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Edgefield County Council Chairman’s Update

September 5, 2013

It’s time to update you on several issues I think you’ll find interesting.

Tax Increment Finance District: Why did County Council support it on First Reading?
At the meeting Tuesday, County Council approved first reading of an ordinance for the County’s participation in the Town of Edgefield’s Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District.

A TIF is simply a method to carve out an area, in this case part of downtown Edgefield plus other properties around downtown, to focus existing money on improvement. The TIF allows the Town of Edgefield to collect “incremental” tax monies for 15 years and apply them to the list of projects they established. It does not create a new tax nor does it lower taxes.

The “cost” to the County is that we will not receive an estimated $11,000 each year for 15 years. (Out of the County’s $9 million budget, it’s a tiny amount.) Our investment of future funding is minimal; most of the risk is taken on by the Town. However, the payback can be substantial. The Town of Edgefield can use the money to improve only public areas, but private investors and non-profit organizations are expected to improve properties as well.

In all, the County has a chance to ultimately collect far more in the future than the small tax money we will sacrifice for the short-term.

I applaud the Town of Edgefield for finding a mechanism to improve the Town, which can only help the County. We’ll take up second reading at a called meeting in September, then final reading and public hearing at our October 1 meeting. (Vice Chair Genia Blackwell asked Council to provide more opportunities to hear from the citizens on this issue, so we changed the 1-reading resolution to a 3-reading ordinance that includes the public hearing.)

Let your Council member know what you think!

Rezoning four parcels of land on Hwy. 121
Also at the meeting, the County Council approved the first of three readings to change zoning on four parcels of land on Hwy. 121 from General-Agricultural Development to Industrial Development. The landowners requested the change, and the Planning Commission approved the change, which is why we are taking it up.

You should know that the land involved sits right across from a small industry and the land also backs up to an Industrial Development zone. Also, the General Development designation already allows some industrial development; the change to Industrial Development will open it to additional development.

I believe it’s important to make this change because these parcels sit next to a railroad, which is a key factor in many industries looking for sites.

Also, the Council passed a Land Development Ordinance earlier this year as an added layer of protection to citizens across the County. It has additional restrictions on how development can occur. The County also has other ordinances designed to protect citizens. Plus, state law and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control regulate any industry that may choose to locate there.

Elevating Edgefield County: A Summit coming Sept. 20
As announced at our August and September County Council meetings, we are having a Summit on Sept. 20 called Elevating Edgefield County. The purpose of the Summit is gather together everyone interested in improving Edgefield County – citizens, stakeholders, elected and appointed officials, and anyone interested – to determine how to continue to move our County forward. It will be held at Piedmont Technical College in Edgefield, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

I encourage everyone interested to attend and provide your input. This is your County.

Update on the Animal Shelter Project
On August 27, the County Council held a called workshop to take a tour of six potential locations for the Edgefield County Animal Shelter. At this past Tuesday’s meeting we discussed the six sites, which are:

1. Highway 378 landfill location
2. Old “Chain Gang” Location on Highway 25 North
3. Manor House Highway 25 North
4. County property located on Simmons Road
5. County property adjacent to EMS building on Star Road
6. County Shop on Weaver Road

During the discussion, the Council determined that the County Shop site off Weaver Road would probably be the best fit. However, we did discuss the Simmons Road site as a potential second choice. Now, the Administrator will get some soil testing done, and then we plan to make a final decision at our October meeting. If you have any input, we’d like to hear it before the meeting or during the public comment section before the vote.

We need this facility in Edgefield County, and I’m pleased we’re almost there.

Until next time,

Dean Campbell