County Council holds special called meeting
by Laura Stone | July 7, 2018 6:49 am
Last Updated: July 7, 2018 at 10:33 am
Clarendon County Council called a Special Meeting on the morning of June 28. At the regular Council meeting on June 11, approval of the Clarendon County School District One budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, was tabled for lack of solid budget numbers.
According to Clarendon County Administrator David Epperson, final numbers have been received from Superintendent Barbara Champagne. A millage increase was not requested, and their total amount of expenditures was $7,964,224. The board voted to approve the budget.
The Council next held a public hearing for Ordinance 2018-04 which authorizes the issuance and sale of a water-system improvement bond. The bond would not exceed $2,248,000 and would defray the cost of improvements to the county’s water system.
Epperson stated this bond relates to the Phase II USDA project. Clarendon County received a $2.5M loan from the USDA in 2013, along with a grant of $1.4M for waterline expansion south of Davis Station, down Rickenbaker Road and over to the White Oak Drive area.
In 2015, the USDA notified Clarendon County that additional funds were available for the project. Based on the overwhelming request from citizens for water in the area, the County requested the additional funds from the USDA. The ordinance is to allow the county to borrow the $2.248M to move forward with the project, now that the design phase is completed. This expansion will service over 550 homes previously on well water.
“It’s going to saturate a good portion of that area of the county,” said Epperson.
The Council discussed the intended area of new service as well as financial considerations regarding repayment of the loans based on revenues generated by the waterlines. Epperson also assured the Council the lines were going to areas where there would be constant usage, which would alleviate maintenance costs from lack of use.
Councilman Benton Blakely raised concerns regarding when water will come to the Turbeville areas of the county. Discussion ensued about the viability of asking Williamsburg County or Sumter County to offer water service to certain areas of the county, as these would be the closest water sources available to the areas.
“The ultimate goal is to have the county saturated with water, regardless of who’s doing it,” said Epperson. “We’re always looking at ways to think outside the box, because our resources are limited. There are some things we can’t do, but if there is someone else who wants to do it, we’re more than willing to speak with them.”
The public hearing closed, and the ordinance was read the third and final time. The Council voted to approve the purchase of the revenue bond, and the meeting was subsequently adjourned.