Council looking to buy 14-acres

WINNSBORO – The Fairfield County Council pushed forward with plans to purchase 14 acres for $60,000, after unanimously passing the proposed ordinance through its second reading. The 14 acres, located on Rockbridge Road, is proposed for a new fire-station if the ordinance passes third reading.

According to Council Chairman Billy Smith, the current owner of the property owed $60,000 in back-taxes, for an issue the owner said he was unaware of that caused him to owe rollback taxes. Instead of fighting the tax bill in court the owner decided to sell the land to the County for the amount owed in rollback taxes.

“Instead of going to court and fighting the county for the rollback taxes, the owner probably could have gone to court and won but they would have had to spend maybe $30,000 to an attorney to do it,” Councilman Jimmy Ray Douglas said. So the property owner decided to go with the county and give the 14 acres to rollback taxes.”

A new fire station in the Rockbridge Road area will drop the Insurance Service Office rating from ten to six according to Douglas. But Chairman Smith questioned whether there would be a net positive or negative effect on ISO ratings in the Dutchman Creek area if that area lost volunteers to the Rockbridge Road station.

“Obviously volunteers are always a problematic situation,” County Administrator Jason Taylor said. “We need to have more volunteers but if we dilute the volunteers it could have that negative impact that you’re saying that we want to avoid. So we’re trying to recruit new volunteers, as well as fill that position in there now with the Fire Marshall. We want to make sure we have volunteers to man all of our stations,” Taylor said.

The motion passed unanimously, 7-0, but the ordinance still has to pass a third and final reading.