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Minutes Regular Meeting 06/26/12

  Minutes
Sumter County Council
Regular Meeting
Tuesday, June 26, 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

George McGregor, Planning Director

Pam Craven, Finance Director

Two Deputy Sheriff Officers

The Honorable Carolina Richardson

Keysa Rogers, Budget Analyst

 

 

MEDIA PRESENT:  None

 

 

THE PUBLIC PRESENT:

Approximately 41 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 Byrd, and unanimously carried by Council to approve the agenda of June 26, 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 June 12, 2012.  

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Vice Chairman Blanding, seconded by Councilman Baker, and unanimously carried by Council to approve the Budget Workshop minutes of June 12, 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 June 12, 2012.  

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Vice Chairman Blanding, seconded by Councilman Baker, and unanimously carried by Council to approve the minutes 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 Qorkshop held on June 19, 2012.  

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Vice Chairman Blanding, seconded by Councilman Baker, and unanimously carried by Council to approve the Budget Workshop minutes of June 19, 2012, as presented.

LAND USE MATTERS AND REZONING REQUESTS

Development/Rezoning Request –

(1)   OA-12-04 --  Second Reading/Public Hearing -- 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. (Council Will Hold A Public Hearing On This Ordinance Amendment Prior To Action On Second Reading.)

The Planning Director, Mr. George McGregor, stated that this is second reading to an ordinance which adjusts the size of assessory structures in the County’s Zoning Ordinance.  It will allow for an incremental across the board increase to the square footage permissible for residential assessory units.  The Planning Commission and the Planning staff recommend approval of this request. 

PUBLIC HEARING

Then the Chairman convened a public hearing on this matter.  He asked if anyone wished to speak in favor of or opposition to this proposed ordinance.  No one spoke to this issue, therefore 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 approval to this proposed ordinance amendment. 

(2)   OA-12-05 – Second Reading/Public Hearing --  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. . (Council Will Hold A Public Hearing On This Ordinance Amendment Prior To Action On Second Reading.)

Mr. McGregor stated that this is an additional ordinance amendment which in behalf of a private citizen, Mr. Thomas Watts, who is the applicant and the owner of the property involved in the request.  Mr. Watts is asking that County Council amend its Zoning Ordinance to allow for some additional usages in Airfield Compatibility District.  This District is the overlay district that is around Shaw AFB.  The Airfield Compatibility District further regulates certain usages particular uses that attract a higher density of people at certain times. 

Mr. McGregor further informed Council that Mr. Watts wants to add Internet Sweepstakes and small scale retail grocery stores for this area.  The Planning Commission and staff are supportive of this application, particularly because it makes no change to the other limitations about how the Planning Commission calculate the total number of people on a per acreage basis or total number of people at a store at one particular time. 

PUBLIC HEARING

Then the Chairman convened a public hearing on this matter.  He asked if anyone wished to speak in favor of or opposition to this proposed ordinance.  The following people spoke to this issue:

  1. Ms. Rhonda Feinstein stated that she has heard the explanation from the Planning Commission during the Planning Commission meeting.  She stated that she does not live far from Shaw AFB and she has contacted the wife of the 9th Air Force Commander about this matter.  The Commander’s wife has suggested that these Internet Sweepstakes be off limits to anyone on Shaw Air Force Base.  Ms. Feinstein stated that this is an underground way of introducing gambling to our County; it is very dangerous based on the research she has completed on the Internet Sweepstakes.   She also stated that the Internet Sweepstakes attracts crime and enormous amounts of money go into this gaming business.  Mrs. Feinstein said that she strongly opposes the Internet Café’s.  The name itself is actually a lie; it has nothing to do with Starbucks, or nothing like Starbucks. These are large numbers of terminals that are being put into our community; 54 within eyesight of her home.    Down the street from her house, 75 terminals will be placed in another area.  She further stated that these things are being introduced in the community as a cover-up as Internet Café.  No one knows what is really happening.  It is a reintroduction of gambling into our community.  SLED said this business is illegal and the law enforcement officers say illegal. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Baker, seconded by Councilman Edens, and unanimously carried by Council to grant second reading approval to this proposed ordinance amendment. 

