Jenkinsville will not appeal annexation vote

JENKINSVILLE – Jenkinsville will remain the same size for now.

The Fairfield County town had until noon Monday to appeal results from the June 5 referendum to the state, but an appeal was never filed, said Chris Whitmire, spokesman for the S.C. Election Commission.

“The SEC has not received any appeals related to Fairfield/Jenkinsville annexation election,” Whitmire said via email, three hours after the deadline.

If Jenkinsville attempts another annexation vote, state law mandates the town will have to wait another two years, said Debby Stidham, the county’s director of voter registration and election.

“When an annexation election is defeated either by the voters inside the municipality concerned or within the territory proposed to be annexed, or both, another annexation election within the territory proposed to be annexed shall not be initiated within a period of twenty-four months from the date upon which the voting took place,” the law reads.

The Jenkinsville annexation effort sought to absorb 143 properties into the town limits. Had the vote succeeded and accepted by town leaders, it would’ve quadrupled the town’s geographic boundaries.

A prior review by The Voice of impacted properties found that the Jenkinsville tax base would’ve mushroomed by a factor of five.

Jenkinsville Mayor Gregrey Ginyard previously has said annexation wasn’t a money grab. He said annexation was necessary to attract businesses and spur economic development.

Speaking during public input at the Fairfield County Council meeting on Monday, Fairfield County resident Jeff Schafer credited Councilwoman Bertha Goins with helping to defeat annexation.

“You saved the county and town grief with annexing of Jenkinsville,” Schafer said.

Goins spoke openly against the annexation vote at a council meeting in May, and urged voters to defeat it.

In the end, that’s what happened. Voters rejected the annexation measure by a 19-15 vote. One ballot against annexation was thrown out because a voter who lived outside the proposed annexation area voted when she shouldn’t have.

Jenkinsville filed a protest of the election results, triggering a county election commission hearing on June 18. Commissioners, however, upheld the referendum results.

Lawyers for the town argued several additional properties should’ve been excluded because contiguity was broken when one voter decided to opt out of annexation.

But commissioners noted that an “opt out” letter from the voter was never sent to the Jenkinsville town clerk.