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Positive changes in the making
Column by the Editor
posted July 7, 2008
COLUMN – I made a comment last week that
there were some positive things that would be taking place in Edgefield
County. With all the emails, phone calls, and comments I got you would
think I was giving away $100 bills. Before you get too excited, I said
there were some positive things that would be taking place, I did not
say some miracle has occurred and our county government and our long
lasting ills were over. But things are looking up and there will be
good news to report in the very near future.
Replacing two seats (and possibly a third in November) on the county
council has already started a bit of a shake-up. The evidence of that
will be seen over the next six to ten months.
Unrelated is the much debated and contested purchase of the Calliham
property. It will probably fade into the history books as one of the
greatest debacles that never took place. The legal issues that have
delayed the purchase will no doubt continue well beyond the option to
buy date in August. An option that has already been extended once.
That is good and bad.
The bad news is that the county council could vote to extend the option
period well into the fall, but with a limited amount of time to start
using the insurance money from the fire that destroyed the county
offices on Church Street; a delay could cost the county in excess of
$150,000. Call it a hunch, but I just don’t see that happening.
That is the good news. If the Calliham purchase falls through - that
will force the county to rebuild the offices on the Church Street
property saving the taxpayers a debt of $425,000 on the purchase and an
additional cost of almost $800,000 in renovations to a dilapidated
fifty-year-old building. Reconstruction of the Church Street office
space will be a huge savings.
The long-term changes are the most exciting. With Merriwether District
5 County Council candidate Genia Blackwell unopposed in the November
General Election as well as Westside District 2 candidate Rodney
Ashcraft, two seats are assured to change hands. District 1 long-time
incumbent Norman Dorn is facing his first real challenge from another
newcomer, Trace Faust. If Mr. Faust is able to pull off an upset in the
District 1 race positive changes could come faster than expected.
The leadership on the county council is acknowledging that real changes
are inevitable already.
Indeed, with Blackwell and Ashcraft winning from grass-roots campaigns,
and Faust sweeping the Republican Primary in a three-way race, the
leadership knows that the people of Edgefield County are tired of
politics as usual. The “good old boy’s” club of the county council has
been handed an astounding defeat already and it is sink or swim for the
Ashcraft, Blackwell, and Faust ran on a promise of making the public
aware of what is taking place on the county council before it is
discussed “on agenda” in a meeting. All stated they wanted to seek the
public’s opinion on things the county council is considering long
before it is made known in a meeting and votes were cast. That shift in
constituent service will force, begrudgingly, other members of the
county council to follow suit.
That can only be a good thing.
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JAM Straight Customs
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