  1. Mr. Gardner Gore spoke to Council about this matter.  He stated that he lives in Sumter and he supports what Ms. Feinstein stated.  Mr. Gore said that he does not think that this type of business has any place in Sumter County to begin with.  It is Mr. Gore’s belief that this business hurts those people that need help – poor people, uneducated people feel like that is their last resort.  Mr. Gore said that he has a housekeeper that helps him and the housekeeper gets all kinds of checks and needs help.  However, every week she will buy those lottery tickets.  It appears that people such as this only have hope in means of lottery of some sort.  He reiterated that he objects to this ordinance amendment and second everything that Mrs. Feinstein said. 

No one else spoke to this ordinance; therefore, the Chairman closed the public hearing and Council took action on second reading. 

Councilman Edens asked the County Attorney give some clarification.  He further stated that the two individuals did not speak to the ordinance amendment; but to the legitimacy of Internet Sweepstakes.  Councilman Edens also stated that the public needs to be reminded that we are not here to decide whether they are legal or not; Council is trying to regulate the land use matters relating to Internet Sweepstakes and how they operate.

County Attorney, Johnathan Bryan, stated that gambling is a matter of State Law.  There are State Statutes that set forth what is Internet type gambling.  The Attorney General is involved with this process as well as SLED.  Mr. Bryan said that this Council does not have the jurisdiction to determine what is or is not gambling.  The issue before this Council is a land use matter. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Baker, seconded by Councilman Edens, and carried by Council to grant second reading to this proposed ordinance as presented.  Councilwoman McGhaney voted in opposition. 

Street Name Change – None

Grant Awards– None

OTHER PUBLIC HEARING:

(1)   12-767 – An 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.  (Council Will Take Action On Second Reading For This Proposed Ordinance Immediately After Public Hearing, Or During Old Business.)

The Chairman convened a public hearing on this proposed ordinance.  Chairman Baten stated that all who are in favor of or opposed to this ordinance speak to Council by stating your name, and make all comments to the Chairman.  No one spoke to this issue; therefore, the Chairman closed the public hearing. 

(2)   12-768 –An Ordinance Authorizing The Transfer Of Property On Northgate Drive And Lynette Drive, Sumter, SC.  (Council Will Take Action On Second Reading For This Proposed Ordinance Immediately After Public Hearing, Or During Old Business.)

The Chairman convened a public hearing on this proposed ordinance.  Chairman Baten stated that all who are in favor of or opposed to this ordinance to speak to Council by stating your name, and make all comments to the Chairman.  No one spoke to this issue; therefore, the Chairman closed the public hearing. 

NEW BUSINESS:

(1)   Discussion And Possible Action On Sumter School District Budget Resolution

Mr. Gary Mixon, the County Administrator, introduced this matter before Council.  He stated that this resolution would provide for a tax millage allocation for operation for the Sumter School District.  The request was presented to Sumter County Council by Superintendent Bynum on behalf of Sumter School District on behalf of the Board of Directors for the District with an increase of 13 mills equaling $2,100,000.  The Chairman asked if there is a motion from any of the Council members concerning the request from the School District. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilwoman Sanders, seconded by Councilwoman McGhaney, and unanimously carried by Council to provide Sumter School District with 6.5 mills for the upcoming fiscal year.  Council members Baten, Blanding, McGhaney, and Sanders voted in the affirmative.  Council members Byrd, Baker, and Edens voted in opposition.  The motion failed due to a lack of a super majority voting in the affirmative. 

NOTE:  The Chairman stated that any millage over five mills requires a 2/3 percent majority vote.    

The Chairman called for another motion on this matter. Councilwoman McGhaney stated that she would offer another motion but wanted to make a comment prior to her presenting her motion.  She said that Council has been informed as to how much a 13 mill increase would affect the business community and how it would affect the non-owner occupied property.  Unfortunately, the way the tax structure is structured in South Carolina, the County is limited in what it can do.   Councilwoman McGhaney further stated that because of Act 388 only a small segment of the community has to be taxed with funding the schools.  She also stated that the message that Council is sending is that we cannot fund public education when we cannot meet the School District half way from their initial request. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilwoman McGhaney, seconded by Councilwoman Sanders, and unanimously carried by Council to provide Sumter School District with 6.0 mills for the upcoming fiscal year.  Council members Baten, Blanding, McGhaney, and Sanders voted in the affirmative.  Council members Byrd, Baker, and Edens voted in opposition.  The motion failed due to a lack of a super majority voting in the affirmative. 

