Ho-Hum Meeting Turns into Hoo-Ha

WINNSBORO – An otherwise mundane, by the numbers County Council meeting degenerated into utter chaos during its waning minutes Monday night with Fairfield County Sheriff’s deputies helping to facilitate a walkout of the majority of the chambers’ occupants, while one member of the audience was held back from storming the Council platform. The disorder spilled over even into the audience after the meeting, as one candidate for a County Council seat endured some loud and angry words from one of his opponents.

The tipping point came during County Council time when Councilman Kamau Marcharia (District 4) launched a tirade against the county’s two newspapers – one, according to Marcharia, for the way it attempted to sew dissent among the African-American community; and the other for a full-page political action committee ad. The ad, printed in last week’s (and this week’s) edition of The Independent Voice, contained nothing but lies, Marcharia said.

Marcharia said he would not tolerate the dissemination of such false information, and that he was determined to get to the bottom of who was responsible – ignoring completely the telephone number printed at the bottom of the advertisement.

After several painful minutes of Marcharia’s screed, the audience finally responded with groans that grew from grumbles to noisy dissent. When Marcharia called on Chairman David Ferguson (District 5) to clear the room, many of the detractors rose and began to exit. Although it is not entirely clear to whom Marcharia directed his parting comments, what is clear was his statement to one of the members of the audience.

“You’re the biggest liar in here,” Marcharia said.

The epithet struck a nerve in Jeff Schaffer, a resident of the Lake Monticello community in District 4 and an outspoken critic of County Council. Schaffer stomped toward the platform, chanting repeatedly, “Are you calling me a liar?” before being held back by a gentleman sitting in the front row.

Once deputies had cleared the chambers, Marcharia asked Ferguson to restore before the platform the length of plastic chain that has for most of this year served as a barrier between Council and the public.

Business

Before the train completely left the rails Monday night, Council did conduct some actual business. Council held first reading of an ordinance to purchase and develop 3.36 acres of property at the intersection of Shoemaker and Center Creek roads for a County mini park. Council also passed second reading of an ordinance to rezone from B-2 (General Business District) to RD-1 (Rural Residential District) .46 acres at 2183 Dave Cole Road in Blair.

The COG

Council gave approval to an agreement with the Central Midlands Council of Governments (COG) to develop a county wide strategic plan for the use of future revenues from the two new reactors under construction at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville. Milton Pope, interim County Administrator, told Council that the COG had developed a “conceptual framework for the plan,” which includes a community master plan, an economic development plan and a financial plan.

“One of the COG’s primary responsibilities as project manager will be to develop requests for proposals (RFP) to procure consultant services to assist with the development of the plan,” Pope said.

Pope said the COG will work with the County to establish a Project Advisory Committee “to help guide the planning process.” The committee will include a “wide cross-section of stakeholders,” Pope said, “who can provide guidance on specific community needs, issues and opportunities.”

Once the consultant contract is in place, Pope said, the COG will work with the County to develop a community outreach program to engage the community in the planning process. The plan will provide a comprehensive, prioritized project list and implementation time line, Pope said, that will be analyzed in the context of existing and future revenue streams.

Comments

  1. Mark Polk says

    More entertaining than Honey Boo Boo or the Kardashians!

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