Council says its farewells to Kilgo after 16 years of service

Darlington County Council chairman Bobby Hudson (left) presents departing Councilman Robert “Bobby” Kilgo Jr. with an engraved silver platter to honor his 16 years of service. PHOTO BY SAMANTHA LYLES

By Samantha Lyles

slyles@newsandpress.net

At their Dec. 7 regular meeting, Darlington County Council bid a fond farewell to one of their own as Councilman Robert L. “Bobby” Kilgo Jr. left their ranks. Council Vice Chair Lewis Brown praised Kilgo’s commitment to the best interests of Darlington County and cited his “passion and tenacity” to bring a new county courthouse to downtown Darlington. “What will go unnoticed is how much money it saved the county as a result … under your leadership, I think we came out with a much better project and product because of your guidance,” said Brown. Council member and chaplain Dannie Douglas said Kilgo and he had been friends for many years and described Kilgo as a reliable and true friend. “Any time I needed help on anything, you know who I always came to. I’m gonna miss you,” said Douglas. Council member Joyce Wingate Thomas thanked Kilgo for his guidance as she learned the ropes during her first term. “You do look for someone to kind of guide you and uphold you and be the type of person you’d like to emulate, and since I’ve been here the last four years, Mr. Kilgo has been all that,” said Wingate Thomas. “He’s a really good, true friend and a family friend. My deceased husband didn’t think there was anybody like him, and certainly I don’t either.” Council member David Coker also thanked Kilgo for his mentorship and lauded his ethical service to the entirety of Darlington County. “You worked for the whole county and not just your district, and I appreciate that as well,” said Coker. “Good luck to you. You will definitely be missed.” Kilgo’s 16 years of service on County Council were split into two segments; his first term lasted from 1981 to 1989, and the second from 2013 to 2021. Kilgo lost a re-election bid in the June primary to challenger Angie Stone Godbold, who will assume the District 1 seat in January. Also at this meeting, Council agreed to accept the transfer of Hewitt Street and the public portion of Fountain Street from the City of Darlington as part of the new courthouse construction project. “This is another step toward the courthouse project. This will allow the county to maintain both of those streets,” said Kilgo. County administrator Charles Stewart noted that while this approval completes the county’s portion of the agreement, Darlington City County must also formally approve the transfer. Council carried over final reading of two ordinances detailing incentives for a new $150 million industrial investment that could bring nearly 300 new full-time jobs to Darlington County. These ordinances refer to an industrial client code named Project Dark Star. Ordinance 20-06 lays out terms for a FILOT (Fee In Lieu of Taxes) agreement guaranteeing Project Dark Star a favorable assessment ratio of 6% and a fixed millage rate equal to 321.4 mills for a term of up to 40 years. The extract of Ordinance 20-06 explains that Project Dark Star is “a South Carolina corporation” that plans to “construct a manufacturing facility in the County through the acquisition, construction, purchase, and lease of certain land, buildings, furnishings, fixtures, apparatuses, and equipment…which will result in new investment in real and personal property estimated to be no less than $150,000,000.00… in the County and the creation of an estimated 292 new full time jobs.” Ordinance 20-07 would enlarge the boundaries of the joint Darlington County / Lee County industrial park to include county-owned property slated for use by Project Dark Star, and sets forth the distribution of any revenues generated by this agreement. The ordinance explains that proceeds would be distributed as follows: “One percent (1%) to Lee County; Ten percent (10%) to the Darlington County Economic Development Fund; Fifteen and one half percent (15.5%) to the Darlington County Capital Fund; Thirty three and one half percent (33.5%) to school operations; One percent (1%) to school bonds; One percent (1%) to FDTC; Twenty five percent (25%) to County operations; One percent (1%) to County bonds; One percent (1%) to Library; One percent (1%) to Landfill; Seven percent (7%) to Fire operations; and Three percent (3%) to Fire bonds.” Finally, Council passed Resolution No. 721, naming the new building at Lake Darpo “The Douglas Clubhouse At Lake Darpo” in honor of Councilman Dannie Douglas, who is in his fifth term on County Council and previously served 18 years as Society Hill’s Chief of Police. Darlington County Council’s next scheduled meeting is Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021 at 6 p.m. in the Courthouse Annex/EMS Building located at 1625 Harry Byrd Highway, Darlington. As emergency safety measures preclude public attendance, the meeting will be live streamed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DarlingtonCountyCouncilLive

Author: Rachel Howell

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