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More shenanigans from the Edgefield County Council?

A Column by the Editor
web posted January 10, 2008
COLUMN – Is the Edgefield County Council going to pass on another golden opportunity to make things better for county citizens? If information available so far is correct, yes. The fire last year that destroyed the county building used by the Edgefield County Senior Citizens Council and other government agencies that leased office space from the county has culminated in a settlement offer by the insurance company, which was discussed in executive session in Tuesday night’s meeting. Will the county rebuild the building on the location and use it to house county offices? No. 

Edgefield County Council Chairman Monroe Kneece stated that the county is looking “ahead” for the growth expected over the next twenty years and they had “other plans” in mind. “Other plans”? If you are like me, when a politician says that the hair on the back of your neck stands on end.

So, the county owns a tract of land with plenty of available parking, room to build a building to house all non-judicial operations of the county now located in the courthouse, including those occupying leased office spaces in other locations. The logical thing to do would be to rebuild the building, move the above county offices to the location, and relieve a great deal of the parking problem of Downtown Edgefield.

That makes too much sense, so obviously it is off the table.

According to Chairman Kneece the insurance settlement is not enough to rebuild the destroyed building. That is curious, as insurance is there to place the insurer to the stated position prior to the loss. If there is not enough money to rebuild, who dropped the ball and allowed our county owned property to be underinsured? Surely that person, or persons, should be fired.

However, what is not publicly known is how the county council intends to spend the settlement money. Of course, as everything in Edgefield County is done for the benefit of the taxpayers, the same “players” are once again involved and will no doubt the ones who actually “benefit” from our loss with the taxpayer being inconvenienced to boot.

Information obtained so far indicates that the county is looking to buy a local business located near the Edgefield Town Square. Naturally there is very little available parking for the location and the present building would not be suitable for offices and would have to be demolished and rebuilt or undergo extensive renovations.

A certain developer that has his hands in every cookie jar the county owns will probably be instrumental in the sale and purchase of the property. If I had to place my bet it would be that the county will provide the money, the developer will actually purchase the property, and then in turn lease it back to the county after our tax dollars are used to improve the property to make it half-way usable.

That is speculation on my part, the county could always go the route of buying the property outright and then pour our money into it, after paying off any liens, and build the required office space.

But wait… there is not enough money, according to Chairman Kneece, to rebuild a building on property the county already owns, but it can find enough to buy property it does not own and then renovate or rebuild it to suit “our” growing needs?

Something does not make sense, but then again, we are talking about the Edgefield County Council.

Only time will tell if the aforementioned is a reality. If it does come to fruition it will be no surprise. And, as with all Edgefield County Council’s dealings... just follow the money.

Don’t forget, be a good citizen and pay your taxes on time. I don’t want them to have to borrow money to fund more of the same old shenanigans so our money can end up in the same old pockets.

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