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We are going to make it work Print E-mail

During the regular scheduled meeting of the Bamberg County Council that was held on February 8th, finance director Thomas Thomas reported that the budget was tight for the remainder of the fiscal year. “But, we are going to make it work,” he said. “On the revenue side, we have collected YTD 39% of our projected annual revenue amount($7,668,651). We have collected in total $858,620 for the month of December 2010 with a collected YTD revenue at $3,028,390.

Thomas reported on the expenditures side, “we have expensed YTD 57% of our total projected expenditures budget. Our total monthly expenditures for January 2011 was $747,140 with a current YTD expenditure at $4,353,287. Our remaining total balance for the rest of the fiscal yr is $3,315,363”.

During the month of January the County had to address several deferred maintenance projects relating to several county buildings such as new roofing for the Health Department, the Magistrate’s office and Sheriff building.

Thomas said his department will continue to “monitor our line items on a regular basis in order to continue to manage our expenses within our appropriate budget”.

County Councilman Chris Wilson said progress for the tricounty hospital initiative is in the “due diligence” process with the Chief Executive Officers of all of the hospitals (Bamberg, Barnwell and Allendale.) Wilson said this has to be done before Council can move forward. “This process will take a couple of months and until this is done, we will not have any reportable progress, (on the hospital). Bamberg County Hospital Chairperson Lou Ann Carter formally introduced Bamberg County Hospital Administrator Cliff Bauer to the public and recently hired hospital CFO Drew Wood who came from Beaufort with over 14 years in financial management experience.

Council Chairman Clint Carter reported that he and others met with Ehrhardt Town Council to hear representatives discuss the possibility of bringing a Family Health Center Medical practice to Ehrhardt. Carter said for the time being, the only thing that he promised the representative was moral support. “They have an office in Denmark and according to them, they refer all of their patients to the Bamberg County Hospital,” he noted. Wilson said, “we need to support medical care for Ehrhardt.” Carter said the group was also interested in seeing a drugstore in Ehrhardt.

Kell Anderson, of the South Carolina rural Development Association told Bamberg County Council that he is working with the Bamberg County Economic Development Commission on several projects that he hopes will bring jobs soon to the county. Anderson said one of three projects that he is pursing is “Project Brick.”

“This company is looking at Bamberg County as a possible job site.” Anderson said Bamberg County representatives will be meeting with the company next week.

Anderson said a second project is “Project Wolfe”. He said “Project Wolfe” is one of the wood processing clusters and this company has a very specific set of requirements. Anderson said he is currently assessing the project for cost benefits. “This company could also bring 150 jobs to the county if Bamberg County is selected as a site.

The third and final project that Anderson overviewed was Project Hulk. Anderson said, “I am not sure how successful we will be with this one, but it is worth the effort to invest time in recruiting them. He said the average salary for the jobs are about $40,000 a year. Anderson said he should know where the County stands with recruitment efforts in about six months.

Anderson also reported that the Bamberg County Wellness Park is still in development. “We need to accumulate some vital statistics before moving forward,” he said.

Council also approved the Bamberg County Hazard Mitigation Plan for Bamberg County. Details about the plan were presented by Emergency Services Director Sharon Hammond and Amanda Sievers from Lower Savannah Council of Government. Hammond said FEMA has already approved the plan. Among other things, “the plan helps Bamberg County with grant opportunities,” Hammond noted. Consideration for request must be made every five years.

During public comments, Ron Moulder, expressed concern that the county’s personnel manual on the county’s website was password protected. No one was able to explain why a password was needed to see the manual. However, Dobson-Elliot said she would check into the matter. Moulder also complained that the financial audit that was supposed to be available in September is not available yet. Thomas said a preliminary audit should be available in March. Councilman Claire Guess said it is hard to get a report from the auditors in a timely manner, unless you are paying them a lot of money. Moulder responded, “if you know that, don’t advertise that the report will be available in September when you know it’s not going to be.” Moulder also wanted reassurance that the hospital was not going to be a tax burden to the citizens. Wilson responded, “I know it’s been a lot of controversy about the hospital, but there will not be any tax payer assessments for construction. We are moving forward to try to relieve citizens from a tax burden. Wilson said the “for profit” facility will be expected to commit to treating those who are medically indigent. Guess added, "this is a process that takes a long time to go through. We are in the process of having prospective buyers look at our records. But right now, the hospital is our responsibility”.

In other business:

John Kinsey made a request for a crossover for a four lane road on 301 South. Rose Dobson-Elliot said she had already put Kinsey in touch with Gene Crider and he is going through the process now.

Council referred a request for funds from the County Election Commission to the Finance Committee.

Dobson-Elliot reported that the county is in the process of hiring an animal control officer.

Craig Walker, the director of the Bamberg City league presented council members with official shooting shirts from the program in appreciation for their support. Walker said the program has about 150 participants that represent all areas of the county. The shirts can also be purchased for $12 each. Several council members donated their shirts back to the program to be sold.

Several presentations were made to council members and employees. The Advertizer Herald will publish those presentations next week.

 
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