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Calliham’s rises from the grave: County Council to vote again on
A Column by the Editor
posted August 3, 2009
COLUMN – Why do I get the feeling that the
Edgefield County Council is stuck in the movie The Godfather with Don
Corleone telling the county council they will not reject the offer to
buy the Calliham property? The very property the council has voted down
several times this year including one vote to never bring it up for
discussion again. But, after a meeting last Monday
morning with the Godfather, the matter is back on the agenda again for
Not only is it back from the grave, but a single vote will sink the
county into debt in the neighborhood of $1 million.
How dare the county council not do as the Godfather tells them, after
all, who do they think runs this county anyway? It’s an offer they’re
just not going to refuse no matter how many times they say no.
The county council has consistently voted not to go forward with the
purchase since January. The issue, already considered “dead”, rose
again in April. Mayor Durham promoted yet another offer that was
addressed by the council in executive session only to have them emerge
and vote to end the negotiations for good.
Mayor Durham asked if there was an option for the county to make
counter offers in the negotiations which led Chairman Kneece to state
that there were several options offered and the county was refusing all
of them. Kneece stated he did not see the benefit of purchasing the
property and creating a debt for taxpayers and then expending funds to
remodel an existing building when the county could build “everything we
need” on property the county already owns.
Chairman Kneece then announced the matter “as dead as it gets”.
That lasted two weeks.
At the April 21 budget workshop and called
meeting, the matter was back up for discussion. Another offer was
presented to the county council; they met in executive session, emerged
and once again killed the issue, for the last time. After the vote to
end all negotiations (yet again), Councilman Rodney Ashcraft said, “I’d
like to make a motion to make it permanent history.” The council voted
4-1 to never bring the Calliham property up again. “Alright, it’s over
with,” Chairman Kneece stated, “it won’t come back.”
The county council then subsequently voted to place the building on
Railroad Street and in July they voted to hire an architectural firm to
design the new office building.
In late May I began telling readers of the Wandering Minds that no was
not going to be an acceptable answer and I warned in early June it
would rear its ugly head again, and one month later, here we are.
I’m not going to attack all the lies that the people have been told by
this council on this matter or the huge debt the county will incur by
buying the property. We’ve done that for over two years.
However, the way this is being done, the stench of back room deals can
be smelled two counties away.
Not only is there another deal, but Chairman Kneece has allowed the
nearly two year old ordinance to buy the property to be brought up as a
third and final reading. One vote, we own it and nothing short of a
lawsuit can be done to stop it.
To make matters worse, the county council voted down the rezoning of
two parcels of property owned by Hagler Systems and they are back on
the agenda as well. It is as if a vote only counts if it receives the
right outcome, otherwise it will just keep coming back up until the
right outcome is gained.
The vainness is maddening.
Let’s hope at least three of the four members who have voted this down
“for good” more than once can end this nightmare. After all, even The
Godfather only had three sequels. We’re in the middle of “Dawn of the
Dead Issue: Part Vll”.
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