Council awards wastewater infrastructure contract

By Kevin Boozer kboozer@civitasmedia.com

February 4, 2014

WINNSBORO — Upstate Grading Engineering was awarded the contract to install wastewater infrastructure to serve the Fairfield Commerce Center and Walter Brown II Speculative Building following a unanimous vote Jan. 27 by Fairfield County Council.

Tiffany Harrison, director of economic development for Fairfield County, requested council approve Upstate Grading Engineering after Alliance Consulting and Engineers reviewed the bids and recommended the project — which totals $768,348.65 — be awarded to the company.

Harrison said the county received competitive bids Dec. 17. Funding comes from bonds issued in 2009 and from a $350,000 grant from the Rural Infrastructure Authority.

Council voted and unanimously approved awarding the project to Upstate Grading Engineering.

In other business, council voted 5-0-1 to approve the potential sale of a 405-acre tract. Councilman David Brown abstained from the unanimous vote because he is in the real estate business.

Interim County Administrator Milton Pope said there are no plans to transform the property into a retirement community, even though at one time, that had been considered.

“At the time of purchase (in 2002) there were plans but there are no plans underway at this time,” he said.

A local Realtor brought a proposal to the county at that time but no agreement was signed to Pope’s knowledge. Pope said the committee in 2002 was sensitive to the concerns of people with adjacent property and that the public sale would be for property zoned R-D.

Three acres of the 405 acre parcel have been discussed for use as a mini-park.

Vice Chairman Dwayne Perry said the economic development committee discussed the potential land sale in detail. Councilwoman Carolyn Robinson said the property was considered a good investment in 2002 as potential industrial park property but, per her recollection, citizens raised such opposition that council decided to market the parcel for a retirement village.

In her opinion the land is hilly and not suitable for construction, so it was in the best interest of the county to sell it and use the money for economic development.

“If someone is interested in buying the land at fair market value, that is something we should look at,” she said.

Proceeds from timber sale on the property when it was purchased in 2002 went into county economic development.

Pope said he would work with Harrison to produce a marketing package for the land and that his staff will work with the procurement process to ensure any land sale is a public and transparent process.

In new business, council voted 6-0 to extend the application deadline for applying for agricultural land use for the 2013 tax year. The deadline for application is on or before Feb. 17.

“Fairfield is one of the few counties in the state to offer citizens such a friendly extension,” Pope said.

Brown encouraged land owners to check and make sure land is properly registered so they can receive the best tax rate possible on parcels that could be considered agricultural, like timber land or farm land.