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Property Taxes to See Slight Drop, Rearden Honored as Oldest
African-American in US
web posted October 3, 2012
EDGEFIELD – The Edgefield County Council
meeting Tuesday night saw a number of split votes and one agenda item
voted down. Among the positives was a Resolution in honor of Ms. Mamie
Rearden, a lifelong resident of Edgefield County, who recently
celebrated her 114th birthday and news that property taxes may be a
little lower this year.
The Resolution to honor Ms. Rearden was suggested to the county council
by William Smith, a candidate for the District 1 seat, at the September
meeting due to her being the oldest African American in the United
States. After reading the wording of the resolution Councilman Dorn
brought up his complaint that it was to be signed by Chairman Dean
Campbell on behalf of the council and not the entire council. Chairman
Campbell said he would be happy to change the resolution to allow all
members to sign. It was approved on a 5-0 vote.
The news of property taxes being lowered came during a discussion on
setting the millage rate for the tax bills that will be sent out later
this month. County Auditor Bill Gilchrist said the value of a mill
actually went up 1.1% from $71,142 to $71,929 so there is no need to
adjust the millage rate. Gilchrist stated that the Special Local Option
Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds actually increased this year and would lower
property taxes on a $100,000 home by an additional $10. "So, really we
have a tax decrease," Gilchrist said.
The county is also moving forward on accepting the generous gift of 4
acres of land surrounding the former Sweetwater Community Center and
the building itself from Ambassador and Mrs. Cooper. The acceptance is
expected at the November meeting. The council approved the expenditure
of between $500 and up to $2,000 to have an environmental study of the
property done prior to acceptance. The study should be completed in a
few days once started.
Ambassador Hank Cooper expressed his excitement that the county was
willing to take over the property so that the land originally donated
to the community by his grandmother would continue for many years to
serve the community.
Dan Bergtholdt, Vice-chair of the Planning Commission, gave a
presentation on the ongoing planning for a Rails to Trails system in
Edgefield County. The 20 year plane was explained with the first 5
years hoping to develop a walking and biking trails in Merriwether (1.2
miles) and a second from Edgefield to Trenton (4.5 miles) along the old
railroad bed after the right of ways (ROW) can be obtained. A 501c(3)
non-profit organization is in the early stages of being formed to make
donations of the ROW or money tax deductible.
During the re-appointment of members of the Planning Commission, a
discussion was held on Commissioner Tracey Freeman being listed for
re-appointment. County Attorney Michael Medlock stated that Freeman
could not be re-appointed due to his holding an office as a Board
member at Francis Marion University under state law prohibiting "dual
office" holding. The rest of the members up for approval were James
(Fab) Burt, Tonya King, Rodney Ingle, and Al Bono, which were approved
on 5-0 votes.
A replacement will be named at a later date for Mr. Freeman's seat.
A Second Reading of Ordinance Number 12-13-654, “An Ordinance
reestablishing the Edgefield County Board of Zoning Appeals passed 4-1
with Councilman Dorn voting in the negative.
Second Reading of Ordinance Number 12-13-655, “An Ordinance amending
Chapter 8 of the Code of Ordinances, Edgefield County, entitled
“Buildings and Regulations”; Adopting Building, Housing, Electrical,
Plumbing, Gas and other regulatory codes involving penalties; and other
matters relating thereto, passed on a 3-2 vote with Dorn and Bright
Second Reading of Ordinance Number 12-13-656, “An Ordinance
establishing standards and criteria for the number, location, design,
construction and maintenance of driveways, acceleration/ deceleration
lanes and inter-parcel connection in Edgefield County was passed on a
5-0 following a few amendments suggested by the SCDOT.
Second Reading of Ordinance Number 12-13-657, “An Ordinance to Revise
and Amend Chapter 30, “MANUFACTURED HOUSING” of the Edgefield County
Code of Ordinances, was passed on a 4-1 vote until Councilman Dorn
heard Chairman Campbell state the results and Dorn learned Councilman
Bright voted against and wanted to change his yes vote to a no. Dorn
clearly voted in favor when the vote was called and then claimed he did
not vote yes.
Consideration of Resolution Number 12-13-382, “A Resolution invoking
the “Pending Ordinance Doctrine” applicable to proposed Ordinance
12-13-656 (above) failed on a 2-3 vote with Chairman Campbell and
Norman Dorn on the losing end of the vote.
First Reading of Ordinance No. 12-13-659, “An Ordinance to Revise and
Amend Division 5,”Hospital Board”, of Chapter 2, Administration, of the
Edgefield County Code of Ordinances, passed unanimously. This brings
the ordinance up to date to current state law.
During public comments Connie Boggs, of Johnston, stated her hope that
the county would pass an ordinance to prevent puppy mills in Edgefield
County by making those who breed dogs for the sole purpose of selling
them to be licensed. Linda Anderson spoke in support of the county
accepting the Cooper property donation.
Under the Administrator's Report, Lynn Strom said that since the county
went to the use of credit cards for purchases rather than issuing
purchase orders, the credit card company offers rebates based on
charges and the count received $6,140 in rebates. In addition to the
rebate, it lowered the cost of sending out hundreds of checks to
different vendors to a single check paid to the credit card company.
Another rebate of $3,500 was being sent to the county from Kenwood, the
makers of the radios purchased for the required narrow banding of
emergency radios in the county.
Vice-chair Genia Blackwell recognized a large contingent from the
Merriwether area that was in attendance at the meeting.
During the Chairman's Comments he pointed out that next months meeting
will fall on Election Day, saying the county council will conduct
business and should be done prior to polls closing. Councilman Dorn
stated he would not be at the meeting.
The council then voted to go into executive session to discuss an
industry. No action was taken following returning to open session and
the meeting was adjourned.
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