NOTE:  The Chairman stated that any millage over five mills requires a 2/3 percent majority vote.   

Councilman Byrd asked if Sumter County Council received an answer on the bonds from Mr. Bynum.  He stated that he asked this question and has not yet received an answer.  Will the millage for bonds be higher or lower next year? 

Vice Chairman Blanding offered the following motion concerning the allowable mills without a two-thirds vote.   

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Blanding, seconded by Councilwoman Sanders, and unanimously carried by Council to provide Sumter School District with 5.0 mills for the upcoming fiscal year.  Council members Baten, Blanding, McGhaney, and Sanders voted in the affirmative.  Council members Byrd, Baker, and Edens voted in opposition.  The motion carried. 

Councilman Byrd stated that he is still interested in knowing how many bonds the Sumter School District will issue and how it will affect the citizens of Sumter County.  Chairman Baten asked School Board Chairman Larry Addison to respond to the question from Councilman Byrd concerning the bonds. 

Mr. Addison, the Chairman of Sumter School Board of Trustees, stated that he could not answer the questions. 

Vice Chairman Blanding asked to go on record that this whole process has not been positive.  The lack of cooperation, the delaying (sometimes) of receiving information, being able to verify information, and not having readily available to you.  Sumter County Council has been put in a box; this is not our normal process.  In the past, we have routinely approved the CPI and/or the growth rate was an automatic increase for the .  This time, Council is boxed into a corner.  Vice Chairman Blanding stated that he has already spoken to some of the Legislative Delegation members asking them to allow the Sumter School Board to have fiscal autonomy.   The School Board members are elected by the same people that Council members are elected by and those people can handle the financial matters.  The Vice Chairman stated that he does not like the way all of the budget process for the School Board was handled. 

Chairman Baten also gave comments concerning the budget process for the Sumter School Board.  He stated that he recently passed the site of Continental Tire, 300 plus acres, where they will build a 1,000,000 square foot facility.  The process is working but “we” are loosing faith in the process.  Chairman Baten further stated that the Penny for Progress has helped us to move forward.  Sumter County became more attractive for larger companies and Continental Tire decided on Sumter County.  He further stated that what Continental Tire wants from Sumter County is a workforce. They need technically trained workforce to fill their 2,000 jobs.  S. C. Governor Nikki Haley and S. C. Department of Commerce helped Sumter to secure Continental – Governor Haley walks-the-walk, and –talks-the-talk.  Sumter County talks about the need to have a trained workforce; but we do not want to walk-the-walk nor do we want to invest in the quality industry. 

(2)   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)   12-767 – Second 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. Johnathan Bryan presented this second reading request to Council concerning the execution and delivery of a fee agreement between Caterpillar, Inc. and Sumter County, South Carolina.  This is an agreement concerning the expansion of Caterpillar, Inc.  This proposed agreement is similar to the initial agreement that County Council passed several years ago regarding Caterpillar’s selecting Sumter as its site.   The agreement involves a six percent tax assessment for 20 years. 

The Chairman then convened a public hearing on this matter.  After the public hearing, Council took action on second reading. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Vice Chairman Blanding, seconded by Councilman Baker, and unanimously carried by Council to defer second reading until Council’s next meeting on July 12, 2012.

(2)   12-768 – Second Reading -- An Ordinance Authorizing The Transfer Of Property On Northgate Drive And Lynette Drive, Sumter, SC.

Mr. Bryan stated that this is an initiative that came from the Development Board.  There is an entity known as Klin Direct; they are manufacturing and recycling its chemicals and is known by a group called Lynette LLC.  The purpose for acquiring this additional property is to allow the company to expand their operations, investment, and jobs.

The Chairman asked if there were any questions from Council; there were no questions from Sumter County Council members.  Chairman Baten convened a public hearing; however, no one spoke during the public hearing. Once the public hearing was closed, Council took action on second reading. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Baker, seconded by Councilman Byrd, and unanimously carried by Council to grant second reading approval to this proposed ordinance.

