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County Council Chairman Campbell: Rules will be enforced at Meetings
web posted March 6, 2013
EDGEFIELD – After a public comment period
at last months County Council meeting got out of hand and turned into a
one-sided debate by certain members of the audience commandeering the
time, Chairman Dean Campbell stated sternly at the start of Tuesday
night's meeting he was going to enforce the rules. "I know that I was
personally disappointed at some of the members of the public who wanted
to take over
the public comment section last time, and that's not fair
to other members of the public or to this council," Campbell said.
Chairman Campbell said following last month's meeting he received
complaints from a majority of council members and a large number of the
general public for letting the meeting get out of hand. Campbell said
he was bending the rules to make sure everyone could have their say,
but his "compassion" was obviously misunderstood and he was going to
vigorously enforce the rules of 3 minutes for each speaker who signed
up to speak, they must come to the podium and state their name and any
questions asked of a council member, the answer would be counted
against their 3 minute time allotment.
With that the meeting continued with only two speakers addressing
council in the second public comment period at the end of the meeting.
James Russell who was asking for an update on the animal shelter
location which has not been chosen at this time and Marcella Edwards of
Edgefield County Youth Empowerment Center seeking funding through the
county, which has to go through the County Finance Department.
There were no speakers during Public Hearings on two new ordinances.
County Council gave unanimous passage of second readings of Ordinance
Number 12-13-663, “An Ordinance to direct the distribution of certain
Fees-In-Lieu of Tax received and retained by Edgefield County, South
Carolina and other matters relating thereto," which reserves 10% of
funds from FILOT agreements to be set aside for economic development of
infrastructure and Ordinance Number 12-13-664, “An Ordinance to
establish conditional uses standards for all lots developed in the
zoned and un-zoned areas of Edgefield County."
Ordinance Number 12-13-658, “An Ordinance to amend Chapter 24, Land
Development, of the Edgefield County Code of Ordinances, in certain
limited regards and particular matters, only, creating a Highway
Overlay District" in the Merriwether area of General Development areas
was approved for a final reading.
A request by Edgefield County Clerk of Court Shirley Newby to hire an
employee was first under New Business and drew charged comments from
Councilman Norman Dorn. The budgeted position recently became open and
was simply to replace the employee in the office. Councilman Dorn
stated the employee was "fired" unjustly and was later cut off by
Chairman Campbell stating the matter was a personnel issue and he would
be happy to entertain an Executive Session to discuss the matter. Dorn
did not accept and continued and ruled out of order by Campbell.
The request to fill the budgeted position passed on a 3-2 vote with
Norman Dorn and Betty Butler voting no.
“A Resolution emphasizing Edgefield County Council’s ongoing opposition
to the special interest focused legislative pending in the South
Carolina General Assembly which we strongly believe is an effort to
circumvent and defeat local public health and sanitation authority
which belongs under home rule to the County,” regarding the Flow
Control Bill now in the SC Senate Committee that was devastate the
county's ability to control where garbage and waste is to be deposited
and would void all county ordinances to pay for bonds issued in good
faith for such costs drew no complaints.
Chairman Campbell stated he saw this as a law against the Home Rule Act
of 1976. Though Councilman Dorn stated he had no opposition to the
resolution, he voted against it as the sole no vote.
The use of PARD Funds to do tests and studies on the Sweetwater
Community Center gifted to the county by the Cooper family recently
drew the ire of Councilman Dorn, who insinuated there were illegal
things being done but refused to disclose the basis of his claims. When
challenged by Councilman Rodney Ashcraft to get specific Dorn stated it
was, "None of your business." Ashcraft shot back that it was his
business and that of the whole council and the taxpayers.
The funds would pay for the tests and studies for the community center
and place concrete in the dugouts at Bettis Park. The measure passed on
a 4-1 with Dorn voting no.
A contract was also approved for the EMS billing and collections.
EMS/MC was awarded the year to year contract. As low bidder they will
save the county .5% on cost of billing and collection of EMS bills.
Discussions were also held, but no vote required, on the county
handbook which is to provide boards, elected officials, and employees
of laws regarding ethics, Freedom of Information requests, and other
matters. Chairman Campbell state there was nothing new and that the new
handbook just condensed the already available information. The county
is also looking at adding lights to the walking track at Bettis Park.
Recommendations for the lighting will be back on the agenda in April.
With no other business council went into executive session to receive
legal advice on a legal matter. No action was taken and the meeting was
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