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County council approves FILOT, comprehensive plan

Posted: April 5, 2018 4:54 p.m.
Updated: April 6, 2018 1:00 a.m.
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Kershaw County Council gave third reading and final approval for a fee in lieu of taxes (FILOT) agreement between Camfor Southern Pine, Inc. and the county during its March 27 meeting.

The FILOT is a five-year fee agreement between the county and Canfor, which is planning an expansion. The company agrees to a minimum investment of $35 million over five years with an assessment ratio of 6 percent and a fixed millage rate of 324.4 mills over 30 years.

During the public hearing on the FILOT, Camfor officials thanked council and noted that the investment is actually going to be around $40 million.

Council also held a public hearing and passed third and final reading of the updated comprehensive plan, which governs growth, development, zoning guidelines and other such issues and must by law be updated every ten years. By law, the plan must be updated every ten years.

Councilman Jimmy Jones noted that the plan has actually incorporated some revisions that have made some of the ordinances, such as the sign ordinance, a little less burdensome for businesses, and thanked staff for answering his questions and addressing his concerns.

“Anything we can do to be less onerous to our businesses and to the public we should do,” he said.

Council also passed second reading of an ordinance re-establishing the Clean Community Commission, which in the past did a number of important beautification projects around the county,

While a couple of citizens, including Jim Steele and Tom Webb, voiced concerns about potential government overreach regarding the commission, council and staff both noted that the commission has no enforcement authority over private property matters, nor does it concern itself with anything related to private property but only works with public lands and properties.

The new commission is being structured so that one member per council district and one member representing the municipalities in the county are appointed. Members will serve staggered terms.

The ordinance formally reestablishing the commission comes before council for public hearing and third and final reading during the April 10 meeting.

Council awarded a bid in the amount of $33,580 to Carolina Painting Company Inc., of Easley, S.C. for epoxy coatings to be applied to concrete flooring in lab rooms at the Central Carolina Technical College. This was the lowest of three bids.

Council heard an update on the Kershaw County Housing Authority (KCHA) from Donny Supplee, who reported that the authority received funds in the amount of $75,000 through the county’s state legislative delegation. The KCHA plans to use those funds to hire a full-time coordinator. Plans also call for the authority to work with the Columbia Housing Authority to secure affordable housing vouchers for veterans seeking affordable housing in Kershaw County.

Supplee also said the board would be seeking a new board member soon; ideally, the authority would like to appoint someone who has housing development experience and who is deeply engaged and committed to the mission of the organization. He also noted that currently, there are no minority members on the board.

At least one councilmember, Jones, pointed out that he would vote to appoint a candidate based on qualifications, not minority status.

Council also heard a brief report from PLAY Foundation Executive Director Laurey Carpenter regarding the county’s recent recognition as one of 20 finalists nationwide for a National Civic League All America City award.

Kershaw County Council meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 10 in council chambers in the County Government Center, 515 Walnut St., Camden. Meetings are open to the public.

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