(5)   12-766 – Third 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

The County Attorney presented this proposed ordinance to Council and asked Council to defer third reading. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Vice Chairman Blanding, seconded by Councilman Byrd, and unanimously carried by Council to defer third reading as presented. 

(6)   12-765 -– Third 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.

The Chairman introduced this matter before Council, and then he asked the County Administrator to make further comments about this ordinance.  Mr. Gary Mixon stated that after numerous budget workshops and two other public meetings, Council is receiving a balanced budget of $40,257,328.

Councilman Edens stated that he has been in conversation with Sumter County’s Legislative Delegation members in Columba, and he believes it would be good to defer third reading on this ordinance until June 28 or 29, 2012.  It is looking better for the Counties to receive an increase from the State in the Local Government Fund. 

ACTION:  MOTION was made by Councilman Edens, seconded by Councilman Baker, and carried by Council to defer third reading approval to this proposed ordinance amendment.  Vice Chairman Blanding voted in opposition.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

(1)   Personnel/Technology Committee Meeting Held On Tuesday, June 26, 2012, At 4:30 P.M. In Sumter County Administration Building, County Council’s Conference Room– (Baten, Blanding, And Edens).

The Chairman of the meeting did not give a report; however, Council asked the County Administrator and the Assistant County Administrator to update Council on a later date concerning rehiring retired employees from the Sheriff’s Department and other departments within the County.  Once a policy is developed, Council will receive a copy for review, approval, revision, etc.

(2)   Budget Workshop Meeting of Sumter County Council Tuesday, June 26, 2012, at 5:00 P.M. Report From Council Members On Other Meetings, Trainings, And/Or Conferences

No report was given; information can be seen in a separate set of minutes concerning this workshop. 

MONTHLY REPORTS: 

  • Sheriff’s Department
  • The Library

ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT: 

  • Clint Ford, former employee of Sumter County, passed away this morning.  Mr. Ford’s son is the Fire Chief.  Arrangements will be made soon and that information will be sent to Council members. 

PUBLIC COMMENT: 

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

  • Gardner Gore, citizen of Sumter County asked Council to reconsider building the Law Enforcement Center on Highway 15 North. This is going against studies that Council paid for in the past that recommended the Law Enforcements to stay together.  He also said that there are many things that the County spends wrongly; however, he is in support of the school spending. 
  • Curtis Singleton asked Council to help the community in South Sumter by repairing things at the South Sumter Gym.  He read a letter detailing the needs of the community such as; replacing a leaky roof, replacing the gym floor, install a security system, purchasing ping-pong tables, pool tables, creating a game room, obtaining a grant to renovate the kitchen to include a commercial stove and hood, replace basketball goals and backboards, obtain a grant to expand the building for meeting rooms, picnic tables, and a computer lab.
  • Patty Wilson stated that she asked Council to consider the request from the South Sumter Gym.
  • Lorretta Holt stated that she is adamantly against any tax increase and especially for the schools.  She also said that her children attend private school and she pays $3,000 per year to send her kids to school. It is $12,000 per year to educate a child in the public schools.  There is a Day Care Center for children at the public school; which is a waste of taxpayer’s money. 
  • Sam Lowey stated that he is very disappointed in Council on making a decision about the School District and not having all the information on the School.  He also talked about the taxes, other fees, etc.  He said that he is not in support of any tax increase. 
  • C. K. Duncan stated that he is a taxpayer, a small business owner, and he pays other county fees.  He said he is against any tax increase on him and all citizens of Sumter County. 
  • Jean Schmidt stated that she is a native of Sumter County.  She talked to Council about her concern with the operation and administration of the Sumter School District. 
  • Calvin Bennett said that the previous gentleman may have a point, let us dumb-down our kids, let us become a Bishopville.  Mr. Bennett was appreciative of what Sumter County gave the school district, but had hoped that Council would have done more. 
  • James Samuel stated that the increased taxes do hurt, but we must consider the children. 

 

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 Edens, seconded by Councilman Baker, and unanimously carried by Council.


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