By Betsy Finklea
The Dillon County Council approved funds for the Pee Dee Regional Transportation Bus Service to implement a route in Dillon County in a 5-1 vote at their meeting on Wednesday.
Dillon County Administrator Tony Clyburn said this would be to implement a transportation system for people in Dillon County not only to go to work, but for public use. It would provide citizens transportation to doctor’s offices, retail stores, government buildings, and all of the major industries. It would include stops in Newtown, Riverdale, Oakland, Latta, Lake View, Little Rock, and areas throughout the county.
Clyburn said that all of the counties in the region have the PDRTA service except Dillon County and that Dillon County was the county trying the hardest to implement economic development through industry. Transportation is a key part of being able to do this.
The total cost for the first year will be $1.6 million. Of this, the federal government will provide $600,000, the state will provide $750,000, and the local match is $250,000. Some of the industries have stepped up the plate and have agreed to provide funds so Dillon County would only have to contribute $36,000, which is 2.5 percent of the total cost.
Dillon County would make a three-year commitment of $36,000 each year which can be made in monthly payments. Payments would not start until January.
Clyburn said he felt strongly that this was something that Dillon County needs to participate in.
Dillon County Council Vice-Chairman T.F. “Buzzy” Finklea, Jr., said all of the council had transportation, and they didn’t think about those people who didn’t, but there are so many people in Dillon County who don’t have transportation.
He said he had someone tell him that some people in Latta charge $25 to take people to the doctor in Dillon, work, etc. He said if it is that much in Latta how much is in Lake View.
Finklea said he knew another man who said that he had a driver that drove five people to work including him, but when the driver was sick, they didn’t have a ride so five people miss work on those days not just one. He said this will benefit people all over the county.
Clyburn said he felt they strongly need this. He said while $36,000 is not something that they can just throw out there, he did feel that they could afford this.
Councilman Harold Moody asked if they had not tried something like this in the past, and it failed. Clyburn said yes, but at that time, it did not have the broad range of support from so many different entities as they have now.
Upon a motion by Councilman T.F. “Buzzy” Finklea, Jr,, and a second by Councilman Gerome McLeod, the council voted to pass the funding 5-1. Councilmen Finklea, McLeod, Stevie Grice, James Campbell, and Jack Scott voted in favor, and Councilman Harold Moody voted against it. Archie Scott was not present at the meeting.
By Betsy Finklea