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Edgefield County Council Chairman’s November Update

web posted November 13, 2012

COUNTY – Election Results Are In! Like many of you, I’m happy to see this election cycle come to a close! On County Council, here’s who won the seats: District 1: Norman Dorn, District 2: Rodney Ashcraft, District 3: Dean Campbell, District 4: Betty Butler, District 5: Genia Blackwell. I am looking forward to participating in another outstanding year of accomplishment from your County Council!

Auditors: Edgefield County is in Sound Financial Shape
At last week’s meeting, our independent auditors said Edgefield County is in excellent financial health. The auditors had no major findings or comments. We were able to add about $74,000 to the Reserve Fund, compared to a budget that said we’d spend money out of the Reserve Fund just to make ends meet.

I appreciate County Elected Officials, Department Heads, Staff and all Employees for working so hard to save money on a consistent basis!

Edgefield County Strategic Plan Updated
The Edgefield County Strategic Plan was updated earlier this month by citizens, stakeholders, elected and appointed representatives. I was very pleased with the outstanding turnout and enthusiasm of the group!

County Administrator Lynn Strom walked the group through what has been accomplished in the Strategic Plan so far. During the time, the stakeholders and citizens added a several items to the list that will now be melded into the Plan. Those items are:

1.       Evaluate the way we tax undeveloped property (particularly multi-lot discount)

2.       Consider how to work with Aiken County in promoting Edgefield County industrial park

3.       Evaluate developing incentives to utilize vacant commercial property

4.       Continue to build a relationship with North Augusta

5.       Consider impact of residential growth on schools (increase communication between Planning Commission and schools on new developments)

6.       Consider enticing retirement communities to come to Edgefield County.

The Strategic Plan is giving us the kind of guidance we need at the County level to respond to what citizens want in our growing County. I applaud all who came out in support of this effort! We’ll update it again next year as well.

Council Officially Accepts Land and Building Being Donated to the County
The County Council approved accepting approximately 4 acres of property along with the Sweetwater Community Center near Cooper Place subdivision. The property was donated by property trustees Lois Morgan and Buck Bell at the request of Ambassador and Mrs. Cooper. The Council had to wait on an environmental study to be completed before we could accept it. We were please the environmental study showed there are no real issues with the property.

This land and building could be used for multiple purposes in the future. It’s a wonderful gift and opportunity for our County! Thank you to the trustees and Ambassador and Mrs. Cooper!

Calliham Lease Extended by One Year
At our Council meeting last week, County Council agreed to extend the lease for Callihams in the County-owned building for one year. They will pay the County $1,200 a month in rent. The Kneece Building is set for renovation under the Capital Improvement Plan for more than 1 year from now. So, the County has time to prepare for this renovation.

We gave ourselves a 90-day clause in the lease in case we are able to begin the renovation process earlier. In addition, it gives the Callihams a place to do business for another year! It’s a win-win lease agreement.

Land Development Codes Being Updated
County Council began the process of taking up many changes to the Land Development Code that the Planning Commission approved and sent to Council for consideration. We gave it first reading at our meeting last Tuesday night. Some of the items include conditional use regulation amendments on:

Bed and Breakfast Inns
Communication Towers and Antennas
Truck Transportation
Multi-Family Housing
Storm Drainage
Subdivision Work

There are other topics and many more details than can be listed here. I encourage all citizens to go to the County website to see all the changes being recommended. If you have questions or input, I ask that you contact County Administrator Lynn Strom, or your Council member.

Preparing for growth
Also at our meeting last week, Council gave final reading to a Highway Access Plan. This Plan is meant to establish standards for the number, location, design, construction, and maintenance of driveways, acceleration/deceleration lanes, and inter-parcel connections in Edgefield County in order to improve highway safety in the County. This new “access management” will only apply to new developments and renovations or expansions that exceed 50 percent of the appraised value of the development. 

We believe this plan is a good step toward making roadways safer by reducing the number of driveways onto main roads. If you’d like more information, I encourage you to go to the County’s website to read about it, call the Administrator or call your Council member.

Until next time,
Dean Campbell

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