Edgefield County As It Happens
Edgefield County, South Carolina

October 6, 2005

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EDITORIAL

The rest of the story

Editorial

web posted October 6, 2005

The Edgefield County Council held its October meeting Tuesday night. EdgefieldDaily.com reported it in total. Our report was 973 words long and did not scratch the surface of what really went on. So, we will offer the other side in this critique.

The first matter of interest was the garbage fee which was up for a third and final reading. Councilman Hudson brought forward the issue of residents of Oak Creek Subdivision who voted to be annexed into the City of North Augusta not paying the $80 a year garbage fee that every single other county resident pays whether they use the facilities or not. County Administrator Wayne Adams defended Oak Creek by saying they have their garbage picked up by North Augusta and the waste is not disposed of in county and Hudson acquiesced.

That is not the issue. The issue of the matter is some of them do use the Merriwether facility for large bulky items they need to dispose of and workers at the recycling centers cannot refuse them access because they live in the county. Furthermore the workers are not there to act as trash police. The larger issue is the people of Oak Creek live in the county and every single property owner, except them, pay the fee including people who have their trash picked up by the towns.

The exemption was granted years ago because those residents who voted to join in with the City of North Augusta did not want to have to pay even higher taxes when the garbage fee was instituted. Maybe they should have thought about that before being the ones that allowed North Augusta to breach our county line. There is a price to pay for that action and that is higher, and sometimes double, taxation. The fact of the matter is they are the ones that voted to double their taxes, not the county.

Under the reasoning that Administrator Adams, and by the inaction of the council, defends the county should exempt Oak Creek from paying property taxes, car taxes, fire and EMS, and Road Maintenance Fees, because they pay those in North Augusta too.

But it all boils down into who you know as to whether of not you can skip out on paying all your taxes.

Another issue that would be of interest of Merriwether residents is the fact Parks and Recreational funds do not come to Merriwether even though a very large percentage of taxes come from the area. The reasoning is Merriwether does not have a park or a recreational facility. Neither did a lot of other areas until funds were expended to create them. However, property values in Merriwether are high and the county has no intentions of placing such a facility there. Merriwether just gets soaked in taxes with little in return for the contribution.

Aside from the PARD funds that were distributed to recreational facilities, Bettis Park, built with government funds, is undergoing more upgrades with $350,000 worth of improvements. That would go a long way in placing a new facility where one does not exist rather than expand one that does.

Councilman Willie Bright, from Bettis Academy, was pushing council to buy a mobile concession stand for $60,000 even though he admitted he has not looked at the a single trailer first hand, just pictures. That is rather irresponsible. It is a budgeted item he says because there is $306,000 left unspent for Bettis Park. A near thirty minutes of useless and clueless discussion took place as more and more of the original 29 people in attendance at the meeting would exit because of the foolishness of the debate. Before it was over more than half of the citizens present left and council conceded that they need more information.

It took thirty minutes for them to discuss what should have taken all of two or three minutes? It is a good thing we do not pay councilmen or lobbyists by the hour.

Last but not least was yet another grandstanding by Councilman Norman Dorn. His recent favorite empty challenge is to Solicitor Donnie Myers who was arrested, and later plead guilty to DUI, in North Carolina. Mr. Dorn claims he does not want Edgefield County to support his office’s budget because Myers was not punished other than a fine. Mr. Dorn claims anyone else would have gone to jail.

Councilman Dorn’s indignation is not as righteous as he claims. First off, Dorn cannot stop the near quarter million dollars the county pays into the Solicitor’s Office. Mr. Dorn claims he does not understand how somebody who breaks the law or is unethical does not get punished for actions they took because of who they know or what friends they have, even on the county council.

What makes his grandstanding even more absurd is the actions of County Administrator Wayne Adams far exceeds anything Myers did (on the record) yet Dorn turns a blind eye to Adams, more so since Dorn actually does have the power to do something about Adams. Mr. Dorn can have Adams fired but chooses not to regardless of the many unethical actions associated to Adams or the lawsuits filed against the county because of him. That holds true for the rest of the county council.

Oh, the same empty claims came from a majority of council in December of 2004; Wayne Adams would never be rehired. Then, like wet rags, the entire council fell giving Adams not only a new contract but a $5,000 a year raise which they later had to resend because it was unethical. Adams would have been double paid for the same job. Ask who drew up that contract.

Empty suits and grandstanding never lead a county to move forward. To Mr. Dorn, and council for that matter, we would say put up where it matters and we will take your words to have a lot more weight. Otherwise shut up and sit down and continue the council’s business as usual which leads us nowhere except for throwing money at political bases to reassure your re-election.

Either way, at least be honest about what you are doing.




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