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Minutes Regular Meeting 06/12/12

  Minutes
Sumter County Council
Regular Meeting
June 12, 2012 - Held at 6:00 p.m.
Sumter County Administration Building, County Council Chambers
13 East Canal Street , Sumter, South Carolina


 

COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT:

  1. Chairman Eugene Baten, Council District #7
  2. Vice Chairman, Larry Blanding, Council District #6
  3. Councilman Artie Baker, Council District #2
  4. Councilman Jimmy Byrd , Council District #3
  5. Councilman Charles T. Edens, Council District #4
  6. Councilwoman Vivian Fleming McGhaney, Council District #5
  7. Councilwoman Naomi D. Sanders, District 1

COUNCIL MEMBERS ABSENT:  None

STAFF MEMBERS PRESENT:

Mary W. Blanding, Clerk to Council

Gary Mixon, County Administrator

Lorraine Dennis, Assist. County Administrator

Donna McCullum, Zoning Administrator

Pam Craven, Finance Director

Two Deputy Sheriff Officers

The Honorable Carolina Richardson

Keysa Rogers, Budget Analyst

 

 

MEDIA PRESENT:  None

 

THE PUBLIC PRESENT:

Approximately 12 members of the public were in attendance.

     

 

CALL TO ORDER:  Chairman of Council, Eugene R. Baten, called the meeting to order. 

INVOCATION:  Councilwoman Vivian Fleming McGhaney gave the invocation. 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:  All in attendance repeated the Pledge of Allegiance.    

APPROVAL OF AGENDA:  Chairman Baten asked the Clerk to Council if there were any adjustments to the agenda.  She stated that there were no changes to the agenda.  He then called for a motion on the approval of the agenda. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Baker, seconded by Councilman Byrd, and unanimously carried by Council to approve the agenda of June 12, 2012, as presented. 

APPROVAL OF BUDGET WORKSHOP MINUTES:  Chairman Baten stated that he would entertain a motion to approve the minutes of Sumter County Council’s Budget workshop held on May 22, 2012.  

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Baker, seconded by Councilman Byrd, and unanimously carried by Council to approve the Budget Workshop minutes of May 22, 2012, as presented. 

APPROVAL OF REGULAR MEETING MINUTES:  Chairman Baten stated that he would entertain a motion to approve the minutes of Sumter County Council’s regular meeting held on May 22, 2012.  

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Vice Chairman Blanding, seconded by Councilman Byrd, and unanimously carried by Council to approve the minutes of May 22, 2012, as presented. 

LAND USE MATTERS AND REZONING REQUESTS

Development/Rezoning Request –

(1)   OA-12-04 --  First Reading -- Accessory Structures (County) --  (12-769) -- Request To Amend The Sumter County Zoning And Development Standards Ordinance Article 4, Exhibit 8A, Maximum Square Footage Of Residential Accessory Structures Based On Gross Acreage In Order To Increase The Maximum Size Of Accessory Buildings On An Incremental Basis.

Donna McCullum, Zoning Administrator, presented this request to Council.  She stated that in April of 2009, Sumter County Council passed Ordinance Amendment OA-09-01 which amended the residential accessory structure rules and regulations to allow properties over 0.5 acres in size to have residential accessory buildings over 1,000 square feet in size based on a sliding scale that is tied to the gross acreage of the lot. After three years of implementation, Planning Staff has been directed by County Council to revise Exhibit 8A to implement an incremental increase in the maximum size of residential accessory structures as outlined in Article 4.

Mrs. McCullum also stated that as proposed, 0.5 to 0.9 acre parcels would see a graduated step up in size with all parcels 1.0 acres and greater having an additional 300 sq. ft. added to the maximum square footage. This incremental change is to address the issues related to maximum allowed building size that have been encountered over the last three years of implementation.

