Council Seats New Members

img_4142-copyWINNSBORO (Jan. 12, 2017) – Amid pomp, refreshments and almost no business, County Council seated three new members Monday evening after a swearing in ceremony conducted by Fairfield County Clerk of Court Judy Bonds. Jimmy Ray Douglas (District 2), Bertha Goins (District 4) and Neil Robinson (District 6), whose 5-year old son called out from the audience, “That’s my Daddy!” took their seats along with new Councilman Mikel Trapp (District 3) who was seated last month following his election to fill the seat of former Councilman Walter Larry Stewart who resigned last summer for health reasons.

After the swearing in ceremony, Council elected Billy Smith (District 7) chairman and Bertha Goins as vice chairwoman.

“This means a lot to me and I’m committed to doing the best I can in this position,” Smith said after thanking his fellow Council members for electing him chairman. “I don’t plan on disappointing anyone, but I can’t promise that there won’t be times when I come up short. In those cases, I ask that you keep me in line and point out whatever the issue may be. Not only do I need your help, but I want your help. I hope to be guiding our meetings by a sense of fairness and respect as a top priority to my fellow Council members and to the citizens. I hope this will be a welcome approach and change to this position.”

Smith said he looked forward to working with Council and the citizens of Fairfield County, “doing our best to improve the lives of the citizens of our county and moving our county forward.”

Trapp, Robinson and Dan Ruff (District 1) congratulated Smith and Goins and all the newly elected members, thanked their districts and wished everyone a happy new year.

Goins told the Council and audience that she thanked God for being able to serve the County and that she did not take her service lightly. She said she was thankful to be working with a County Council team that, she pointed out, includes the whole county as well as her district. She also recognized County Administrator Jason Taylor and the new Clerk of Court, Patti Locklair, and thanked them for their service to the County.

“That’s how I’m going to look at everything,” Goins said. “All of us are a team. County Council may be the first string, but we are all in the game together to make it fair and just.”

She referenced her campaign slogan, “Fairfield for All,” and said she is “looking forward to us working together to move Fairfield forward.”

Speaking last, Douglas said he was reminded of what one of his supporters advised him after he won the election.

“I want to let everyone know that this is not about me,” he said. “It’s about you.”

Annual Retreat

After Council approved the annual meeting calendar (soon available online), Taylor reminded members of the annual retreat tentatively set for Saturday, Jan. 21, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. He said it will be held in the County this year at the Midlands Tech Campus, 1674 U.S. 321 Business. An attorney from the S.C. Association of Counties will conduct the meeting, which will focus on a review of the County’s operating bylaws, Roberts Rules of Order, the Home Rule Act and will touch on budgeting and a few of the projects the County is working on. The public is invited to attend.

Public Comment

Ridgeway resident Tommy Richards addressed a rezoning request recently forwarded by the Planning Commission to County Council with a recommendation of denial. Ronnie and Rose Murphy are requesting the rezoning for a property they own on Longleaf Road in Ridgeway from its current R-1 zoning to R-2 zoning that would allow for mobile homes. R-1 prohibits mobile homes. The property was downzoned from R-2 to R-1 by the County in 2012 during a rezoning sweep approved by Council at that time.

“The motion for rezoning of the property by Murphy will be coming before you, so I wanted to touch base with you,” Richards said. “The rezoning is vehemently opposed to by the neighbors. It’s detrimental (to the neighboring homes) to bring in housing that’s not up to the standards of Longleaf Road. Please go look at the property. It is not kept up.”

Smith told The Voice that the Council has not yet received the rezoning request.