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KCC reinstates funding to contribution agencies

Posted: July 11, 2013 4:56 p.m.
Updated: July 12, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Many of Kershaw County’s contribution agencies were able to rest easy after Tuesday’s Kershaw County Council meeting. After failing to pass as an amendment to the fiscal year 2013-14 budget during the third reading at the previous meeting, council passed an amendment reinstating funding to the county’s contribution agencies.”

Contribution agencies are, according to County Administrator Vic Carpenter, outside non-profits that the county sees value in.

Councilman Willie Mickle made a motion to amend the budget giving $15,000 to the ALPHA Center and $30,000 to the Camden First Community Development Corporation. The motion was seconded by Councilman C.R. Miles and passed unanimously with the exception of Councilman Sammie Tucker and Councilman Jimmy Jones recusing from the vote due to personal ties with the two agencies. Jones said that Clerk to Council Merri Seigler contacted the Ethics Commission, who said that he should recuse himself from the vote.

Jones then proposed another amendment which included funding for the United Way of Kershaw County, Sistercare, Food for the Soul, the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County and Mental Health America of Kershaw County. Jones said none of the funding amounts have increased from previous years aside from funding for the 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office ($60,000), and an increase for school resource officer funding ($10,000). 

“These agencies are an investment into our community,” Jones said. “The budget should have never been balanced without them.”

At council’s June 25 meeting, Jones and councilmen Willie Mickle and C.R. Miles voted against amending the budget to include these agencies. Though the third reading of the budget passed at that meeting, Council Vice Chairman Stephen Smoak said council is allowed to reconsider something from a previous meeting if they so choose.

Miles also made a motion to amend the budget to fund the county’s fire services with $88,000. Though the motion failed June 25 due to lack of a second, it passed with all in favor except Jones during Tuesday’s meeting.

Carpenter said the money to fund these agencies will come from millage. Carpenter said council will send the budget to County Auditor Robin Watkins who will then set the millage based this fall. If the millage does not cover the amount needed for funding, Carpenter said money will then be transferred from reserve funds.

 At Tuesday’s meeting, council also approved a first reading of an ordinance to amend Section 2-37 of the Kershaw County Procurement Code. The amendment stems from a recent purchase by the county of a more secure fence behind the county courthouse. Carpenter made the decision to install the fence on an emergency basis. Decisions made due to an emergency situation currently do not have to be brought before council before purchasing. The amendment would require council to be informed of any purchase of more than $25,000 with an explanation of the circumstance of each.

“All eight of us have a different opinion on what an emergency is,” Mickle said, however.

Second reading of the ordinance will be considered at council’s next meeting.

Council also approved official county holidays for Fiscal Year 2014, which started July 1. During council briefings Jones made a public apology to Scott Ziemke, a member and former chairman of the KershawHealth Board of Trustees.

In February, Jones criticized both the board and KershawHealth administrators. At the time, he said certain members of the board were “rubber stamping” administrators’ decisions and that they “have a ring through their nose and are lead to the trough to drink the water.” Of Ziemke, Jones said he disapproved of the way Ziemke had led the meeting and that he “obviously doesn’t know what he’s doing.”

Tuesday, Jones said the following: “I wanted to go back and also say that I want to publicly apologize to Scott Ziemke. Scott Ziemke is a very good man and his only mistake is that he followed the blind and had too much trust in his heart.”

Jones also brought up Camden Military Academy, saying he is proud of the school and the “significant economic impact” it has on the county.

“They’ve gone through quite a bit in the past couple of months. Our hearts have been with you,” Jones said. “I just wanted to say how sorry I am for what you folks have had to go through.”

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