After the Planning Department reviewed this table, at the request of Sumter County Council, the following information was recommended for approval:

  • Amend Article 4, Exhibit 8A to reflect the following (note that changes are in Boldface type):

EXHIBIT 8A

Maximum square footage of residential accessory structures based on gross acreage

Acreage

0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

**<0.5

See note 1

0.5

1100

1120

1150

1140

1250

1160

1350

1180

1450

-

-

-

-

-

1.0

1200

1500

1225

1525

1250

1550

1275

1575

1300

1600

1325

1625

1350

1650

1375

1675

1400

1700

1425

1725

2.0

1450

1750

1475

1775

1500

1800

1525

1825

1550

1850

1575

1875

1600

1900

1625

1925

1650

1950

1675

1975

3.0

1700

2000

1725

2025

1750

2050

1775

2075

1800

2100

1825

2125

1850

2150

1875

2175

1900

2200

1925

2225

4.0

1950

2250

1975

2275

2000

2300

2025

2325

2050

2350

2075

2375

2100

2400

2125

2425

2150

2450

2175

2475

 

5.0

Exempt, see note 2

 

Ms. McCullum also indicated that the Planning Commission made the following recommendations concerning this ordinance amendment. 

  1. Maximum size for accessory structures on all parcels less than 0.5 acres in size is 1000 sq. ft.
  2. All parcels over 10 5 acres in size are exempt from maximum square footage requirements; however, each zoned parcel shall not exceed the maximum impervious surface ratio for the given zoning district.

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Baker, seconded by Councilwoman Sanders, and unanimously carried by Council to grant first reading approval as presented. 

(2)   OA-12-05 – First Reading --  Airfield Compatibility District Uses (County) -- (12-770) -- Request To Amend The Sumter County Zoning And Development Standards Ordinance Article 3, Section 7, Airfield Compatibility District (ACD) Use Regulations ACD Districts In Order To Amend/Add Uses To The APZ-2.

This ordinance amendment request was initiated by an affected property owner, Mr. Thomas Watts, who owns a commercial structure in the APZ-2 NE near the intersection of Thomas Sumter Highway and Frierson Road.  The applicant has met with Planning Staff and has requested that the Planning Commission consider clarification of/additions to the use list outlined in Exhibit 7: Airfield Compatibility District (ACD) Use Regulations. Specifically, the applicant wishes to add internet sweepstakes cafes.  In addition, it has been requested that consideration be given to include small scale retail grocery stores which are currently prohibited in the APZ-1 and APZ-2.

The intent of the Airfield Compatibility Districts (ACD) is to prevent incompatible land uses or the creation of flight hazards which would impair the utility and public investment of the Shaw Air Force Base. Within the ACD, there are several overlay districts:

  • APZ-1, Accident Potential Zone I;
  • APZ-2, Accident Potential Zone II;
  • DNL-1, Day-Night Noise Level Zone I;
  • DNL-2, Day-Night Noise Level Zone II;
  • DNL-3, Day-Night Noise Level Zone III; &
  • NA, Noise Attenuation District.

Land Designated as APZ-1, APZ-2, DNL-1, DNL-2, or DNL-3 may not be used for any purpose other than those indicated by Exhibit 7 in conjunction with the specified conditions related to concentration of people per house, noise reduction standards, and size limitation among others.

The ACD use list has remained unchanged since the early 1980’s when Sumter County first adopted airfield compatibility use regulations. As part of this amendment process, Staff believes that the use list in Exhibit 7 should be reviewed in its entirety to determine if there are some uses that may be compatible with the ACD that are not currently addressed.

I.PROPOSED ORDINANCE AMENDMENT

See Attachment #1 – Revised to reflect Planning Commission’s recommendation from the May 23, 2012, meeting.

After all comments, Chairman Baten called for a motion on this matter. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Byrd, seconded by Councilman Baker, and carried by Sumter County Council, to grant first reading to this proposed ordinance.  Councilman Blanding voted in opposition. 

