C Fund to pay for road projects; courthouse repairs, other work in progress
Bamberg County is seeking to use money from the County Fund C Committee to repair, maintain and improve county roads.
The Bamberg County Fund C Committee distributes paving funds generated by the state gasoline tax.
County Administrator Joey Preston reported at a council meeting last week that the county has several Fund C committee projects underway, the largest being road improvements within the Technical College of the Denmark.
“It’s not just about resurfacing a road. We’re talking about making it look like a college campus,” he said. The works include crosswalks for pedestrian safety.
“We’re trying to get Dominion to work with us on interior campus lighting,” Preston said.
The administrator said Salty Road and Lazy Lane, which had major drainage problems, should be gravelled.
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“This work, the paving work at Denmark Tech, combined with the paving work we are doing at the (old) hospital, we will bid together to try and get the best price,” Preston said. .
“The Fund C committee has also allocated gravel money for the county, which I think is good practice. We were able to go out and carve a few little roads and serve a lot of people. It’s something we didn’t have before. So we are working well with them at the moment. We’ll have another meeting before too long,” the administrator said.
Preston also informed the council of the county’s transformation of its former hospital into a multi-service complex.
“They are inside the building. They are progressing quite well. We believe the Law Enforcement Center will likely be the first part of this building to be completed indoors. You will see exterior work in progress on this side of the building to coincide with the work that has been completed. So the sheriff will probably be the first to be able to move in, ”he said.
“The second part of this is going to be the Department of Health and Veterans Affairs. It will come a little later, not much,” Preston said.
The county courthouse renovation project is underway.
“We completely emptied it, and they started removing asbestos. All permits have been applied for. When DHEC gives us approval, we will come in and start removing asbestos,” he said.
The project will then be the subject of a call for tenders.
“Based on the construction process, we work with the architects and engineers to find the best way to approach it. You can do small parts of it at a time, or you can do it all at once,” Preston said.
The admin has also given the following dates and times for upcoming events:
• Board Retreat at 9:00 a.m. Friday, October 7 in the County Airport Boardroom
• County Fire Brigade Banquet at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, November 4 at Ghents Branch Baptist Church in Denmark
• Inauguration of the Denmark Fire Station at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, October 11 in the community of Jamisonville
Preston also reported that the SC State 1890 Research and Extension Program is looking for agricultural assistants to work on its 200-acre research and demonstration farm at 1678 Alligator Road in Olar.
County Treasurer Alice Johnson presented the July financial report, showing the county had revenues of $200,975.64 and expenses of $1,219,857.54, leaving a negative balance of $1,018,881.90 $.
When the positive bank balance at the end of July ($154,673.62) was added, the county regular account stood at a negative balance of $864,208.28.
Councilor Sharon Hammond asked, “Why do we have such a large deficit?
Johnson said: “There are a lot of bills coming due in July which is not the right time for them to be due. … It’s not when our tax revenues are at a very good level.
County Chief Financial Officer TM Thomas said the county general fund had year-to-date revenue at the end of July of $171,681, with expenses of $719,524, for a negative general fund balance of $547,843.
He said county departments continue to operate within their budgets.
County Comptroller Gina Smith said the county is working to prepare its books for the annual audit.
Bamberg County resident Miriam Beard asked for a report on “airport operations and revenues therefrom.” She also questioned why some of the $2 million in US federal Rescue Plan Act funds received by the county could not be used to fund the creation of an animal control department.
“It’s a quality of life issue here in Bamberg County,” Beard said.
Beard said some county citizens were upset that none of the council members attended a Sept. 6 open forum hosted by The Concerned Citizens of Bamberg County in Ehrhardt.
“They want to ask questions. They want transparency. … They want to know what’s going on. You see all these projects going on, and no one has answers for them,” Beard said.
Councilman Clint Carter, the only council member to speak about their absence, said his daughter, a high school student, had a volleyball game he didn’t want to miss.
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