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County council approves Fiscal Year 2017 goals
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During a brief, 20-minute meeting Tuesday, Kershaw County Council unanimously approved a list of Fiscal Year 2016-17 short- and long-term goals members and staff hammered out a Jan. 29-30 retreat. Council voted 5-0 with Councilman Sammie Tucker Jr. absent and the District 1 seat vacant until a special election set for March 29.

Council further split Short term, or “Do Now,” goals into high, medium and low priority. According to a copy of the Tuesday’s agenda provided to the media, the goals are as follows:

Short Term, High Priority

• Execute the county’s economic development infrastructure improvements plan.

• Restore the county’s Capital Fund to levels necessary to fund capital needs for county building and equipment, including fire, sheriff, EMS and public works needs and American Disabilities Act compliance.

• Improve employee recruitment and retention, with an eye on developing a plan which defines and addresses areas of critical importance, with a focus on public safety needs.

• Activate VisionKershaw 2030.

• Review fire service and define needs, especially in Blaney, Shepard and Westville, by conducting a study with alternatives defined and costs associated, with each clearly spelled out.

• Create, complete and adopt a county-wide transportation plan incorporating existing studies and efforts in order to create a true listing of needs and opportunities.

• Address the solid waste deficit, including long term solutions for hauling and improving the county’s recycling center services, looking at expanded services, more attractive facilities and increased number of locations.

Short Term, Medium Priority

• Establish a needs, staffing and facilities vision for EMS utilizing a data-based model.

• Start work on the next phase of county’s portion of the Central Carolina Technical College campus at I-20 Exit 98 and begin the planning process necessary for future growth.

• Adopt a new 10-year comprehensive plan.

• Continue executing recovery efforts from the historic Oct. 2015 flood event.

• Increase STEM resources in the Kershaw County School District through industry partnerships.

• Continue to work with private and public partners in order to reach a comprehensive and final agreement for regional and county-wide wastewater service.

• Explore and exploit “green space” opportunities, utilizing public-private partnerships.

Short Term, Low Priority

• Develop a plan to leverage public-private partnerships to increase economic development.

• Finish renovations to the Kershaw County Detention Center.

• Complete Kershaw County Recreation Department projects.

• Identify resources for grant development and administration.

• Continue development of a county-owned firing range for public safety agencies.

Long Term (“Do Later”) Goals

• Research the feasibility of implementing electronic monitoring and home detention programs.

• Commission additional research and planning on demographic and development impacts within the county, with a focus on financial impact of housing and buildings on public service entities.

• Explore options with state and federal partners for the preservation and utilization of the Battle of Camden site on Flat Rock Road.

• Make Woodward Airfield (county airport) a viable economic development tool.

• Update the county’s recreation plan to include additional modes of recreation (i.e., “splash pads”).

• Conduct long-term facility planning for future courthouse needs.

• Study options for repurposing county property.

• Follow through on county role for Kershaw Health District facilities/properties not transferred with KershawHealth to Capella/MUSC (Karesh Long-Term Care, old Burndale Shopping Center, old Pine Tree Hill Elementary School and Health Resource Center).

• Review, and update as necessary, the county’s zoning and signage regulations with an eye at streamlining and standardizing enforcement while encouraging growth which is economically sustainable.

• Address derelict and blighted housing and buildings through a review of existing regulations and propose possible solutions for council’s consideration.

In other business, council voted unanimously to approve:

• third and final reading of an ordinance rezoning property on U.S. 1 in Cassatt in order to allow for the construction of a Family Dollar store;

• a policy by which council chambers will not be used by non-governmental entities without express permission of council after normal business hours -- the county administrator can approve such use during business hours as long it does not create a disturbance to county operations and “is compatible with the values and mores of the county;” and

• a low bid award to Charter Elevator Carolina LLC of Surfside Beach for $48,230 to modernize the elevator inside the Kershaw County Courthouse.

County Administrator Vic Carpenter said the elevator will not be replaced, but refurbished.

Also Tuesday, Councilman C.R. Miles Jr., who holds the District 3 seat, announced he would not run for reelection this year in order to focus on other endeavors. His fellow councilman thanked him for his service and said they looked forward to working with him during the remainder of the year. Councilman Jimmy Jones, of District 4, added he would be running again, in 2019.

Jones also gave the rest of council a “heads up” he plans to introduce a draft policy at council’s next meeting  on March 8 in regards to vetting people who try to collect money at the county’s intersections. He and Councilman Dennis Arledge said they have received phone calls from citizens complaining of the practice, concerned those asking for money are merely panhandlers. Jones said the policy would be an attempt to ensure such requests are being made by people working for charitable organizations.

During his administrator’s briefing, Carpenter announced Johnnie Burriss recently received the EMT of the Year award from Camden Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5928. He said the post honored Burriss -- who was unable to attend due to being hospitalized -- for his “29 years of unselfish service.”

“Johnnie not only works as a paramedic with us, but also ensured that the future of EMS stays secure by being a lead EMT instructor at Central Carolina Tech in Sumter for over 15 years,” Carpenter read from an email by Kershaw County Deputy Director of EMS Gerald Blanchard. “He has worked extensively with the city of Camden Fire Department to train their employees to first responder level as well as the volunteers with our county’s departments. Johnny also volunteers each year around Christmas to don the ‘red suit’ and play Santa to the kids of Kershaw County. Johnnie exemplifies the best our team has to offer.”

Carpenter also announced the county will honor former Council Chairman Steve Kelly Jr. for his 32 years of service to the county during council’s next meeting. As was done for former Chairman Austin Sheheen Jr. in January, the county will install a portrait of Kelly in council chambers.

Finally, Carpenter said the first budget workshop for the Fiscal Year 2017 budget will be held at 4:30 p.m. March 17 at the Kershaw County Economic Development Office.