WINNSBORO — How can Fairfield County leadership work to transform this area into a hotbed of industrial activity? Could it do so through business as usual or are systematic changes needed?
At Monday night’s county council meeting, Mike Briggs with the Central SC Alliance gave favorable assessment of the county’s forward looking, proactive approach to business growth.
Workforce development, industrial sites and county water and sewer infrastructure have been addressed during the last five years and continue to be addressed in the four-phase plan implemented from 2010-2020.
Tiffany Harrison, director of economic development for Fairfield County, again outlined the county’s upcoming $24.06 million bond issuance.
Unlike the bonds being issued by the school district for construction of a new career center which requires a tax increase, these county issued bonds are more like refinancing.
As the county bonds come due, County Administrator Phil Hinely said the county policy is to stagger the bond debt. As one bond comes due and the debt is paid off, then the funds generated from the existing tax revenue are used to purchase more bonds.
The economic plan was kept to an amount that keeps the county from having to raise its millage.
Councilwoman Carolyn Robinson elaborated, saying the bonds currently being levied by the county would be paid off without a tax change for Fairfield County residents. New bond debt would replace the current debt and used to levy bonds without the need for anyone’s taxes to increase.
Of that funding, $3 million will be used for development of the Walter B. Brown Industrial Park Speculative Building; $6 million will fund Phase 2 of work at the Fairfield County Commerce Center on Peach Road; and $3.5 million will fund Phase 1 of water and sewer from Peach Road to Exit 41 on I-77.
Phase 3 of that plan runs from 2013-2017 which focuses on positioning the county toward success. Phase 4, from 2017-2020, responds to needs determined by a county wide needs assessment and also helps manage funds generated by the unit two nuclear reactor coming on line at the V.C. Summer plant.
Each district would receive $500,000 for park development aimed at quality of life improvements and upgrades will occur to the county administration building and courthouse’s HVAC systems and wiring. The reserve fund would get $1.6 million with the remaining costs covering closing costs for the bond issuance.
In other business:
— Council passed first reading of Ordinance 614 pertaining to the county’s constitutional bonded debt limit and how bonds could be used to fund capital projects. The motion passed 6-1 with Robinson voting against.
— Council unanimously passed first reading of Ordinance 615 pertaining to establishing capital budgets for county government.
— Steven Gaither, grants coordinator for Fairfield County, spoke about the county’s hopes for receiving a Community Block Development Grant for the Middlesix area’s water and sewer though that application remains a work in progress.
— Patti Wilkes, director of First Steps in Fairfield County, gave information on First Steps and its successes as the program nears its June 30 deadline . If the state government does not authorize First Steps, a sunset clause will kick in to end the program. Council approved a proclamation as the week of April 15 being the Week of the Young Child in Fairfield County.
— Richard Winn Academy’s state championship girls basketball team was honored for the 2012-13 season.
— Tony Caulder was appointed to the Fairfield County Council on Aging board for District 2. John Brantley was appointed to the Fairfield County Fire Commission as a representative for the Blackstock Fire Department.
— Hinely asked Deputy County Administrator Davis Anderson to check with the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Department about an entity in the Greenbrier area that is opening a facility to treat individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Councilman Kamau Marcharia asked if the county had a safety plan to protect the community from potential threats that could arise among that population, hence Hinely’s request.