Council hears year-end report and discusses ongoing projects
By Stephan Drew, Editor
Darlington County Council met on Monday, December 5th to discuss progress made countywide during the last 12 months and upcoming projects as well. Jackie Dubose, founder and Director of Jumping to New Heights, described to council that she has over 300 children signed up for her 2-fold program. One part offers jazz, tap, ballet, boxing and other lessons. The second part offers mentoring in accounting, economics, public speaking and other work-related skills. “Our programs provide an outlet in order to do something constructive,” Dubose stated. She mentioned that program participants take part in CleanUp Darlington and Darlington’s yearly National Night Out. She asked that the county help her organization as much as possible. Council Vice Chairman Le Flowers suggested the Darlington Parks and Recreation Department be consulted to assist her.
County Administrator Charles Stewart reported that bids had been accepted for repairs and other work needed on the Mozingo Building, located at 300 Russell Street. The building houses the local branch of S. C. Dept. of Social Services (SCDSS) and administers such programs as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Assistance for Needy Families and child support services. Roofing and other surface work is required on the facility. However, Stewart advised acceptance of the lowest bid, because the repairs were not quite as extensive and will not be as costly as originally estimated.
In other business, Council also approved the acceptance of the offer from the S.C. Office of Resilience (SCOR) for the Land Buyout Program. This program, working through Community Block Grants, will supply $8,643,667 in funds to purchase the property of those in Darlington County who have experience damage from severe floodwaters. There will be 2 public meetings with those who have been accepted and approved to take part in this program. Both meetings will be held on January 11, 2023. The first will take place at the Hartsville Library from 10am to 12pm. The second will occur at the Darlington Library from 3pm to 5pm.
Administrator Stewart also reported on the construction of the new courthouse. Stewart announced that the walls are dried in but, windows have not been completely installed. HVAC roof units were delayed in shipping but, they are on site now and will be installed soon. The masonry and other brickwork, which was expected in August, was delayed but is also on site at present and, ready to be installed. “The first floor sheetrock and main sprinkler system are 90% complete,” Stewart said, and reported that, with few delays, construction should continue on schedule with a completion date of spring 2023.
Council approved Ordinance 22-15, which establishes a fee agreement between Darlington County and Stamey Solar, LLC, replacing a previous agreement from 2018. This ordinance grants a Fee-In-Lieu-Of-Taxes (FILOT) arrangement whereby the company will not pay taxes but, will invest at least $3,192,000 in Darlington County.
Council also approved that 6 parcels of land, owned by Hartsville Community Development Foundation, be transferred to the S.C. Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics in Hartsville. The Darlington County Council will next meet on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023.