County Council meeting starts off quiet New Year
By Stephan Drew, Editor
Darlington County Council met on Tuesday, January 3rd to swear in reelected council members and choose officers as well as handle other issues.
Council members Dannie Douglas (District 2), Bobby Hudson (District 4), Albert Davis III (District 6) and David Coker (District 8) were sworn in by Probate Judge Marvin I. Lawson. After taking their seats, council chose Bobby Hudson as Council Chairman, Le Flowers as Vice Chairman and Dannie Douglas as Chaplain.
Society Hill resident Mr. Nettles of Rosenwald Road addressed council regarding large tractor-trailer trucks coming down Rosenwald instead of the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) prescribed route down the proper highway. Nettles complained of the trucks taking side roads and driving through populated residential areas when they’re not supposed to. “Can they put a ‘No Thru Trucks’ sign at both ends of the road? I think there’s one at the other end,” Nettles said. “We will them and see if they will either do it or let us do it,” County Administrator Charles Stewart said. Council member Dannie Douglas suggested the trucks traverse Gandy Rd. to detour so they wouldn’t need to use Rosenwald Rd. Stewart added, “When I speak to SCDOT, I will suggest that as another alternative.”
Council heard the First Reading of Ordinance No. 23-01, which executes a Fee Agreement between Darlington County and Hawfinch Solar, LLC. No action was taken on this measure. Resolution No. 752, which supports and provides for incentives for investment by Hawfinch Solar, LLC was passed unanimously.
A bid award for HVAC system replacement at Hartsville Outreach Building (located near the Hartsville Post Office on South 4th Street) was approved. Another bid, for continued food service to inmates at the W. Glen Campbell Detention Center was also approved. Both votes passed unanimously.
County Administrator Charles Stewart later reported to council that the county website (darcosc.com) only has space available for 2 years of council meeting videos, without buying more data storage space. He explained that the website could remain current, with the last 2 years of videos. Any older video footage will now be held in storage offline by the County Clerk, and would therefore be available for retrieval if necessary.
Stewart also discussed the S. C. Opioid Settlement Program, a 30-year funds distribution which is available to counties around the state. Mr. Stewart stated he would contact the organization and see if he could get them to send one of their representatives to a county council meeting in the near future so that they could explain the entire process, amount of funds available, and any other information necessary to participate.
The County Administrator also reported that Dominion Energy has given $50,000 and MPD Electric has given $100,000 from Utility Tax Funds for infrastructure improvements to the I-20 Industrial Park, the 163-acre complex just off I-20, a few miles from I-95.
Stewart reminded council that there are two scheduled meetings with the South Carolina Office of Resiliency (SCOR) regarding the Land Buyout Program. This program was started to compensate property owners for the damage done by flooding and stormwater drainage. Affected property owners were notified of the meetings to be held on January 11th and will be able to meet with representatives of SCOR at the Hartsville Library from 10am to 12pm and, at the Darlington Library from 3pm to 5pm.
Council then went into Executive Session and, when they returned, no further action was taken. County offices will be closed on Monday, January 16th in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Darlington County Council will next meet on February 6th at 6pm.