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KCC approves upgrades to sewer system

Posted: February 24, 2011 4:27 p.m.
Updated: February 25, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Kershaw County Council unanimously gave first reading approval Tuesday night for a $3 million bond to pay for enhancements to the county sewer system.

While the move comes as a result of a need to strengthen the sewer service for Kawashima’s recently announced $9 million expansion, the improvements will also bolster the entire county sewer system, said Interim County Administrator Frank Broom.

 “We’re taking advantage of their opportunity, to create an opportunity to expand the county system,” Broom said.

The upgrades will result in far more extra capacity than Kawashima requires, he added.

“We will have additional capacity to sell … the fact that they are revenue bonds means that there is no requirement for additional taxation on property owners,” Broom said.

While the bond approved Tuesday will be paid for through the sewer revenue, it is not a revenue bond, said County Attorney Ken DuBose and a representative from the county’s bond counsel, attorney Lawrence Flynn. The $3 million bond is actually a general obligation bond.

Based on the collection of the revenue stream that will come in from Kawashima, said Flynn, there should definitely be money in place to avoid an increase in taxes.

The ordinance passed Thursday, according to Broom, requires council to create a sinking fund of $150,000 that will be available to pay principle and interest on the debt in the event that sewer service revenue isn’t sufficient. That line item will be reflected as a line item in the budget for fiscal year 2012.

Councilman Jimmy Jones, who has been a vocal critic of the county’s sewer upgrades, primarily for financially reasons, said this move has the potential to “take away the pressure from the limited customer base.” The system currently has approximately 1,400 customers, Jones said, primarily in the Lugoff area. He expressed his hope that council will revisit the sewer rates down the line.

Kawashima has been a great “corporate neighbor,” Jones said, and the bond is an effective way to enhance the system without increasing taxes.

“This is almost a no-brainer for us to move forward,” he said, “and to get where we need to be with our (sewer) system.”

Kawashima announced in August its plans for a $9 million investment expected to generate 50 new jobs over the next five years.

In other business:

• Council approved on a 5-2 split a vehicle-use policy for county-owned vehicles. Councilmen Sammie Tucker Jr. and C.R. Miles were opposed. They voiced their concerns during last week’s council work session about the part of the policy that prohibits employees from smoking in county-owned vehicles.

The adopted policy touches on items such as not driving vehicles home outside the county, marking all county vehicles so anyone who witnesses misuse can report it, and procedures for accidents.

• Council unanimously passed a proclamation designating March as Disabilities Awareness Month.

 

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