County flooding: ‘Is there anything that we can do?’
By Bobby Bryant, Editor
Darlington County Council waded into the problem of frequent flooding at its regular meeting March 1, but found no easy answers for making the water go away. “I’m going to do my usual – you know, the flooding,” District 3 council member Joyce Thomas said. “It’s just rough, it’s really rough, and I know … it’s a wet time not only here, but I guess everywhere,” she said. “But I’m just wondering, Mr. Administrator, Mr. Chairman, is there anything we can do in reference to all this flooding, and especially in the (Darlington-area) district I represent?” County Administrator Charles Stewart advised her to pass on the complaints to county officials. But he said there might not be anything the county can do, depending on whether it’s a county- or state-owned road. If the problem lies with a county road, Stewart said, “We will certainly send somebody out to look and see if there’s something we can immediately do about the situation. … We can evaluate it, that’s for sure.” District 1 council member Angie Stone Godbold told Thomas, “I have the same concerns as you.” Godbold said she gets calls asking for help with flooding. “When the ditches flood, it goes onto their property, and then it goes across the road,” she said. “These aren’t just small roads in little neighborhoods. “And there’s no lighting. People who don’t know these roads well could hit those things going too fast and something tragic (could) happen. … I don’t really know what our responsibility is when it’s not our responsibility to fix it – (but) what is our responsibility as far as communicating that to who is supposed to fix it?” Stewart said the county will relay reports of problems to the S.C. Department of Transportation if it’s the state’s responsibility. “They may go out and put up a sign or cones or something to alert the public to what’s going on,” Stewart said. “ … We report the problem to the authorities that have the ability to fix it, or it’s their responsibility to deal with it. Past that, we don’t have anything that we necessarily do to fix it ourselves.” In other matters: — Without debate, council voted to extend the COVID-19 emergency ordinance the county has been operating under for months. Council also extended an ordinance allowing the council to meet electronically if necessary because of the pandemic. Currently, council members are meeting in person – with face masks and social distancing – and the meetings are being live-streamed on the Internet.