Ordinance #12-07 Providing For The Closing Or Demolition of Dwellings Unfit For Human Habitation
-First Reading – An Ordinance Authorizing Pursuant To Title 12, Chapter 44 Of The Code Of Laws Of South Carolina 1976, As Amended The Execution And Delivery Of A Fee-In-Lieu Of Ad Valorem Taxes Agreement, By And Between Dillon County, South Carolina, And A Company Known To The County As Project Freedom, As Sponsor, And One Or More Sponsor Affiliates To Provide For A Fee-In-Lieu Of Ad Valorem Taxes Incentive And Certain Special Source Revenue Credits; And Other Related Matters.
-An Ordinance Authorizing Pursuant To Title 12, Chapter 44 Of The Code Of Laws Of South Carolina 1976, As Amended The Execution And Delivery Of A Fee-In-Lieu Of Ad Valorem Taxes Agreement, By And Between Dillon County, South Carolina, And A Company Known To The Count As Project Scottland, As Sponsor, And One Or More Sponsor Affiliates To Provide For A Fee-In-Lieu Of Ad Valorem Taxes Incentive And Certain Special Source Revenue Credits; And Other Related Matters.
The council passed the following resolutions:
-To Express Concern Over The Fiscal Impact Of H.3726 On Smaller Counties Of The State Of South Carolina
-To Close Farley Drive
In other action, the council:
-reappointed Glen McClellan to the Pee Dee Community Action Partnership Board.
-approved the concession stand rental bid of Shelaun Wright in the amount of $3,000.
Councilman James Campbell abstained from the vote.
-gave $500 to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
-approved various recreation requests.
NOTE: To watch this meeting, visit www.thedillonherald.com, or go to The Dillon Herald’s channel on YouTube, search under Johnnie Daniels, and look for The Dillon Herald sign.
By Betsy Finklea