County Council May Meeting

Park, Lawsuit Settlement
Highlight Council Meeting

  The Brooks and Roston Park and the settlement of a lawsuit brought by some elected officials highlighted Monday’s Saluda County Council meeting.
  Discussion of the Brooks and Roston Park started the proceedings, which featured an overflow audience of park supporters.
  Rev. Annette Mathis, representing the Concerned Citizens, read the following:
  1. Did the County Council consult with the community concerning the Brooks and Roston Park?
  2. Who does the County Council believe owns the Brooks and Roston park?
  3. Instead of a lease agreement, why did the County Council insist on a quick claim deed to give the Brooks and Roston Park to the County?
  4. Is the County Council responsible for cutting the timber of the brooks and Roston park property, and if so who authorized it?
  5. What future plans does the County Council have for the Brooks and Roston Park?
  6. Why did the County close the Brooks and Roston park and tear down the concession stand and the restrooms and remove some of the play ground equipment and it has no water/electric and it has now reopened to the public.
  7. When will the new concession stand, restrooms, water and electric be back up and running for the community?
  8. The Concerned Citizens developed the Brooks and Roston Park and some things are sentimental value and needs to stay as is the community have no desire to move the adult softball field and that is the reason it was developed to play softball.
  9. Is the County funding the Ward’s park and do they own that park?
  10. We are requesting a response in writing in a timely manner please and we thank all of the Councilmen in advance for your cooperation.
  Council Chairman Don Hancock said many of these questions could not be answered immediately, since some funds to build the park came from S.C. Parks, Recreation and Tourism and the U.S. Department of the Interior.
  County is waiting to hear from both of those agencies to help determine the ownership of the park.
  Councilwoman Gwen Shealy said the lumber was not cut but the county, but the landowners, and the buildings on the park were condemned and torn down at the advice of the county’s insurance carriers.
  County Attorney Chis Spradley said the county cannot deed property to an organization that is not incorporated.
  This similar to the situation with the Emory School last month. County granted the school to the Emory Community Club years ago, but learned this was not legal. The club recently became incorporated as a non-profit organization and Council gave the building to the club.
  James Holloway and Obie Combs addressed ownership and safety concerns.
  Hancock said Council will answer all of Rev. Mathis’ questions as soon as possible.
  At the beginning of the new business section, Hancock read the following:
  “In October 2015, former Saluda County Auditor Jane Guy, current Saluda County Auditor Memmus Forrest, and current Saluda County Treasurer Tina Shealy filed a lawsuit against Saluda County that challenged a provision of Saluda County’s ordinance governing salaries of elected officials as contrary to state law. In the interest of working together for the good of the County, the parties sought to resolve the dispute out of court.
  In April 2017, Saluda County, Jane Guy, Memmus Forrest and Tina Shealy entered into a written settlement agreement that resolves the dispute without any admission of unlawful action or intent by any party. The Saluda County Council believes that incomplete implementation in the past of a comprehensive pay scale system for county employees in part contributed to low salaries for the elected positions of County Treasurer and Auditor,   While Ms. Guy, Mr. Forrest and Ms. Shealy lack personal knowledge of Council’s past intent, they do agree with the County that initiation of a new salary study for all county positions is in the best interest of the County.”
  After this council discussed three related items.
  First reading was given to an ordinance repealing the ordinance establishing minimum base salaries of certain elected/appointed officials.
  First reading was then given to an ordinance that will pay Guy, Forrest and Shealy $120,000 from the reserve fund in accordance to the settlement agreement.
  Council then repealed the longevity plan.
  Councilwoman Shealy said all this action will benefit the county employees in the long run.
  First reading was given to an ordinance that will transfer not more than $100,000 from the reserve fund to balance the General Operating budget for 2016-17.
  Approved was $6100 to A&W Glass Services to install a bullet/blast resistant security glass at the Department of Social Services. Council also gave Grants Coordinator Jill Warren permission to apply for a grant for the victims’ advocate. The grant would be sued to purchase a SUV that would be use to transport victims and their children. Total cost is $27,240 with the county match of $5448.
  Councilman D.J. Miller’s appointed of Bryan W. Rushton to the Tax Appeals Board.
  At the  beginning of the meeting, third and final reading was given to an ordinance lowering hangar lease rates at the Saluda County Airport.
  Jack Atkinson was the only person to speak at the public hearing. He said he had no problems with the ordinance, but as a pilot he would never house a plane in S.C.
  Atkinson said planes are taxed at 10 percent in S.C., so property taxes on a $100,000 plane would run $3200 a year.
  Second reading was given to an ordinance allowing the coroner to charge a fee for cremation services.
  Second readings were given to the county and school  budgets.
The local portion of the Saluda County School’s $17,642,762 budget is $4,227,646.
 The county budget currently stands at $12,677,963. The difference between revenue and expenditures is $1530,263.
  Council approved awarding the contract to conducting annual physicals for firefighters and EMS employees to Site Med at a cost of $270 each.

SALUDA DUCK UNLIMITED CHAPTER RECOGNIZED - The Saluda County Chapter of Duck’s Unlimited received recognition  at the State Convention recently. The chapter was awarded  the Gold National Chapter Excellence Award, and the SCDU State Efficiency Award. Jesse Quattlebaum, Saluda County Chairman, was recognized for his leadership within SCDU and the Saluda County Chapter. Jesse was one of six SCDU members to receive the SCDU Leadership Award. Pictured L to R, are Tanner Quattlebaum of Saluda, Regional Director, Jess Quattlebaum. Josh Price, chapter committee member, and Dave Hemmingsen, SCDU state chairman.