Fairfield County Council met Monday night to discuss personnel matters, job training, and community block grant surveys among other matters.
A quorum of four of the seven members was present.
Chairman David Ferguson noted a conflict with the Winnsboro Town Council’s specially called meeting on Monday night to discuss the creation of a water authority in Fairfield County.
Some county council members chose to attend that Town of Winnsboro water meeting instead.
Vice-chairman Dwayne Perry said he would have liked to attend the meeting but thought the pre-existing county council meeting took precedent.
“In the first meeting of January we set our schedule and we don’t deviate from that,” Ferguson said.
He mentioned how the state advised several weeks ago that councils should refrain from changing agendas and meetings, so the council did not move its meeting time to avoid the conflict.
Council member Mary Lynn Kinely said that the council notified the town by letter requesting a meeting not be held on the second or fourth Monday and the county council clerk said she conveyed that information to Winnsboro Town Manager Don Woods. Council agenda is council business according to Ferguson and the officials will meet at the appointed time.
A resolution passed unanimously for the county to enter into a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes arrangement with the Shaw Group which is managing much of the nuclear plant construction in Fairfield County.
The resolution also addressed working with the company should a multi-county business or industrial park be needed in the future though no plans for such a park were discussed at the meeting.
Following the resolution, the first reading passed that would authorize the fee-in-lieu-of-taxes arrangement.
An issue to be evaluated before the second and final readings of the ordinance is how much of the work involves construction in progress versus the creation of permanent jobs.
The third reading is scheduled for the fourth Monday in August which also would be the public forum on the matter.
The county already has a fee-in-lieu-of-tax arrangement with SCANA.
In a personnel matter, Davis Anderson, told council of a need for the creation of an assistant position to the director of Fairfield County Planning, Building and Zoning.
Anderson and Fairfield County Administrator Philip Hinely also expressed a need for two more code enforcement officers so that the zoning department could implement a strategic plan and enforce ordinances on a block-by-block approach to make sure they are enforced for all property owners.
Hinely said this is a complicated process and need a plan of action. public meetings, and public awareness that will take time but needs to be done in a timely manner.
Hinely and Anderson said there was funding to create the three full-time positions.
Councilman Mikel Trapp said he thought the approach of having an understudy learn from the director of Planning, Building and Zoning was smart business sense.
Ferguson recommended that the job description for the positions be tied in as a recommendation of Anderson and Hinely, including the need for the officers to attend criminal justice school and earn class three certification within a reasonable amount of time.
Public hearings will be part of the process in a manner the council has not yet finalized.
Ferguson said community feedback is needed because in many cases persons may not realize how the housing situation has deteriorated in Fairfield County.
“We have a good code enforcement team. These changes will take time but they will compel industry to come here. I feel like we are headed in the right direction.” Ferguson said residents must be mindful not only of their own property but of how it impacts their neighbor.
In other new business, Ferguson announced that they are nearer to having one nominee accept a position on the Airport Board.
There are two open spots remaining.
It is county council policy not to confirm who a nominee is until that person has accepted the board position.
He said the paperwork should be in place by the next council meeting for that addition to the board.
Ferguson asked if anyone knows of someone who would be a good choice for the other two open positions on the board that they should contact County Council with that information.
He said two well-qualified prospects are in line for positions with the library commission and the hospital board.
Rudolph Walker thanked county council for its support of the Fairfield Fatherhood Coalition.
Ferguson returned the thanks from the council for what Walker does in the county.
“We appreciate what you do for the young men in this county,” Ferguson said.
Walker said he received a number of calls of young men expressing interest in the program after an article ran in the Herald in June. Mary Kay Kinley told Walker that the WillVista Program, a partnership between pharmaceutical companies and South Carolina pharmacists to provide free medicine to persons on low incomes, is back in business. She promised to get him information about the WillVista Program.
In other business community development block funding was discussed.
Steve Gaither mentioned the importance of citizens filling out surveys to provide detailed demographic information to help the county apply for grants.
The survey information is used for fire grants, FEMA grants, the Council on Aging grants and for community block grants.
“This participation is critical because it tells about services and if they are there or not,” he said. “If we don’t know there is a need, we can’t address it.”