County to handle Lamar inspections
By Samantha Lyles
Long without a municipal building and codes officer, the Town of Lamar has agreed to partner with Darlington County to conduct building inspections and handle codes enforcement issues.
At their Aug. 10 regular meeting, Lamar Town Council voted without objection to adopt relevant statutes in the Darlington County Code of Ordinances (Chapter 8, Appendix A – Development Standards Ordinance). Fees for inspections and permits, as well as fines for violations, will be collected by Darlington County and priced in accordance with their fee schedule.
For more information, including phone numbers and downloadable forms, visit www.darcosc.com/government/codes_enforcement/.
In other matters, Mayor Darnell McPherson discussed coronavirus-related community events, including a free face mask giveaway that took place Aug. 12 at Genesis Health Care on Main Street.
McPherson also addressed the importance of getting a complete Census 2020 count, especially the need to accurately enumerate the number of children living in Lamar. This number, she noted, can have a major impact on a town’s ability to secure federal funding for everything from recreation to infrastructure projects.
“This is how we qualify for federal grants and resources, with the Census. They look at that and say, ‘OK, that is a high- priority area,’ ” said McPherson.
She added that in some grant reviews, Lamar’s applications have been hindered due to faulty demographics drawn from Census data. According to Census officials, this problem occurs when higher income families complete the survey at a higher rate than lower income families, giving an inaccurate picture of a community’s economic status.
“People don’t like to talk about how much money they make, but it’s all data that drives forward the grants and your ability to gain support,” said McPherson.
Council member Angele White-Bradley reminded everyone that when Lamar was applying to the USDA for help with their water and sewer system, the town nearly had to hire canvassers for a door-to-door income survey because their Census data presented such a skewed picture of the community’s income level.
McPherson added that a Census 2020 drive-through event – funded by a grant secured by the NAACP – was scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 15, in hopes of garnering more completed surveys.
As of mid-August, Lamar lagged behind the county (50 percent) and state (57 percent) Census reporting averages, with just 41 percent of residents having completed their forms.
Forms can be filled out online at https://my2020census.gov, or completed via phone at 1-844-330-2020. Residents can also fill out and return the forms mailed to their homes. The deadline for completing the 2020 Census is Sept. 30.