First 2018 Meeting

FIRST COUNCIL MEETING - Saluda County Council began the new year Monday, under the leadership of new chairman, Derrick Jones. Pictured, L to R, are Chairman Jones, and Council members Frank Daniels, D.J., Miller, Gwen Shealy and Jones Butler. (Standard-Sentinel photo)

County Council
Begins New Year

Saluda County Council began the new year Mon., Jan. 8, under the leadership of new chairman, Derrick Jones.
  Jones was elected Dec. 19 to fill the unexpired term of the late Chairman Don Hancock, who died Aug. 2.
  The meeting began with a 30-minute public hearing on two cellphone towers to be built by  Cellco Partnership, doing business as Verizon Wireless.
  Laura Goode explained the technical aspects of the two 199-ft., towers. One will be built at  1650 Duncan Road, and the other be constructed at 161 Corinth Road.
  Goode said other carriers could rent space on the towers, and said it was possible the county could place radio equipment on either or both of the towers.
  Saundra Ligon of the S.C. Human Affairs Commission urged Saluda County to form a Community Relations Council.
  She said the council would not be about race, but about quality of life.
  Ligon said the council should be made up of members from diverse backgrounds, and each County Council member could appoint two or three members each. The Human Affairs Commission will train the members.
  Council gave second reading to an ordinance delivering a fee-in-lieu of ad valorem taxes for Project Catalina.
  Development Director Ed Parler said this will be another large solar farm, encompassing 293 acres, in the Ridge area of the county. It will be built at a cost of $115 million.
  Parler said Project Catalina will pay the county $150,000 per year. The county portion will be $69,000, with the local school district getting the remainder.
  By comparison, Parler said the landowners currently pay $1072 in property taxes, of which the county gets $490.
  “So, it’s easy to see the difference between $490 and $69,000,” Parler said.
  Council passed second reading unanimously.
  Approval of a request of proposal for development of a P-25 capable Public Safety Radio System was given.
  County Emergency Management Director Josh Morton said there were several areas of the county with poor radio reception, including Lake Murray, Ridge Spring, Ward and Mayson community. Because of this dangerous situation, he said a new system is needed.
  He recommended the county adopt the proposal submitted by Kinard Control Systems, Inc. of Newberry, with a first year cost of $580,000 and an annual maintenance of $105,000. Over 10 years total cost will be $1.6 million.
  Morton said grants will be sought to cover a large portion of the initial cost.
  Vice Chairman Gwen Shealy presided over the passage of two resolutions that will put Jones on the Tri-County Solid Waste Authority Board of Commissioners and Three Rivers Solid Waste Authority Board of Directors in place of Hancock.
   Council approved Recreation Director Paul Ergle’s request for a part-time employee during youth baseball season. The worker will assist Ergle with cutting the grass and chalking and painting the fields, and attend some of the games.
  The worker will make $10 an hour and work approximately 25 hours a week from March 1-June 8. If the county hosts an All-Star tournament, the work will be extended to June 30. Cost will be $3500 a year without an All-Star tournament and $4500 for years with a tournament.
  Also, approved was part-time position for the Voter Registration/Elections Office.
  Voter Registration and Elections  Board Chairman Jack Atkinson said the employee was needed to help with the 2018 General Election process.
  Atkinson said the state requires someone to be in the office at all times during an election year. Cost for this employee for 60 days at $11.50 per hour will be $6,681.71.
  This was approved.
  Public Buildings Supervisor Steve McAlister said a heating unit at the Detention Center broke down recently.
  The unit can be repaired by Edwards Heating and Cooling at a cost of $2995.00.
  A new unit can be purchased for $11,135.00. Since the unit is on the rooftop, Edwards does not have a crane to do the project, so Cullum Services submitted the bid.
  McAlister said the unit was 20-years old and was on it last legs. The issue, he said, was whether the county would build a new detention center in the near future.
  Council voted 4-1 to go with the repair.
  Councilman D.J. Miller said he does not often support a proposal that would cost more, but he said he thought buying the new unit would be the best idea.
  McAlister was asked if a new unit could be moved to a new building.
  He said it was possible, but few recommend putting units on a roof anymore, and he did not know if the unit would function on the ground.
  The following came out of Exexutive Session:
  Council granted a temporary access for ingress and egress on county property to Ridge Lumber, Inc. as presented to Council.