 (3)  OA-12-02 --  Third Reading -- Digital Billboards (County) – (12-764) – A Request To Amend The County’s Sign Ordinance, Article 8, Section 8.i.8, Off Premise Advertising (Billboards) To Allow For Digital Sign Display On Billboards

Ms. McCullum stated that there have been no changes to this proposed ordinance amendment since first reading.  She asked Council to consider grant third reading to the ordinance as recommended by the Planning Commission

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Baker, seconded by Councilman Edens, and unanimously carried by Sumter County Council, to grant third reading approval and adoption to this ordinance as presented.

Street Name Change – None

Grant Awards– None

OTHER PUBLIC HEARING:

(1)   12-766 -- An Ordinance Authorizing The Transfer Of A Fee In Lieu Of Tax -- Arrangement Between Sumter County, South Carolina And Caterpillar Inc. Under Title 4, Chapter 12 Of The Code Of Laws Of South Carolina (1976), As Amended, To An Arrangement Under Title 12, Chapter 44 Of The Code Of Laws Of South Carolina (1976), As Amended; And Other Matters Related Thereto.  (Council Will Take Action On Second Reading For This Proposed Ordinance Immediately After Public Hearing Or During Old Business.)

The County Attorney, Mr. Johnathan Bryan, briefed Council on this ordinance prior to public hearing.  After the presentation (as listed under Old Business), the Chairman convened a public hearing on this ordinance. 

Chairman Baten convened the public hearing and asked if anyone would like to speak in favor of or opposition to the proposed ordinance. 

  • Ms. Wilson asked Council how long would the Fee In Lieu Of Taxes be in place?  The Attorney responded that the original Fee In Lieu of Taxes was approved for five years investment period and as each phase of Caterpillar, Inc. was completed it was granted a 20 year period with a 23 year limitation on the Fee In Lieu of Taxes.  In 2021 or 2022 the Fee In Lieu of Taxes will dissolve. 

After all comments, Chairman Baten closed the public hearing and Council took action on second reading as listed under Old Business. 

(2)   12-765 -– An Ordinance To Provide For A Levy Of Taxes For County Purposes Of Sumter County, S. C., (Known As The Budget Ordinance) For The Fiscal Year Of Said County Beginning July 1, 2012, To Direct The Expenditures Of Said Taxes And Other Funds Of Said County, And To Provide For Other Matters Related Thereto.  (Council Will Take Action On Second Reading For This Proposed Ordinance Immediately After Public Hearing Or During Old Business.) 

Chairman Baten convened the public hearing and asked if anyone would like to speak in favor of or opposition to the proposed ordinance.  No one spoke on this matter; therefore, the Chairman closed the public hearing and Council took action on second reading as listed under Old Business. 

NEW BUSINESS:

(1)   Proclamation Proclaiming June 14-16, 2012, as Double Dutch Day In Sumter South Carolina

The Clerk to Council presented the proposed proclamation to Council for review and adoption.  She also asked the Chairman to represent Sumter County Council at the opening ceremonies for Double Dutch.  The Chairman agreed to represent Council at this world-wide event and stated that he would be willing to participate in some of the Double Dutch competition.

Whereas,         During June 16-18, 2011, the American Double Dutch League will be celebrating its Thirty-ninth Annual World Invitational Championship at the Sumter County Exhibition Center, in Sumter, South Carolina, and

Whereas,         Double Dutch enhances the desirability of individuals as athletes nationwide and in foreign countries the opportunity to excel and a chance to compete in the World Invitational Championship; and

Whereas,         Participation in Double Dutch builds self-esteem and provides positive and constructive alternatives to anti-social behaviors and enhances the physical health, well-being of individuals and our communities; and

Whereas,         It is the right of everyone regardless of race, color, religion, gender, or national origin to participate in Double Dutch programs and activities.

Now Therefore Be It Resolved, I, Eugene R. Baten, Chairman of Sumter County Council, do hereby proclaim the days of June 14-16, 2012, as

“Double Dutch Days”

in the

County of Sumter, South Carolina

And I commend those who are participating in the thirty-ninth Annual American Double Dutch League World Invitational Championship.  All citizens are urged to attend these worldwide events and to be ambassadors for Sumter County to our visitors throughout these events. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Baker, seconded by Councilman Byrd, and unanimously carried by Council to approve the proclamation as presented, and directed the Chairman and the Clerk to Council to execute and deliver the proclamation as presented. 

