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Council honors CMCKC

Posted: December 3, 2018 5:07 p.m.
Updated: December 4, 2018 1:00 a.m.
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Kershaw County Council honored the Community Medical Clinic of Kershaw County with a proclamation recognizing its 20th anniversary and service to the community. Pictured ( front, from left) are Councilman Sammy Tucker Jr., Susan Didato, April Wach, Sherri Baytes, Torril Nelson, KCC Chair Julian Burns, CMCKC CEO Susan Witkowski, Kathryn Johnson, Holly Hayes, (back from left) councilmen Dennis Arledge, Tom Gardner, Al Bozard, Ben Connell and Jimmy Jones.

Kershaw County Council recognized the Kershaw County Community Medical Clinic (CMCKC) for 20 years of service to the community.

The clinic celebrated its 20th anniversary Friday. In honor of that anniversary, area government bodies, including county council, passed proclamations honoring the clinic and its 20 years of providing medical services to Kershaw County’s lower income population.

In addition, CMCKC has partnered with other organizations to launch wellness and prevention initiatives.

Council thanked those involved with the clinic, pointing out the valuable services rendered and noting the clinic’s expansion of services throughout the years.

Council Chair Julian Burns noted the important contribution to the success of Kershaw County’s application to be named an All-America City and pointed out that CMCKC is far more than just a free clinic.

“I simply cannot say enough good things about them. They are leading the charge in making Kershaw County the healthiest county in South Carolina,” Burns said.

“I just want to thank everyone for what you do every day -- what you do for the people of Kershaw County is priceless,” Councilman Sammy Tucker Jr. noted.

“You are a shining example of what all free clinics should be like,” Councilman Jimmy Jones said.

The clinic, which started in 1998, originally worked out of a 600 square foot space in the United Way building. It would move into its present location in 2005. It has transformed from one office seeing several patients a week to a medical delivery system that not only has a fully operational and fully staffed medical facility but a number of satellite offices throughout Kershaw County. The clinic is also one of three free medical clinics in the United States that operates a school based health center, which provides medical services and mental health counseling services.

CMCKC CEO Susan Witkowski thanked council for its support over the years.

“You have been with us from the very beginning,” Witkowski said. “In fact, the building we are in now is because of you, your support.”

Council unanimously passed the proclamation.

Other business

• Council received an audit report on the county’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget from Marc Wood, a certified public accountant with Camden CPA firm Sheheen, Hancock & Godwin. The audit issued an unmodified opinion, which is the highest rating the firm can issue.

• Council passed second reading of an ordinance allowing for the sale and issuance of up to $6.5 million in general obligation bonds. The funds generated from the bonds will go toward infrastructure improvement projects in the county’s sewer system. Specifically, three pump stations in the Elgin area need work. Elgin 1, 2 and 3 all are reaching maximum capacity; Elgin 1 and 2 need to be replaced completely, according to County Administrator Vic Carpenter. In addition, Elgin 1 will be equipped with a new odor control system similar to what is in place in the other two pump stations. Finally, all of the stations need increased capacity to help handle growth in that part of the county. The total cost for these upgrades is estimated at a little more than $6.1 million, Carpenter said. The revenue generated from the bonds to be issued will be used to pay for these upgrades, the debt service will be paid from Fee-In-Lieu-of-Tax funds, which means there will be no impact on the county’s millage in any way, nor will there be any fee increases associated with this, Carpenter said.

• Council will passed second reading of an ordinance amending the intergovernmental agreement between the county and Central Carolina Technical College regarding use and maintenance of the facilities at the Kershaw County CCTC campus. This amended agreement allows CCTC to sublease space formerly occupied by the Kershaw County Economic Development Office to the Greater Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce.

• Council passed second reading of an ordinance re-designating The ALPHA Center Behavioral Health Center as Kershaw County’s designated alcohol and drug abuse counseling and therapy agency.

• Council, on a motion from Tucker, voted to remove restrictions placed on $250,000 council had funded for The ALPHA Center in the 2019 budget.

The vote followed a discussion that at times bordered on being heated.

The $250,000 was allocated to help The ALPHA Center fund its new treatment facility, which was originally planned for a site on Ehrenclou Drive. At the time, council had agreed to fund the center’s request but required that The ALPHA Center reach its fundraising goals for the center by July 2020.

Tucker, in introducing his motion, pointed out that he was not present at the meeting during which council passed these conditions.

“I have some heartache over putting these requirements on this group,” Tucker said. “You have not put any such conditions on any other group that came to us asking for money, nor am I aware that we have ever done that.”

Burns and Connell both voiced concerns about the project, the funds available, and the viability of the plans. However, ALPHA Center Executive Director Paul Napper assured council that, not only would the organization build the facility on time, but that the funds are available.

“Where I come from, a man is only as good as his word, and I give you my word this building will be built,” Napper said.

Council voted 4-2 to rescind the restrictions, with Councilmen Dennis Arledge, Al Bozard, Tom Gardner and Tucker voting in favor and Burns and Connell voting against the motion. Jones recused himself from discussion and vote due to the fact that his wife is the assistant director of The ALPHA Center.

• Council approved the 2019 meeting schedule.

Kershaw County Council meets next at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018.

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