County Council takes action on several items Tuesday evening

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Sumter County Council held its regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 12 and took action on several items.

County Attorney Johnathan Bryan told council members an ordinance authorizing a fee-in-lieu agreement between Sumter County and Sumter Easy Home LLC was not ready for third reading and asked to defer, which was approved.

Public hearing was held for the matter, but no one spoke.

An ordinance amending the master agreement governing the Sumter-Lee Industrial Park to place Sumter Easy Home LLC in the park saw third reading approved.

City-County Planning Director George McGregor explained to Council the framework of an agreement between the Planning Commission and the Town of Pinewood which would allow the Town to utilize the Planning Commission for certain functions. Zoning interests and help in updating the Town of Pinewood’s Comprehensive Plan are required, under state law, to have Planning Commission’s recommendation before going to Council, he said.

Though there’s not a great deal of zoning activity, that process could require the help of his staff, he said, and an hourly review has been agreed upon.

“I don’t see any costs involved at all,” he told council members.

Council Vice-Chairman Jimmy Byrd said he has some historical information to help add to the context. First reading of the agreement was approved.

Third reading of an ordinance to amend building permit fees and certain re-inspection fees in Sumter County was approved.

Third reading of an ordinance to approve a contract authorizing Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis to manage and operate Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center was approved. Council member Vivian Fleming-McGhaney recused herself from the vote.

Second reading of an ordinance to approve a property conveyance to the Sherwin-Williams Company was approved after Bryan explained how in the old days of economic development, property would be conveyed to the County to sell bonds and once the bonds were paid off, the property would revert back to the owner. Sherwin-Williams is the successor to the former Sumter Chemical and Coatings, he explained, and the bond was paid off.

Vice-Chairman Byrd updated council members about an Internal Affairs Committee meeting held prior to regular Council meeting during which several Sumter County residents were appointed to boards.

Board Chairman James T. McCain Jr. updated council members on a Fiscal, Tax and Property Committee meeting held prior to Council’s meeting which involved a report for informational purposes only about the YWCA and what that organization does for Sumter County. McCain also said the committee approved a request from the Solicitor to add a position in Clarendon County that would be funded by the state with no cost to the County.

Council member Eugene Baten gave a report about a conference held by Gov. McMaster regarding opioid abuse he attended along with Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Hampton Gardner. Law enforcement in Sumter County has been proactive in getting training to administer an antidote for overdose victims, he said, adding he was happy to see the Governor taking steps to address the issue.

Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon updated Council on how we were lucky to have avoided the effects of Hurricane Irma while noting a lot of preparation and planning went on with daily meetings between City and County officials. Sumter County Emergency Medical Services, Sumter Fire Department, Sumter Police Department and Sumter County Sheriff’s Office all worked closely together in the lead-up to the storm, he said, and Mixon commended Emergency Management Director Erik Hayes for doing an excellent job. The Emergency Operations Center was activated at 7 a.m. on Sunday and was staffed in 12-hour shifts by the aforementioned agencies.

A shelter opened at Crestwood High School at 5 p.m. on Sunday, he said, and eventually took in 48 people, three of whom came from Florida seeking refuge. Everyone involved worked very well together, he said.

“We were well prepared,” he said.

As of 3 p.m. on Tuesday about 2,200 homes in Sumter County were without power while both Black River and Duke Energy Progress are working diligently to restore power.

Sumter School District also was closely involved in deciding to institute a two hour delay along with the City and County as it was unknown on Monday what effects the storm would have on the roadways for Tuesday morning’s commute.

All entities are working closely with the S.C. Emergency Management Division to total damages that may qualify for federal assistance, he said.


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