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Letter: Was land purchase a mistake?

Posted: December 14, 2017 4:09 p.m.
Updated: December 15, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Kershaw County property details are a matter of public record. One can go online and find a lot of interesting facts. In the matter of the proposed purchase by Kershaw County Council of the 35.23 acres in district 277F, parcel Number 283-00-00-016, bordering U.S. 1 north of the Wateree River bridge, I am inclined to believe that a clerical error may have been made in an entry of selling price several years ago that has been brought forward under normal process and that entry may have clouded or confused the issue. 

Thus, the need for this letter and an attempt for an alternative outcome.

Even though that property has not flooded in the past four to five years, it is bottom land and has flooded thousands of times in the past and will again when rain patterns over South Carolina return to normal. Improvements to that property would require monthly maintenance and/or total replacement, thus requiring even more of county time and treasure. 

 This writer does not doubt Kershaw County Council’s sincere plans for that property and I am sure some recreational value would be attached. However, there is no detail as to future costs of said activity and maintenance. There was no suggestion as to how many Kershaw County citizens might be served or how many visitors and tourists would use said facilities, but the purchase price quoted in the newspaper must have been in error and I am sure council will want to reconsider, or just lease the property for a few years, to prove if their recreational idea is worthy of further county expenditures.

According to Kershaw County records, effective 2017, said property, 35.23 acres is appraised at only $10,800 total, with taxes paid in 2010 of $137.99, to $146.63 paid in 2016.  The proposed price quoted in the newspaper of more than $425,000 suggests a total purchase price 40 times greater than its appraised value. At this point, may I challenge the readers to review the details of this issue themselves and comment here or to contact their county council representative.  

Even though our national and some state agencies require an inspector general to review proposed transactions and offer advise and consent findings, as well as reporting to congress, our local elected representatives on boards and councils perform that job for us; without the need for additional oversight, because they live here, have homes, family and businesses that they would never put in jeopardy. I am sure there is a simple explanation to what has been reported and that transparency will always prevail at the local level. We all look forward to learning more about this issue.

We thank our boards and councils for their unselfish sacrifice and dedication to the betterment of the citizens of Kershaw County.

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