Edgefield County Council Chairman’s Update

October 15, 1012
Industrial Development Announcements: Edgefield County Growing!
Edgefield County has had two industrial announcements this year by companies that have been in the county for many years, US Fibers and Bondex. Bondex, the most recent announcement, has been in Edgefield County since 1997. (US Fibers announced their expansion earlier this year.) Bondex plans to invest $ 6.4 million and create 13 new full time jobs. We are very proud of our existing industrial companies, and we know that 85 percent of all new capital investment and job announcements come from these existing companies.

In another announcement I am sure you have seen reported: Enova Energy Group says it will build a plant along Hwy. 121 between Trenton and Johnston. Our economic development group, The Economic Development Partnership (EDP), has met with representatives of this company in the past. But the company initiated this announcement themselves and, according to EDP, this announcement was very premature as the company must first purchase land, secure building permits, have the plant approved by DHEC and address other items that are typically done prior to an announcement being done in conjunction with the State of South Carolina and Edgefield County.  We hope to learn more, and we certainly wish them good luck as their investment and jobs would be welcomed in Edgefield County.

The $12 million of new investment and 61 new jobs that have been announced so far this year (Bondex and U.S. Fibers) are one of the best years Edgefield County has had in the last 5-6 years. If Enova does come to fruition, it would mean that 2012 would be the best year that Edgefield County has had in at least 20-plus years.

Economic Development doesn’t happen by accident; it involves a lot of work. I appreciate the work by The Economic Development Partnership, County Staff and County Council.

It’s Time to Update the Edgefield County Strategic Plan
The Edgefield County Strategic Plan was adopted by the County Council in March. We said that after about 6 months or so, we’d like to update it. That update is scheduled for November 1, 6 p.m., County Council Chambers in Edgefield.
We invite anyone who wants to attend to come to this meeting. While it is billed as a meeting of the Steering Committee, anyone can and should provide input. The Steering Committee is composed of about 30 people from across the County.
What kind of input are we looking for?
First, we have already completed some parts of the plan. (Go to the Edgefield County website to learn about them.) Other elements in the plan have been investigated and are not practical to pursue at this time. (All of these will be discussed at the meeting!) So, we need to ensure we continue to add or delete items from the plan so we stay current and on track with what citizens want.
If you’d like more information, please let me know. I urge you to attend!
Land and Building Being Donated to the County
At the request of Ambassador and Mrs. Cooper, the Sweetwater Community has offered to donate approximately 4 acres of property along with the Sweetwater Community Center building located on the property on Sweetwater Road near Cooper Place subdivision. County Council voted to have an environmental study conducted on the building and land, prior to acceptance in order to ensure due diligence. Council will take it up at the next meeting.
This land could be used for a future fire department. It’s a wonderful gift and opportunity for our County!
Are Your Taxes Going Up?
In a word, no.
At our Council meeting earlier this month, we received a report from Edgefield County Auditor Bill Gilchrist. There was a slight increase in the value of a mill from $71,142 to $71,929, but the millage rate did not change. That’s a positive for our County.
Preparing for growth
At our meeting earlier this month, Council gave second reading to a Highway Access Plan. This Plan is meant to establish standards for the number, location, design, construction, and maintenance of driveways, acceleration/deceleration lanes, and inter-parcel connections in Edgefield County in order to improve highway safety in the County. This new “access management” will only apply to new developments and renovations or expansions that exceed 50 percent of the appraised value of the development.
The plan was approved by the Planning Commission, and they recommended it to County Council for our approval.
I believe this plan is a good step toward making roadways safer by reducing the number of driveways onto main roads. If you’d like more information, I encourage you to go to the County’s website to read about it, call the Administrator or call your Council member.
Update on the ‘Give Food’ Project
Funds are still coming in for this year’s Chairman’s Charity Project: Give Food. If you’d like to participate, please send your donation to the Johnston Food Bank now!
With the growing need for food among low income residents in Edgefield County, the Give Food Project is one in which everyone can make a huge difference.
About 64 percent of the Food Bank’s clients are from Johnston, with 23 percent from Edgefield, 10 percent from Trenton, and about 3 percent from North Augusta or Modoc.
The statistics show the need for food is going up in Edgefield County. In 2010, the Food Bank served an average of 116 families per month. That figure jumped in 2011 to an average of 148 families per month. So far in 2012, the average has risen to 171 families per month.
Monetary donations can be mailed directly to the Johnston Food Bank c/o Deborah Henderson, 97 Weaver Rd., Johnston. Citizens can drop food off at the Food Bank, 505 Academy St., Johnston. (Where the old Mobley Library used to be located.) Anyone planning to drop off food should call Deborah at 275-1953 or 480-0678 before doing so.
So far, more than $1,400 has been raised! That’s awesome, and it goes to an excellent cause. Keep in mind, the Johnston Food Bank can buy about $5 worth of food for each $1 donated, so the donations so far are like giving them more than $7,000 to spend!
‘Coffee with the Chairman’ set for October 30
My next “Coffee with the Chairman” is set for Tuesday, October 30, 6:30-7:30 a.m., at Ten Governor’s in Edgefield. I’m there to talk with folks who get up earlier and/or can’t make an evening meeting. No formal agenda is planned, so come on down to drink a little coffee and tell me what’s on your mind!
Hope to see you there!
Until next time,
Dean Campbell