(2)   A Resolution Authorizing The Sheriff Of Sumter County To Enter Into Interagency Agreements With The Clarendon County Sheriff, The City Of Columbia Police Department And The City Of Manning Police Department For Mutual Aid,  Cooperation,  Temporary Transfer Of Officers Pursuant To Multi-Jurisdictional Agreements, And Narcotics Enforcement  Purposes

Chairman Baten introduced this proposed resolution to Council; followed by his comments, Attorney Kathy Ward, Sheriff’s Department Attorney, who was present on behalf of this resolution, stated that the Sheriff continues to update Sumter County’s Mutual Aid Agreement.  She asked Council to consider adopting this resolution as presented to Council tonight.  

WHEREAS, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Assistance and Support Act, codified in Sections 23-20-10 through 23-20-60 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina, (2007, as amended) authorizes law enforcement agencies of this State to enter into contractual agreements with other law enforcement providers as may be necessary for the proper and prudent exercise of public safety functions; and

WHEREAS, Sections 23-1-210 through 23-10-215 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina, (2007, as amended) further authorizes the temporary transfer or assignment of law enforcement officers within multijurisdictional task forces established for the mutual aid and benefit of the participating jurisdictions, upon written agreements between the concerned municipalities or counties; and

WHEREAS, Section 5-7-120 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina, (2004, as amended) further authorizes the temporary transfer or assignment of municipal law enforcement officers to requesting political subdivision in cases of emergency, provided a complete record of the request, together with the name of the officers sent, is recorded in the minutes of the next regular or special meeting of the governing bodies of both the requesting and the sending political subdivisions; and

WHEREAS, the Sumter County Council finds such agreements to be reasonable, prudent and desirable, and that such agreements serve the best interests of the citizens of Sumter County; and

WHEREAS, the Sumter County Council finds that the Sheriff, as the chief law enforcement officer for Sumter County, duly elected by the citizens of this County, is uniquely qualified and authorized to make determinations concerning the organization, initiation, implementation and supervision of law enforcement activities and operations by his office and/or in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies;

WHEREAS, the Sumter County Council continues to express its support of the Sheriff in his efforts to promote mutual assistance and cooperation among his office and various other law enforcement agents;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the County Council of Sumter County, South Carolina, in meeting duly assembled, that the Sheriff of Sumter County is authorized to enter into agreements with Clarendon County, by and through its Sheriff, and with the City of Manning Police Department and the City of Columbia Police Department, by and through their City Managers and/or Police Chiefs, for the provision of mutual assistance and cooperation, temporary transfer of officers, and/or crime prevention and enforcement tasks forces, including but not limited to narcotics enforcement agreements, in providing law enforcement services as set forth in such agreements.  The Sheriff and/or the County Administrator are hereby authorized to execute the agreements referenced and approved herein.

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Baker, seconded by Vice Chairman Blanding, and unanimously carried by Council to approve the resolution as presented, and directed the Chairman and the Clerk to Council to execute and deliver the proclamation as presented. 

(3)   Sumter County 2010-2011 Financial Audit

Mr. Roger Long, the County’s External Auditor, gave a briefing on the County’s 2010-2011 Financial Audit that was presented to Council during the Fiscal, Tax, and Property Committee meeting on today.  He stated that the County received an unqualified Opinion, which is what the County would like to receive.  The County’s General Fund, which is the major operating fund, received $38,000,000 in revenue with over $37,000,000 in expenditures.  This resulted in revenue over expenditure deficit of approximately $207,000.  The County previously budgeted a decrease of fund balance of approximately $580,000.  By increasing its revenue above its adjusted budget, the County was able to NOT use as much of the authorized reserve of its fund balance as it budgeted. 

