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County Receives Clean Audit, Animal Shelter Location Chosen by County Council

web posted December 4, 2013

EDGEFIELD The Edgefield County Council held their last meeting of the year Tuesday night, which last nearly two hours even after removing two of the agenda items as the meeting got underway. When the time came to approve the agenda Councilman Rodney Ashcraft requested two items place on the agenda by Councilman Norman Dorn be removed. The items requested PARD funds and bond money be given to two community centers. "They don't have a place on the agenda," Ashcraft said, noting that the council could not legally approve such requests.

Ashcraft made the motion to amend the agenda to remove the items, which drew the ire of Dorn, but the amended agenda was approved on a 3-1 vote with Dorn not voting and Betty Butler voting no. The amendment to the agenda was approved on a 3-2 vote. Chairman Dean Campbell had to call Dorn out of order twice, once during and another after the votes.

Chairman Campbell stated during the debate that although he approves the agenda, any council member can place an item on the agenda and, by law, he cannot remove it without a majority vote.

After approving second readings of two ordinances, one to allow the expansion of the joint industrial park by Edgefield and Aiken Counties and the second on the new spay / neuter program, the council was given a presentation of the audit results by Elliot, Davis, LLP by George Kennedy.

Mr. Kennedy stated there were no problems discovered during the audit and the county  is in a , "very healthy position," fiscally. At the time of the audit, the count has roughly $3.5 million in cash assets and of that figure over $3.4 million is unrestricted reserves. Mr. Kennedy said that equates to 41% of the annual expenditures by the county, or a five month reserve fund. Kennedy said that they advise government entities they audit to keep at least two to three months of funding in reserves.

Each month in reserves equals roughly $700,000.

A final location of the Animal Shelter was also decided Tuesday night with the Simmons Road location being approved on a 3-2 vote. The location was chosen because the county has been is discussions with the Senior Citizens Council on acquiring the 12 acres of property that houses the Manor House. This would allow a direct access to the shelter from Highway 25 and not have to use Simmons Road as an entrance point.

A vote immediately following for the location was the acquisition of the property with a  caveat that studies be done to find out if there is asbestos in the building, which would increase the liability to the county. Administrator Lynn Strom said that the county would have 180 days to reject the offer if it was deemed too expensive to acquire.

The council voted unanimously to move forward with the property acquisition, which will total a cost of $28,000 over five years ($5,600 a year).In other business, the council approved hiring Kucera International, of Ohio, to do the required Orthphoto Imagery and Mapping at a cost of $25,000. The county has already received a grant for $12,500 to do the project.

They also approved Fran Forrest to be placed on the Employee Grievance Committee.

There was an extended discussion on the rental fee of the county hangers at the Trenton Airport. Currently the lease of the three hanger spaces in the building is held by 6J6 LLC at a cost of $3,600 a year and the five year lease expires in February. The administration was requesting the lease amount be increased to $6,480 a year after reviewing similar rentals around the state. Councilman Ashcraft stated he would prefer that the current lease be allowed to expire and then place the hanger spaces out for rental and allow 6J6 to enter into a new lease.

After debate the matter was taken in as information only and no action was taken.

Before ending the meeting Chairman Campbell stated he wanted to thank all those who serve on committees, staff and members of the council for working together over the past year. After wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year the meeting was adjourned.

 



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