County Council hears complaints of bad roads
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Darlington County Council met May 4 and, aside from regular agenda items, heard several pleas for action from concerned citizens.
Billy White asked council for advice and help to address degraded roads in the 17 year-old Timberchase subdivision north of Hartsville. White said the neighborhood of 135 homes suffers from over 400 recurring potholes – some of which are several feet wide – and this makes travel for residents, visitors, and service vehicles hazardous, especially along a badly damaged half-mile stretch of Pine Haven Drive.
“We’ve been told by UPS and FedEx drivers that our roads are some of the worst in Darlington County,” said White, noting that the roads are county-owned and not private.
White added that patching the holes provides only a temporary help, as the patch material usually lasts only a few days. He said the sustained poor road conditions are causing flooding problems in the neighborhood as well.
Tim-berchase community members have formed a committee and repeatedly voiced their concerns to the Darlington County Transportation Committee (CTC) and their elected state and county representatives.
Although Timberchase has roads on the CTC’s prospective action list, White said he had no idea how that list is prioritized or when any repairs might be done in his community.
Council member David Coker, who represents District 8 where Timberchase is located, said the problem was past due for a solution.
“I think this subdivision is so bad, it keeps getting pushed off,” said Coker.
Coker asked county planning director Doug Reimold and director of Roads and Bridges, Bobby Richardson, to visit Timberchase and inspect the roads, and perhaps formulate a plan to address the problem.
Citizen George Cannon asked council for help with drainage troubles in his South Hartsville community, specifically with poorly elevated ditches that fill with standing water even when cleared of debris.
Since there are issues of elevation and drainage involving several different landowers and service providers, council member Le Flowers suggested forming a committee with representatives from all relevant parties, including the county, the City of Hartsville, the Darlington County Water & Sewer Authority, Darlington County School District, and the SC Department of Transportation, and perhaps distributing the cost of repairs among them.
“It may take a lot of money (to fix), but basically you have four different entities… we could make things better by working together without having a lot of expense,” said Flowers.
Joyce Thomas added her voice to the chorus, pointing out that the South Darlington community still suffers from flooding and poor drainage. Thomas noted that while the South Darlington Watershed Project is “probably dead,” the affected residents still need help, and she asked council members to visit those areas after a rainfall and observe the conditions some county taxpayers are forced to endure.
Citizen Brenton Dana asked council to investigate ways to create employment opportunities for young people, noting that while he moved home to Darlington County from Washington, DC, he is one of a very few young professionals choosing to remain in his hometown.
On the regular agenda, council passed Resolution No. 652 and held first reading on Ordinance 15-13, two related measures that would allow the Hartsville Community Center Building Commission (a special purpose tax district) to issue a $2 million general obligation bond to fund repairs at the Hartsville Center Theater.
Council also held first reading on several other ordinances, including one (15-17) that would allow for the issuance of a $2.1 million general obligation bond to purchase new vehicles and equipment for the Darlington County Fire District. This bond will enact the fire district’s 4-mill increase approved by voter referendum last November.
Council also unanimously approved the recommendations of the Accommodations Tax Committee, disbursing $60,000 in A-tax proceeds to various organizations and events that promote county tourism.
Darlington County Council’s next scheduled meeting is May 18 at 6 pm at the Courthouse Annex located at 1625 Harry Byrd Hwy in Darlington. This meeting is open to the public.