District 5 has representation again

By Lucas Vance lvance@civitasmedia.com

June 7, 2014

WINNSBORO — After nearly two months of process, District 5 again has representation on the Fairfield County School Board of Trustees.

The error was officially resolved during a special called meeting on Thursday for the third and final reading of Ordinance No. 631: authorizing Fairfield County to restore the Fairfield County School Board district lines to the proper configuration as originally ordained by the General Assembly.

“In other words, what that means is that the school board lines will now be back in line with the county council lines like it originally started,”Fairfield County Council Chairman David Ferguson explained.

The motion to accept was unanimous (4-0) with council members Ferguson, Carolyn Robinson, Kamau Marcharia and David Brown who were the quorum present.

The correction of district lines that left District 5 without representation on Fairfield County’s School Board is now complete.

The error placed incumbent Bobby Cunningham in District 6 by mistake.

As advised by Bobby Bowers, director of the South Carolina Budget Control Board, county council is in the process of passing a resolution to correct the lines. The error was not done at any fault of the county but was a GEO code error Bowers wrote in letter to county administration.

Interim County Administrator Milton Pope noted that county staff also sent the information to Fairfield County Voter Registration director Debbie Stidham, who affirmed everything was correct to make the school board lines consistent with the county council lines.

Bowers looked into the matter where Cunningham had been drawn out of his district and stated in a letter to Pope that the error was inadvertent.

To correct the inadvertent error, Bowers suggested council pass an ordinance moving the geographical area that includes nine people into the same district as a school board plan passed by the General Assembly.

“Especially since there was no intent by county council to place two school board members in the same district this will make it easier for the county’s voter registration and election office with both county council and the school board districts being the same,” Bowers concluded in his letter to county staff.

Pope reminded council and the assembly that the 911 centerline file information is obtained from the state.

Bowers assisted the county in re-districting in 2010 and Pope noted that Bowers acknowledged by letter that the GEO-codes is what caused the anomaly in the lines and it wasn’t nothing specifically county council had done.

Pope stated that the county attorney drafted the ordinance to correct the district lines and they were approved by Debbie Stidham at the County Voter Registration Office.

“She (Stidham) made sure that the language was explicitly clear and corrected all of those anomalies and she was clear that the ordinance did correct those items,” he explained.

Councilwoman Carolyn Robinson (District 2) stated that it was never the county’s intention to leave a district without representation.

“It was always our plan to always protect the incumbent in each district,” she said during a council meeting in May.

Proposed Rock Quarry Public Hearing

Pope told The Herald Independent on Thursday that the public hearing by DHEC to present the application process of a proposing mining company will be held on July 25 at Fairfield Central High School’s auditorium.

Originally and tentatively scheduled for June 24, Pope said there was a possibility that DHEC would still hold an informal information session. County staff will announce that meeting once it is official.

Citizens have opposed the proposed mining company — Winnsboro Crushed Stone.

County staff did send a letter to DHEC to assure a public hearing would be held on the matter.

It was initially believed that the area was zoned as residential, which would prevent Winnsboro Crushed Stone from mining without any re-zoning from county council. However, the area is actually the area is actually zoned as RD-1 (Rural Residential District), which does allow conditional mining.

Those conditions stipulate the mining company have a reclamation and reuse plan for the property, and requires blasting zones restricted to no more than 1,500 feet from any neighbor, as well as requiring a location map and limiting mining traffic to major streets only.

The proposed site is located at the southeast end of Rockton Thruway, which is approximately four miles southeast of Winnsboro and 2.2 miles away from the intersection of U.S. 321 and S.C. 34.

The tract of land covers approximately 900 acres.

Comments or inquiries about the application should be sent to the attention of Joe Koon, SCDHEC, Division of Mining and Solid Waste Management, 2600 Bull Street, Columbia, South Carolina, 29201. You can also reach him by phone at 803-898-1371.

For more information, click the DHEC Mining Application link on the county’s website at www.fairfieldsc.com.