Co. Admin. gets raise, contract extension

WINNSBORO – Council came out of executive session Monday evening with good news for its two employees, County Administrator Jason Taylor and Clerk to Council Patti Locklair.

Council members voted to give Taylor a 4.16 percent raise in salary which amounts to $5,000 per year. They also extended Taylor’s contract three more years for a total of five years.

“Mr. Taylor has done a fantastic job in his one year with us,” Council Chairman Billy Smith told The Voice following the meeting. “With his wealth of knowledge and positive leadership, he’s helped us begin to get our County on the right track again, from implementing Council directives to helping us rebuild long-strained relationships and everything in between. The County and Town are now striving to work together and Mr. Taylor has played a huge role in that effort. Mr. Taylor has proven very valuable to Fairfield County, and I hope we can keep him long enough to accomplish the great things I know we can.”

Council also rewarded Locklair for what Smith said was an extraordinary capability to do the job.

“She really had no experience with this kind of job, and she’s just jumped in here and learned it very quickly. I think everyone

on Council has expressed their appreciation for the job she’s done since we hired her six months ago,” Smith said.’

For that, Locklair will receive a $1,000 salary increase effective in her next paycheck.

Several other Council members spoke up to praise both Taylor’s and Locklair’s work with Council and the county employees.

“I’m definitely pleased with the direction Council is going in right now,” Councilman Neal Robinson said. “Mr. Taylor was a great find and Ms. Locklair is 110 percent. I’m definitely enjoying this Council and our work. These two are a great help to us in making it all happen, and I want the community to know that.”

Water Lines to Phase II

In other business, Council approved a $610,753 bid from the LAD Corporation of West Columbia to continue with Phase II on-site water improvement to serve the Fairfield Commerce Center. The water portion of Phase II had to be bid separately from road and wastewater since the water portion was not funded by grants.

Phase II improvements will include 7,060 feet of 12-inch water main and 14 fire hydrants. Wiley Easton of Lexington bid $618,900 and Stutz and Williams of Lexington bid $631,100.

Radio Purchase

Council also approved a $486,117.80 bid from Carolina Fleet Talk-Rock Communications out of Fort Mill, to provide 46 mobile radios, 345 portables and 14 base stations, to improve Interoperability between departments that will provide the most complete coverage for Fairfield County. Radio Communications of Sumter bid $661,895.21 and Motorolla’s bid was $986,120. Fleet-Talk was on the only company who could provide coverage for 90 percent of the county.

“With the discrepancy in bids from $486,117 to $986,120, we did investigate fully to make sure that their bid was good , when you have a bid that much lower sometimes it raises red flags,” County Administrator Jason Taylor said. “We checked with a number of people, checked with the State, everything came back positive on Fleet Talk-Rock Communications.”

County To Grade Its Own

Upon recommendation of the Administration and Finance Committee, Council approved a plan to implement a site readiness program, in which the County would purchase land clearing equipment and use it to clear trees from its industrial sites in three harvests (2017, 2019 and 2022). According to Taylor, the three harvests will net the town $363,900.

“By grading our own sites, the County can reduce costs over time and offer more attractive product to market to prospective industries,” Taylor old Council.

“I’d just like to say, I don’t know who came up with this idea out of the administration and economic development departments, but I think it’s a fantastic way for us to save money and make use of resources we already have,” Council Chairman Billy Smith said.

Sediment Study Initiated

After a request from the Lake Wateree Homeowner’s Association, Council agreed to pay $3,000 of a $4,000 hydrology study to determine the inflow of sediment to the lake. The County will get a final report after the study is concluded.