Fairfield County votes to update economic development website

WINNSORO – County Council members dispensed with a lengthy agenda in less than an hour Monday evening. A highlight of the session was a unanimous vote to upgrade the County’s aged economic development website to the tune of $29,000 with a $695/month maintenance contract.

“This was not a budgeted item,” County Administrator Jason Taylor told Council, stressing, however, that it was urgent the site be updated. “We have $7,000 in the current economic development budget and we can use that to start with and then, with Council’s approval, budget the remainder in the upcoming fiscal year.”

Created in 2010, the site is out of date and no longer communicates an accurate perception of Fairfield County, Taylor said. Compared to other counties’ economic development websites, it is obsolete, he wrote in the County’s request for bids.

Earlier this month, County resident Randy Bright reminded Council of the inadequacies of the County’s languishing website that had not been updated in more than six years. However, Taylor had already put out a request for bids to have a new website built that will specifically target economic development for the County.

“We had six companies respond to our request for qualifications,” Taylor said. “DuBose Web Design, a local company, submitted the winning bid. We looked at their work and thoroughly vetted them. They came highly recommended for this kind of website.”

Chairman Billy Smith (District 7) also pointed out that DuBose had built and maintains the economic development website for the Central South Carolina Alliance, with which the County is affiliated.

Council unanimously approved the bid.

More Purchases

In response to a request from the County’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department, Council voted unanimously to purchase four sets of Hurst battery-powered Jaws of Life for $36,276.21

“It was the lowest of two quotes,” Taylor said. “The purchase was budgeted at $36,537, so we saved $260.79.”

Council also approved the purchase of 15 Dell Rugged laptop computers for the Sheriff’s Office at a cost of $34,587. One other bid came in at $34,775. Taylor said the laptops were already budgeted under the current fiscal year and are under state contract.

“We issue about 52 laptops to the deputies and try to replace about 13 of them each year which comes out to a laptop lasting about four years,” Deputy Terry Smith told the Administrative and Finance Committee earlier in the evening. She said the old laptops are turned over to the IT department where the hard drives are destroyed and the laptops are sold at auction.

Tweaking Ordinances

After unanimously passing first reading of two ordinances by title only – one to reclassify the zoning on four parcels in the County’s new industrial site at I-77 and Highway 34 from RD-1 (Rural Residential District) to I-1 (Industrial District) and another to increase the terms of office on the Fairfield County Library Board from three-year terms to four-year terms – Council passed second reading to revise Sec. 1-20-C of the Roads, Highways and Bridges ordinance to allow road crews to pave short roads when paving longer roads that are connected to the short roads, even if the short roads are not yet scheduled for paving.

Bill Coleman, engineer for the Fairfield County Transportation Commission (CTC) told members of the Administrative and Finance Committee last month that the changes would result in a cost savings for the CTC.

Taylor told Council that Coleman would be present at third reading to answer questions and discuss the proposed changes to the ordinance.

Happy Ending

The happy ending to the evening came with Taylor’s announcement that he had met with Town of Winnsboro officials who had requested a meeting between the Town Council and County Council.

“They want to explore with us how we might work together to more efficiently provide services to our citizens,” Taylor said.

During County Council time, Councilman Neil Robinson (District 6) said he would look forward to working with the Town.

“A lot of my constituents live in the town and I think we could both benefit from working together on some things,” Robinson said.

“We’ll be glad to get with the town,” Smith responded. “I’ll work with Ms. Locklair on this to set something up soon.”