After Mr. Long’s report was completed, Chairman Baten asked Council members for questions or comments.  None of the Council members spoke to this issue.

ACTION:  Received as information. 

(4)   12-767 – First Reading -- Ordinance Authorizing The Execution And Delivery Of A Fee Agreement Dated As Of _______________, 2012 By And Between Sumter County, South Carolina And Caterpillar Inc. Providing For A Payment Of A Fee In Lieu Of Taxes And Other Matters Related Thereto.

 Mr. Bryan, the County Attorney, presented this first reading request to Council.  He stated that this is a matter pertaining to project Encore (Caterpillar, Inc. – Pin Plant).  This ordinance pertains to the Fee In Lieu of Tax Agreement; it is a $7,000,000 investment with 80 new jobs; and several other incentives for this company.  Mr. Bryan also stated that he will clear up two matters in this ordinance; one pertaining to the correct millage rate and the other question pertaining to the property being listed as fair market value.  The Attorney stated that the County should not use fair market value and he will speak to the company’s attorney about this matter. 

Following Mr. Bryan’s comments, the Chairman called for a motion on this ordinance. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Baker, seconded by Councilman Edens, and unanimously carried by Council to grant first reading approval as presented. 

(5)   12-768 – First Reading -- An Ordinance Authorizing The Transfer Of Property On Northgate Drive And Lynette Drive, Sumter, SC.

Mr. Bryan presented this ordinance to Council in a revised format.  He also provided Council with a copy of a map which outlines the property that is being considered in this map (Parcels A, B, and E).  This request was submitted by the Development Board on behalf of Kilin Direct.  Once the presentation was completed, Council took action on first reading. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Edens, seconded by Councilman Byrd, and unanimously carried by Council to grant first reading approval.

(6)   It May Be Necessary To Hold An Executive Session To Discuss A Personnel Matter, Receive A Legal Briefing, Or Discuss A Contractual Matter And Appropriate Actions May Be Required And Taken Thereafter

No executive session was held. 

OLD BUSINESS: 

(1)   12-759 – Third Reading -- An Ordinance Authorizing A Special Property Tax Assessment For The Property Located At 2 North Main Street.

Mr. Bryan stated that the change on second reading expenditures from 100% to 30% and the period of special assessment would be for five years. Other than these two changes, there have been no other changes since second reading. 

The Chairman called for a motion on this ordinance. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Edens, seconded by Councilman Baker, and unanimously carried by Council to approve and adopt this ordinance as amended. 

(2)   12-761 -- Third Reading -- An Ordinance To Extend The Service Area For The Oswego Rural Water Company, Inc.

Mr. Bryan also presented this ordinance to Council for third reading approval.  He said that this ordinance will allow Oswego Rural Water Company, Inc. to extend its services in the County’s water jurisdiction.  The ordinance has not changed; however, Council members were presented with a proposed Franchise Agreement dated June 12, 2012.  Council members were asked to review the agreement and give any questions to the Administrator or the Attorney.  The agreement has included in its language for the County to have first right of refusal if Oswego decides to sell its water service. If Council members have any questions about the Franchise agreement, they can contact the County Attorney.  This will not prohibit Council from passing the ordinance if they so desire. 

After review of the document, the Chairman called for a motion on this ordinance. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Baker, seconded by Councilwoman McGhaney, and unanimously carried by Council to approve and adopt this ordinance as presented. 

(3)   12-762 – Third Reading -- An Ordinance Authorizing The Transfer Of Twenty-Two And Six Tenths Acres Of Property Located On St. Matthews Church Road, Sumter, SC.

The Attorney stated that there have been no changes to this ordinance since second reading. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Baker, seconded by Vice Chairman Blanding, and unanimously carried by Council to approve and adopt this ordinance as amended. 

