Council Slips FILOT Details into Agenda

WINNSBORO – County Council amended its agenda Monday night to allow Interim Administrator Milton Pope to present a resolution detailing elements of a potential fee-in-lieu-of-taxes (FILOT) agreement.

Councilman Billy Smith (District 7) voted against the agenda change, citing a recent amendment by the State Legislature to the S.C. Freedom of Information Act making the addition of action items to an agenda without at least 24 hours’ notice illegal, barring emergency circumstances. Smith, who also voted against approval of the agenda, was the only Council member to do so.

According to the new wording of Section 30-4-80 of the FOIA, if a vote is to be taken on an item and it is the final vote on the item, adding it to the agenda with less than 24 hours’ notice requires a 2/3 vote of members present and finding of emergency or exigent circumstances.

When the item came up for discussion, Pope told Council that he requested its late inclusion because he wanted details of the agreement made public before the scheduled Aug. 10 second reading and public hearing on the FILOT.

Pope said the proposed FILOT for the economic development project code named “Project USA” would require the company to invest $125 million in the project over five years and create 75 new jobs. They would be taxed at a 6 percent assessment ratio, he said, with real property not subject to reassessment.

Pope also said the County would be partnering with the Town of Winnsboro to extend a natural gas line to the undisclosed project site at no cost to the company. The company would also be seeking rezoning of 180 acres of the proposed project site, Pope said.

Council unanimously approved the resolution.

Rocky 1 Road Rezoning

Council also gave unanimous approval to the rezoning of 0.75 acres at 67 Rocky 1 Road from RD-1 (Rural Residential) to RC (Rural Community).

Councilman Kamau Marcharia said there were close to 100 different types of businesses and industries allowed in RC that were not allowed in RD-1 and that the public might want to know what those were. Smith, however, said he didn’t find anything allowed under RC that wouldn’t fit in with the area.

“There are 42 different things allowed in RC that are not allowed in RD-1,” Smith said. “Horses, hardware stores, paint stores … I wouldn’t think there is anything that would not fit. This is in my district, I know where it is, and I don’t think there would be any objection over there. I have not heard any objection to this.”

Heating and Air

Council gave the OK to a total of $27,809 to replace a 5-ton heating and air conditioning unit at the Magistrate’s Court ($7,000) as well as a 10-ton unit ($12,809) and a 5-ton unit ($8,000) at the Department of Social Services (DSS) building. The Magistrate’s Court unit and the 10-ton DSS unit were both recommended by the Administration and Finance Committee two weeks ago. The additional 5-ton DSS unit was added to the list Monday night, Pope said, as that unit just went down last week. All units are being purchased from and installed by Cudd Heating and Air of Chester.

Compensation Study

Council also unanimously approved $24,386 to hire The Archer Company of Rock Hill to conduct the County’s salary and compensation study.

Board Appointments

Council filled the following vacancies Monday night on boards and commissions: Board of Assessments, Gordon Doty (representing District 6); Construction Board of Appeals, David Brandenburg (District 7); Hospital Board, Clarence Gilbert (District 6); Library Commission, Jean McCrory (District 2) and Paul Dove (District 5, reappointment); and Planning Commission, Tommy Wright (District 6, reappointment).