On The Record
Registered Sex Offenders for Edgefield
PO Box 972
Dr. Skip Myers
State and Federal
Local Political Parties
Chamber of Commerce
The Jail Report
New York Times
New York Post
Los Angeles Times
past articles please visit our Archives
County Council Adopts New Agenda Practices to Shorten Meeting Time
web posted February 6, 2013
EDGEFIELD – The Edgefield County Council
held their regular meeting Tuesday night with a change in the agenda
format that was intended to shorten meeting times by approving several
routine or non-controversial items such a board appoints or boilerplate
ordinances. The change did move the meeting along more rapidly, until
the ending public comments period came and the meeting got out of hand.
The "consent agenda" brought unanimous approval to a final reading of
the ordinance to provide the state certain right of ways of county
roads for the widening project of highway 25, final approval to an
ordinance allowing the Edgefield County Hospital to upgrade a required
pharmaceutical system with full reimbursement from the Federal
Government, and a number of board member appointments.
Following a Public Hearing on the ordinance to create an overlay
district in a portion of the zoned area in Merriwether that drew no
comments Chairman Dean Campbell moved on to the second reading of the
ordinance. Councilman Rodney Ashcraft spoke up on the requirements on
signs and wanted clarification on whether or not it applied to
political and campaign signs.
County Administrator Lynn Strom said it would not; those would fall
under "temporary signs", which are allowed. With very little further
discussion the second reading was approved on a 5-0 vote.
A third and final reading of an overhaul of the Land Use Ordinance was
tabled due to concerns raised by council members prior to the final
reading. Chairman Campbell stated that it would be better to allow more
time for staff, the county attorney, and council members to make needed
corrections to "get it right". Councilman Ashcraft stated he does not
like holding extra meetings, but wanted to have a work session prior to
final approval. Vice-chair Genia Blackwell agreed.
The work sessions will be held sometime this month or next month.
A request by the Administrator to place 8 surplus vehicles out for bid
on GovDeals.com and the items not sold be taken and sold for scrap
metal. That drew questions from Councilman Norman Dorn. His comments
took a quick turn towards questioning a particular scrap metal facility
in Trenton. Chairman Campbell told Councilman Dorn he needed to direct
his comments about the approval of the sale, not another topic.
Councilwoman Betty Butler interjected that she felt the discussion was
about placing the items out for bid and the council could discuss where
the unsold vehicles are sold at a later date.
Butler then made a motion to approve the request which was passed
The next two items involved the approved building of the animal
shelter. The first item was the approval to use $7,500 from the
council's contingency fund to have conceptual drawings of the shelter
prepared for council. It was approved. Second was a update from
Administrator Strom on the progress of the shelter.
Mrs. Strom said that the original location off Weaver Road on county
property did not allow enough room for two required septic systems
required. Another location on county property on Simmons Road has been
suggested and perk tests by DHEC show the location will fit in the
proposed area. The property is a 250 acre tracts, however, the shelter
will only require about 2 acres.
The estimated $200,000 set aside for the project may not be enough to
build the entire facility, however, it would cover phase 1 of the
project which would be at least 1,900 square feet of the proposed 2,200
square foot facility. Mrs. Strom stated that the enclosed shelter would
also reduce any noise coming from the animals kept at the facility.
No vote was required on accepting the update.
The next item on the agenda was a new ordinance that would allow the
county to set aside 10% of any new Fee-in-lieu of tax (FILOT) for the
county to use to make funds available to provide infrastructure or
other matters to entice industry to locate in the county. The measure
passed on a 5-0 vote.
A first reading of an ordinance to establish condition uses standards
for zoned and unzoned properties in the county drew discussion from
Vice-chair Blackwell. She questioned that the ordinance is basically a
sister-ordinance to the Land Use ordinance and thought it would be
better to table the reading since the previous ordinance was tabled.
County Attorney Michael Medlock stated that this was just a first
reading and that any questions Mrs. Blackwell had could be addressed at
the work session on the previous ordinance. With little other
discussion the measure passed on a 5-0 vote.
A request to open an account for the newly donated Sweetwater Community
Center property to receive donations towards the project by the county
drew some resistance from Councilman Dorn saying he did not understand
why the account had to be with the county and not at a bank.
Administrator Strom stated that the account with the county would allow
donations from citizens to be tax deductible and assure that the money
donated could only be spent on the project. Approval was unanimous.
With the meeting all but over for the business at hand in just 45
minutes, proving the consent agenda did shorten the meeting time, when
Chairman Campbell opened the floor to public comments control of the
meeting was lost.
Ms. Charlena Garrett spoke from her chair, not at the podium provided
for public comments, and railed about the one time expenditure of
$200,000 for the animal shelter and wanted to know why money was being
taken away from "the children" and used for animals. Chairman Campbell
explained that the one time expenditure would save the county money and
that no money was being taken away from the children in the county.
Ms. Garrett continued to rave about why the county council was not
doing things to provide activities for the children and brought up the
Northside Park, which was built by the county and then turned back over
to the property owners - a group of churches - due to it being unable
to be used for county recreation because a requires septic system could
not be approved by DHEC even after the county spent tens of thousands
of dollars building a basketball court, baseball field, and a pavilion
that is still available.
As she continued, Garrett wanted to know why the county council would
spend $200,000 on "dogs and cats" but provide "nothing for the
children" when they were out of school for the summer. "I need an
explanation for that," Garrett said. "There's no money for the children
at all." Garrett also stated, "Everybody does not have daycare,"
and insisted that the county council is not helping to prevent children
from having nothing to do and they end up breaking into people's houses
and end up in jail.
Even after Chairman Campbell repeatedly told Ms. Garrett that she had
made her point, she continued to interject her opinions and even told
Chairman Campbell that he would not stop her from talking, even though
public comment by each individual is limited to 3 minutes and is even
posted on the chamber doors.
A question asked from a member of the public about how much was "spent
on the children" in the county recreation program Administrator Strom
stated that the current budget for the program is $213,000. In just the
last 10 years, well over $2 million has been spent on recreation
activities for youth recreation programs.
Several others spoke on community involvement on things directed at
helping the children in the county on a volunteer basis. One woman
stated that "charity begins at home," and so it should be for other
programs outside of government. It was also brought up that the county
library systems have programs each month, free of charge, to help
promote learning. The Women in Unity program also offers tutoring in
all subjects to help students that have fallen behind in school.
The public comment period ended and Administrator Strom reminded
council of a planned budget workshop on March 21 at 6 pm at the County
Council Chambers. A balanced budget will be presented by staff at the
After other comments by the Administrator and Chairman Campbell the
meeting was adjourned.
© Copyright 2012 - 2013 All material is property of
Edgefield Daily and/or parent company ECL and
cannot be reproduced,
redistributed without expressed written permission.