• Sumter County Council's Sept. 14, 2021, meeting

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    Sumter County Council Tuesday evening’s meeting lasted about an hour as land use matters, ordinances, economic development issues and a moratorium were all subjects of discussion and deliberation.

    City-County Planning Director Helen Roodman spoke about a request to rezone .62 acres of land at 614 Floride Street from Residential-9 (R-9) to Light Industrial-Warehouse (LI-W).

    Third reading was approved unanimously.

    A request from the Planning Department to amend minimum setback requirements for communication towers and antennae in residential zoning districts had no changes since second reading, she said.

    Third reading was approved unanimously.

    Franny Heizer of Burr Forman spoke to Council about an ordinance authorizing the issuance and sale of a $1.3 million Waterworks System Refunding Revenue Bond.

    She said the goal is to refinance existing debt of the Wedgefield-Stateburg Rural Community Water District. There are three outstanding bonds, she said, which are USDA loans which could be consolidated and refinanced with lower interest rates to see a net savings of about $200,000.

    No one spoke during a Public Hearing and second reading was approved unanimously.

    Roodman then updated Council about the County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan and the progress thereof. An annual recertification process is underway, she said, and the plan has been submitted to auditors.

    Roodman then spoke about an ordinance to declare a Public Safety Emergency in response to a discovery of one or more discrepancies in the Sumter County Zoning and Development Standards Ordinance and the implementation of a Moratorium on applications for “Drinking Place” uses under the Standard Industrial Classification Code section 7299 effective Sept. 14, 2021.

    Council members then heard an annual update of the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition from Terrence Whitfield and Andrew Coston.

    Coston said since 2016, 489 people have come through their program, which aims to engage fathers in the positive support of their children and to enhance support for fatherhood throughout the Midlands.

    Since the program’s inception, the County has saved over $5 million in incarceration costs, he said, noting that incarcerated fathers can’t pay child support.

    More information here: https://www.midlandsfathers.com/

    Sumter County Attorney Johnathan Bryan then spoke about the Moratorium regarding drinking places and noted the definitions regarding drinking places and special event places were inadequate.

    Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Randall Stewart spoke to Council on behalf of Sheriff Anthony Dennis and Stewart noted that the SCSO wholeheartedly supports the request to institute the Moratorium.

    After some discussion, Vice-Chairman Jimmy Byrd made a motion to approve the Moratorium while also putting the issue before an undetermined committee of Council.

    The motion was approved unanimously.

    Bryan then spoke about a Resolution supporting the reaffirmation of a Fee-in-Lieu of Taxes (FILOT) agreement between Sumter County and Porter’s Group LLC, which is now Maysteel Porter’s LLC.

    The Resolution was approved unanimously.

    Council Chairman James T. McCain Jr. then spoke about first reading of an ordinance requiring individuals to wear face coverings in Sumter County, in title only.

    Councilman Eugene Baten made a motion to defer the ordinance, which was approved unanimously.

    McCain then spoke briefly about first reading of an ordinance to require employees of Sumter County Government to receive the Covid-19 vaccine prior to Jan. 1, 2022.

    No action was taken on that matter.

    Councilman Carlton Washington reported on an earlier Public Safety Committee meeting, during which information was given from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office about the proposed mask ordinance.

    Washington said more legal recommendations would be needed before proceeding.

    Vice Chairman Jimmy Byrd reported on an earlier Internal Affairs Committee meeting, during which Kevin Robinson was nominated to the Crystal Lakes Golf Course Advisory Board.

    Robinson’s nomination was approved by Council.

    McCain said the Fiscal, Tax and Property Committee meeting met earlier. The Sumter Economic Development team gave a presentation, he said, for informational purposes only and no action was taken.

    Councilwoman Vivian Fleming-McGhaney said the Technology/Personnel Committee met earlier and held a discussion during Executive Session. No action was taken, she said.

    McCain said a Special Meeting was also held earlier and a presentation was given by Assistant Administrator Lorraine Dennis and Finance Director Uvette Pope-Rogers. Council approved staff to move forward with a program to distribute grants under the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

    Council also approved Bryan to send a letter to the S.C. Attorney General regarding an opioid lawsuit.

    Washington advocated for Sumter County residents having more frequent interactions with the Public Works Department.

    County Administrator Gary Mixon said Council approved $500,000 for community mini-grants in the amount of $15,000. The public will have the opportunity to apply for those grants online next week, he said.

    Baten then asked about the Executive Order requiring employers with 100 or more employees to vaccinate their workforce. Mixon said additional information is forthcoming regarding that process.

    PUBLIC COMMENTS

    Sumter County residents advocated for grants to be used for home repairs, including Rodney Brunson and Eloise McGee.

    Frank Kelly advocated for more maintenance to occur along Arthur Gayle Road.
    Dr. Brenda Williams advocated for using ARPA funds for less fortunate residents.