(4)   12-763 – Third Reading --  An Ordinance Authorizing Sumter County, South Carolina, To Enter Into An Intergovernmental Agreement With The Santee Wateree Regional Transportation Authority; To Enter Into A  Loan Agreement With The Bank In The Amount Of Not To Exceed $900,000 For The Purpose Of Refinancing The Outstanding Principal Amount Of The Loan Associated With The Same Documents Entered Into In 2008; Approving The Form And Terms Of The Intergovernmental Agreement And The Loan Agreement, And Other Matters Related Thereto.

The Attorney, Mr. Johnathan Bryan, stated that there have been no changes to this ordinance since second reading. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Vice Chairman Blanding, seconded by Councilman Baker, and unanimously carried by Council to approve and adopt this ordinance as presented. 

 (5)  12-766 – Second Reading -- An Ordinance Authorizing The Transfer Of A Fee In Lieu Of Tax -- Arrangement Between Sumter County, South Carolina And Caterpillar Inc. Under Title 4, Chapter 12 Of The Code Of Laws Of South Carolina (1976), As Amended, To An Arrangement Under Title 12, Chapter 44 Of The Code Of Laws Of South Carolina (1976), As Amended; And Other Matters Related Thereto

Mr. Johnathan Bryan, presented this proposed ordinance to Council for second reading consideration.  He stated that Caterpillar, Inc. would like to change the mechanism of the old Fee In Lieu of Tax Assessment to the new Fee In Lieu of Tax Agreement with Sumter County.  Technically, the two agreements are virtually the same; however, the structure is different.  Currently, the County owns the property; but Caterpillar would like to own the property. 

After Mr. Bryan’s presentation, the Chairman convened a public hearing on this matter.  Once the public hearing was completed, the Chairman closed the public hearing and Council took action on second reading. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Baker, seconded by Councilman Edens, and unanimously carried by Council to grant second reading as presented. 

(6)   12-765 -– Second Reading -- An Ordinance To Provide For A Levy Of Taxes For County Purposes Of Sumter County, S. C., (Known As The Budget Ordinance) For The Fiscal Year Of Said County Beginning July 1, 2012, To Direct The Expenditures Of Said Taxes And Other Funds Of Said County, And To Provide For Other Matters Related Thereto.

Mr. Gary Mixon, the County Administrator, presented this proposed ordinance to Council for second reading approval.  Mr. Mixon gave the following presentation. 

  • Staff began working on the budget prior to April 2012.
  • On April 10, 2012, Council received a budget that had a $939,345 deficit. 
  • On May 8, 2012, adjustments were made to the proposed budget which had a $514,063.
  • Since that time, Council has had first reading on the budget during Council’s meeting on May 22, 2012.  At that time there was a deficit in the budget of $564,845, some expenses were added back to the budget which caused the deficiency to increase between May 8, 2012, and May 22, 2012. 
  • During this meeting, Council is being presented a balanced budget of $40,163,328.   

After Mr. Mixon’s presentation, Chairman Baten convened a public hearing on this proposed ordinance.  At the conclusion of the public hearing, Council took action on second reading. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Edens, seconded by Vice Chairman Blanding, and unanimously carried by Council to grant second reading as presented. 

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

(1)   Fiscal, Tax, And Property Committee Meeting Held On Tuesday, June 12, 2012, At 4:00 P.M. In Sumter County Administration Building, County Council’s Conference Room– (Baten, Blanding, And Edens).

The Chairman gave the following report and recommendation from the Committee Meeting. 

Alice Drive Phase III Project -- Underground Utilities:  The Committee received information concerning the need for additional funds for the Alice Drive Underground Utilities Project.  The Committee recommended committing up to $37,740.36 for this project from the County’s Infrastructure Fund for this project. 

ACTION:  MOTION and second were received from the Committee, and carried by Council to approve the expenditure of up to $37,740.36 from the County’s Infrastructure Fund for the Alice Drive Phase III Project – Underground Utilities.  Councilwoman Sanders voted in opposition to this motion. 

