Local Government

Council approves increased solid waste fee; residents respond

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The regularly scheduled meeting of the Clarendon County Council opened with the normal formalities, which were quickly followed by the impassioned shouting of Robert McFadden, a seemingly concerned citizen. 

For a brief moment, County Council Chairman Dwight Stewart and Robert McFadden talked over each other while McFadden brought up points opposing a recent ordinance, and Stewart asking McFadden to wait until it was the appropriate time for him to address the council. 

Once this was settled council continued as scheduled, eventually arriving at the ordinance in question. 

Ordinance 2021-03, which heard its third and final reading on Monday night, is as follows:

“2021-03 an Ordinance TO ADOPT, CHARGE AND COLLECT A SERVICE OR USER FEE FOR DISPOSAL OF RESIDENTIAL SOLID WASTE FOR CLARENDON COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA AND OTHER MATTERS RELATED THERETO.

Basically, what this ordinance does is add an additional $60 fee to resident owners in Clarendon County for matters relating to solid waste disposal. Needless to say, McFadden and other citizens were not very happy about it. 

Several citizens took the stand to ask questions about the ordinance. One of the biggest was “why?”

Council recently were awarded a $6.5 million grant, according to our sources, which made the attendees of the meeting wonder why they would increase fees. They also took issue with the timing. 

At a time when people are struggling with a global pandemic, these citizens are wondering if a larger bill is the right move. 

Mayor Julia Nelson released the following letter to County Council on behalf of The City of Manning:

“Dear Mr. Stewart:

Manning City Council is aware that Clarendon County is considering adoption of Ordinance #2021-03 which would create a $50.00 user fee for collection and disposal of solid waste on all residential properties in Clarendon County including those within the City of Manning municipal limits. 

On behalf of our residents, and as members of City Council- we strongly oppose Ordinance #2021-03, and formally request that County Council not proceed with the adoption of this ordinance. Passage would create an additional financial hardship to our citizens of which many are already burdened by the on-going difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We feel that the County should explore other options to efficiently reduce the amount and cost of disposing of solid waste other than increased fees on the residents of Clarendon County and the City of Manning. If the Council should still decide to proceed with this ordinance, we respectfully request for the fee to be lowered considerably and postpone the implementation until FY 2023. This will allow all citizens more time to financially recover from the negative impact of COVID-19 and prepare for the additional financial burden. 

Thank you in advance for your careful consideration of this request.”

As for the ordinance, it received it’s third and final reading, and was approved by council. Stewart’s response to the majority of the concerned citizens was that there was nothing further to be done. 

“That ordinance had it’s public hearing at last months meeting, any discussion will have to take place after this meeting,” said Stewart to one speaker. 

For more information, contact Clarendon County Administration at 803-435-0135 or info@clarendoncountygov.org.

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