Council Skipping Town for Retreat

WINNSBORO – In spite of urgings from one member of the public to do otherwise, County Council Chairwoman Carolyn Robinson (District 2) announced Monday night that Council would be holding their Feb. 21 retreat one county away.

Ridgeway resident Randy Bright had asked Council during the meeting’s first public comment segment to hold the retreat locally, so that it would be more accessible to constituents. Nevertheless, Robinson later announced the retreat would be held at the Midlands Technical College campus on Farrow Road in Richland County.

“We’re using that facility because we put money in the pot for educating the children and everything and it’s something that is available to us so that’s where we have chosen to have it,” Robinson said.

Councilwoman Mary Lynn Kinley (District 6) later asked Robinson if she would consider holding the retreat at the Midlands Tech campus in Fairfield County, but Robinson said adequate space was not available there.

“We only have one room available to us there,” Robinson said. “We need two rooms.”

Robinson also said the White Oak Conference Center had been considered, but was “cost prohibitive.” Council can use the Farrow Road campus for free, she said.

“We tried to think of some (other local) possibilities,” Robinson said, “and we didn’t come up with any.”

The retreat is scheduled for 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and is open to the public. The campus is actually located just off Farrow Road at 151 Powell Road in Columbia.

Committee Split

Council voted to split the Policy and Development Committee into two new committees Monday night. By unanimous vote, Council created the Public Affairs and Policy Committee, comprising justice and personnel procedures, environmental and public safety, land planning and zoning; and the Public Resources and Development Committee, covering health, education and recreation, public facilities and transportation, welfare and community relations.

At the suggestion of Kinley, Council agreed to try the new format for six months and bring it up for review.

In Congress

With no members of Council attending next weekend’s National Association of Counties legislative conference in Washington, D.C., Council discussed items to be included in a letter to U.S. Rep Mick Mulvaney and senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, detailing the County’s needs for potential federal assistance.

County Administrator Milton Pope told Council the letter would include requests for hospital funding, assistance with water and sewer infrastructure, internet access and the County’s aging 9-1-1 system. Kinley suggested including a request for assistance in funding a new library project in Ridgeway, while Councilman Kamau Marcharia (District 4) asked Pope to also include incentives for housing developers.

“We have one of the poorest stocks of housing in the state,” Marcharia said. “Is there a way where we can entice or invite developers to come with some kind of incentives to start building some homes or houses?”

Late Start

Council rescheduled the start time of their Feb. 23 meeting to 7:30 p.m. to allow Council members to attend that evening’s ceremony honoring former Sheriff Herman Young. Young will be awarded the Order of the Palmetto at an event beginning at 5:30 at the Carolina Event Center, 1122 Highway 321 in Winnsboro.

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