County Council approves $4 million bequest

S.C. Firefighters Association executive director Kyle Minick, author Carter Jones, DCFD Chief Ricky Flowers, Darlington County Library System director Jimmie Epling. Photo by Samantha Lyles

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer,

At Darlington County Council’s Feb. 4 regular meeting, members voted unanimously to accept and secure a generous gift left in their care. Council approved receipt of a $4 million bequest from the late Carolyn “Bet” Norment Phillips, which she set aside for the Darlington County Historical Commission.

“The estate bequeath was specific that we establish a Darlington County Museum, and that the residual funds after that’s created would go to the care and maintenance of that facility,” explained Brian Gandy, Darlington County Historical Commission director. “Now that the vote is official, we’ll pick up some speed and as we progress along the way, we’ll bring reports as to where we’re at and what’s going on.”

In other matters, council approved using $1.5 million in unassigned fund balance for replacement of county fleet vehicles, entered into a contract with Enterprise Fleet Management for lease and maintenance of county vehicles, and approved $54,432 for the purchase of seven thermal imaging cameras for the Fire District.

Council approved a request for the Landfill and Recycling/Solid Waste Collection Centers around the county to close at 4:30 p.m. March 2.

Also at this meeting, the Darlington County Library System was presented with four copies of “A Legacy That Lives On,” which explores the history of the fire service in South Carolina. Author Carter Jones was on hand to personally gift the books. Joining him for the presentation were Kyle Minick, executive director of the S.C. Firefighters Association, and Chief Ricky Flowers, Darlington County Fire District.

“Darlington County has been blessed with a rich history in the fire service. We’re home to one of the oldest community fire departments – the Lydia station – in the state, and we have numerous officers who began their careers with us who’ve moved on to leadership roles with other departments,” said Flowers.

Flowers noted that local firefighters like Hartsville’s Chief C.E. Denny were instrumental in establishing the South Carolina State Fire Academy. He observed that Denny and another Hartsville chief, Tommy Livingston, also served as presidents of the S.C. Firefighters Association, and added that former Darlington Fire Department Chief Jim Stone served his community for over 50 years.

Copies of “A Legacy That Lives On” will be indexed at each of the Darlington County libraries in Darlington, Hartsville, Lamar and Society Hill.

County administrator Charles Stewart presented council with the FY 2018 audit and noted that the county’s net positions in enterprise funds and fund balance are all “in better shape and continue to show improvement.” The audit is available for download in .pdf format from the county’s website:

As budget season approaches, Darlington County Council has scheduled its first budget work session for Feb. 18 at 10 a.m. in the Darlington Raceway Media Center. Work sessions are open to the public. No votes are taken, and proceedings are for discussion only.

Author: Rachel Howell

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