(2)   Special Budget Meeting of Sumter County Council Tuesday, June 12, 2012, at 4:30 P.M. Report From Council Members On Other Meetings, Trainings, And/Or Conferences

The minutes for this meeting were prepared separately from Council’s regular meeting minutes.

MONTHLY REPORTS: 

  • Sumter Board of Realtors Letter
  • Sumter Development Board Letter
  • Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce Letter
  • Plaque Unveiling Information – 12:00 p.m. – William T. Noonan Plaque (Lunch to follow at the Library.)
  • Budget Workshop at 2:00
  • Special Budget Workshop – School Budget – Central Carolina Technical College

ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT: 

No report was given during this meeting. 

PUBLIC COMMENT: 

The Chairman asked if anyone wished to speak during public comment; the following persons spoke. 

  • Cheryl Erin spoke in support of the Sumter County Gallery Of Arts and especially its summer programs, scholarship program, and its ongoing programs.  She asked Council to continue to support the arts and this agency. 
  • Darlene Hubert stated that she is the Director of the Board of Realtors.  She read a written statement to Sumter County Council about the proposed millage increase from the Sumter School District.  In the written document it was stated that the Sumter Board of Realtors knows that property ownership, fiscal responsibility, and strong schools are the key to success and prosperity.  Through responsible fair tax laws we can create a climate that attracts new industries and companies that will create new jobs in Sumter County and improve the quality of life for all its citizens.  This is why the Sumter Board of Realtors opposes the proposed property tax increase recently submitted to Sumter County Council by the Sumter School District.  The proposal does not increase taxes on homeowners but targets non-owner occupied properties.  Increasing taxes on businesses, rental homes, and other commercial properties is not the answer and will harm future growth of our County.  It is unfair to single out this class of property owners to carry the entire burden of funding our schools.  In these tough economic times, every effort should be made to review existing budgets, use overflowing reserve, and limit government spending.  Every family and business has tightened its belt over the last five years, and we should expect our government to do the same.  Unlike those who believe that Sumter can tax its way to prosperity, realtors understand that their taxes and fees are the key to improving the business climate in our county. We ask our members to speak to our County Council representatives and let them know their ideas on how the Board of Realtors feels about the increases in taxes in Sumter County.
  • Lisa Svetlik spoke to County Council; she stated that she owns the Svetlik Company and she is the President of Sumter Board of Realtors.  Ms. Svetlik supports the comments made by Darleen HebertErin.   She commended Council for having a balanced budget.  Ms. Svetlik asked Council to consider more creative ways to provide funding for the schools.  The realtors want the schools to be the best and for the students to have the best; however, the funding mechanism must change. 
  • Brenda Adkins, Realtor and Property Manager for Advantage Realty Group, spoke to Council about the proposed increase to the Sumter School District.  She stated that she supports what her colleagues are saying tonight that the 13 mill increase is too much for the property owners especially the military families.  Ms. Adkins thanked County Council for opening up a special meeting on June 19th.  She further stated that this means a lot to her because after attending a School Board Meeting, she felt totally shut out, ignored, and the parents have felt silenced. 
  • Ronnie Eldridge, Investor and Realtor at Advantage Realty Group, spoke to Council about the proposed 13 mill request from Sumter School District.  He asked Council not to support this request.  Mr. Eldridge, who is also a former County Council member, stated that he had three separate phone calls on yesterday from military families that have rental property through Advantage Realty Group; each property  is upside-down.   These families are spending more than $500 a month than they are bringing in just so that they can pay the taxes, insurance, and house payment.   
  • Steve Schmidt talked to Council about the proposed 13 mill request from Sumter School District.  Mr. Schmidt asked the Chairman will Council pass this 13 mill request.  The Chairman informed Mr. Schmidt that it will be a combined decision with a majority vote as to what the School District will receive. 

ADJOURNMENT: 

Prior to adjourning, the Chairman recognized the local leaders in the community. 

There being no further business and no additional comments from the public, the meeting was adjourned at 6:59 p.m. after a motion by Councilman Byrd, seconded by Baker, and unanimously carried by Council.


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