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SWRTA asks for additional funding

Posted: January 26, 2012 2:53 p.m.
Updated: January 27, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Ann August of the Santee Wateree Regional Transit Authority (SWRTA) presented Kershaw County Council with a request for additional funding during a public presentation at Tuesday’s council meeting.

August said the SWRTA has been operating in the county since 1978 without needing additional funds, but that budget cuts and restructuring on the state and federal level have led to the need for added resources.

“In order for the SWRTA to continue providing services at the level we are currently providing to you, we require additional local funding,” August said. “Without additional local funding and financial support, the SWRTA is unable to access available federal and state funds to cover the cost of its transportation operation in Kershaw County.”

To receive funds from the federal and state governments, the agency must receive matching money from local entities. The SWRTA provides express commuter services and Medicaid transportation in Calhoun, Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee, Orangeburg and Sumter counties.

August said grant and residual funds from the S.C. Department of Transportation and the county’s Medicaid contract have typically covered the cost of operations in place of local funds, but that such support has been reduced.

“We are going to all of the counties and all of the cities within those counties asking them for support. We haven’t had to do that because we have had the money to do it. We do not have the money now, but we do not want to cut the services to the people,” she said.

Council took no action on the request at Tuesday’s meeting.

Council did vote unanimously to approve first reading of an ordinance rezoning property on Smyrna Road in Elgin from R-15 (residential zoning) to RD-2 (rural zoning for rural commercial use). County Planning and Zoning Department Director John Newman said he recommended approving the rezoning and that his office received no comments for or against the change.

Council also unanimously voted to pass a resolution in support of creating a proposed Southern Campaign of the Revolution National Heritage Area.

Council Chairman Gene Wise said the county is working to gain recognition for the fact that part of the Southern Campaign came through Kershaw County. He said the resolution indicates county support for promoting that designation and that county officials are eager to develop public and private partnerships in education, recreation, and tourism through the designation.

Camden City Council passed a similar resolution at its meeting Tuesday morning.

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