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Does anybody in Edgefield County government have a brain they can spare?
note: After publication, Finance Director Lynn Strom corrected
information provided for this column. The EDC does not receive taxpayer
funding. The Economic Development Partnership, not the EDC, is funded
by the $46,000. The two were
confused by her when the request was made.The portion of the comments
contained in this opinion remain but have been noted with strikethrough
A Column by the Editor
posted December 4, 2008
COLUMN – The Chairman of the Edgefield
Economic Development Committee (EDC), Bettis Rainsford, was displeased
by the article
published Wednesday on his $5,000 request from the
Edgefield County Council Tuesday night, calling it “negative”,
“slanted”, and “poorly written”. I have three words to describe
the same article, factual, concise, and unbiased. However, this is not
a news article, this is my opinion, and it is specifically directed at
Mr. Rainsford, the EDC, and our county council members. And for the
record, it is going to be very biased.
I asked many readers throughout my rounds on Wednesday if they thought
the article was biased or “slanted”, including some who attended the
meeting, and not one said yes.
So what was it that drew the ire of Mr. Rainsford? I am not sure, but I
have a pretty good idea. Perhaps it was this sentence, “It was never
questioned why the Economic Development Committee could not fund the
lobbying effort from taxpayer funds they already receive to help
generate additional revenues.”
I suppose he did not like the term, “spread the wealth around”, in
explaining that he was suggesting that one county share the wealth from
tax revenues derived from a power generating facility locating in their
county with the rest of the counties. I’m not sure what else you would
call taking one’s wealth and giving it away “equally” to others. There
is a word Mr. Rainsford used, what was it? Oh yes, now I remember…
Good grief, we have our very own Barack Obama right here is Edgefield.
Just like Obama, Rainsford sees a pile of money another county has and
just can’t stand it so he thinks it’s “only fair” that the mean old
selfish Fairfield County should be forced to “spread the wealth
And to accomplish this feat of “fairness” he wants the state
legislators to pass a law to punish Fairfax County for getting the
company to locate there in the first place.
Sour grapes if you ask me. It looks like some counties “economic
development committees” actually do what they are supposed to do, bring
in industry, and that makes Mr. Rainsford’s committee look inept. And
according the Mr. Rainsford’s own words the EDC has been
“disappointing” for the past decade or more.
Now there is an understatement of the decade if I have ever heard one.
County Finance Director Lynn Strom, the EDC receives
$46,000 a year. They have been “disappointing” in their effectiveness
for ten years, or more as Mr. Rainsford said, and that’s a lot of
taxpayer money wasted if you ask me.
Moreover, it also speaks volumes of Mr. Rainsford’s effectiveness as
the EDC Chairman. Maybe we need some new blood and new ideas on the EDC
because I am
tired of throwing almost a half million dollars a decade
behind leadership that is so “disappointing”.
And why, if the EDC
receives $46,000 a year, would they need an
additional $5,000 to call Sen. Shane Massey and Rep. Bill
ask them to sponsor such a bill. Heck, I can do that for free. Maybe I
should print out the same petition and take it the county council next
month and tell them I need only $1,000 to do the same thing. Surely
they would hand a check right over.
We have representatives for a reason. And in case our county leaders
and Mr. Rainsford do not understand how elected public servants work I
will be happy to explain it to them.
We elect and pay our county council and state legislative delegation to
do our bidding. If this is something Edgefield County wants, and
believes other counties would support a similar measure, our county
council members pass a resolution supporting it. Then they have a
meeting with our legislative delegation and present them with the
resolution and ask that they speak to other representatives to see if
their local districts are willing to sign on. Then if enough support is
there the matter might be brought up in the state House of
If not, it dies.
Cost to taxpayers? Zero.
The whole thing will go nowhere and Mr. Rainsford knows it. If counties
can join together to take money from Fairfield County, they can do it to
take from Edgefield County. What is good for the goose is good for the
gander. Revenues from Urban Outfitters must be shared. Revenues from
The National Wild Turkey Federation, Trantec, and every other industry
we have in the county would then also have to be shared. I am sure the
Town of Edgefield would be more than willing to fork over the money
they get from the Federal Prison that allows them not to have to pay
town property taxes.
The only thing dumber than Mr. Rainsford’s idea is giving him $5,000 to
promote it. And that has the Edgefield County Council’s name all over
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JAM Straight Customs
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