Council briefed on Courthouse plans
By Bobby Bryant, Editor
During the June 7 meeting of Darlington County Council, County Administrator Charles Stewart briefed council on plans for building a new Courthouse – for judicial business only – a block from the existing Courthouse, which will continue to stand and will be used for county business. “We are set at this time, if nothing fails, to put the Courthouse construction out for bid next Tuesday, June 15,” Stewart said. “Two weeks later, we have planned at this point a mandatory bid meeting, which anybody who wants to bid on the construction – a general contractor for the Courthouse facility – will be required to meet on June 29.” “Two weeks later, any questions they may have about the bid documents would be due, and that would be July 13. One week later, on July 20, our architect/engineers would respond to those questions. … On July 27, the final bid would be due. We would then allow Michael Baker (International), which is the hired engineering/contracting firm, to review those bids, and they would make a recommendation to us, in writing, by close of business Aug. 3.” Council meets Aug. 9 for its regular meeting. County officials aim to present to council a final contract at that meeting. “They estimate it will take two to three weeks to execute the contract, once it’s approved … and the contract will call for a 16-month construction period,” Stewart said. That means officials could expect to have employees working in the building by early 2023. In other business, council OK’d a resolution asking the Legislature to ignore the results of what Stewart called a “hyper-accurate” recent survey of Florence/Darlington county lines, and to keep using the same maps officials have been using for years. Stewart indicated there were only relatively small differences between the two, but said adopting the new survey would mean “moving” some people from Darlington to Florence and others from Florence to Darlington. Council also gave final approval to the county’s budget for next fiscal year. Stewart said it essentially holds the line. He said there are no tax increases from the county and no across-the-board raises.