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Public hearing on redistricting Print E-mail

In order to redraw county council district lines that are “a little more continuous” and “more uniform” Bamberg County Council members were presented with Bamberg County redistricting “Plan 2” for their consideration at their December 5, meeting. Like “Plan 1” which was presented to council members at their November 7, meeting and has already received first and second readings; Plan 2, which has not been voted on yet, must also have three reading and a public hearing that is scheduled for December 20 before it can be sent to the Justice Department for approval.

“We’ve got to do what the Justice Department will give its approval on,” noted Second District Council member Alzena Robinson, who saw the number of constituents in her district decrease from 2,319 in Plan 1 to 2,198 in Plan 2. It was also noted that Robinson’s district in Plan 2 no longer goes to Denmark, but now goes to Orange Grove and into a part of North Bamberg (Ujima Village Apartments). Other Council members saw the number of constituents in their districts change also, including Council member Chris Wilson, whose numbers increase from 2,269 in Plan 1 to 2,304 in Plan 2.

Bamberg County Administrator Rose Dobson-Elliott noted her concern in talking with Bobby Bowers, director of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board’s Office of Research and Statistics that given a submission deadline date of January 10, there would only be 60 days to make an appeal if the Justice Department found something wrong with the plan.

“We’re giving ourselves a slim margin to return if Justice finds something wrong,” Dobson-Elliott said.

Also during the meeting; Bamberg County Hospital CEO John Hales gave “highlights” of the hospital’s October 31, financials in which he noted the hospital’s net revenues increased “greatly.” In September the hospital’s net revenue increased from $308,665 to $469,455 in October. On the expenses side, the hospital cut its losses in half from $333,000 in September to $158,000. “We’re chipping away at it every month,” Hales said adding the administration of the hospital bringing the losses down and bringing in revenue to take care of the current expenses.

Further in the meeting:

• Council members heard a presentation from county resident Cindy Hurst on positive ways to promote Bamberg County. Hurst asked for council’s “help, endorsement, input and encouragement” in developing ways to promote Bamberg County, which she said she found out is a “wonderful treasurer.” Hurst noted that she has met with the mayors of all five municipalities in the county and suggested some things that might be good for the county including: A “Drive through Guide” so people driving through the county might notice its historical markers, which was noted was (still in the planning phase); A “Slogan and Logo Contest” used to promote Bamberg County and the development of a Bamberg County Brochure that tells the history of the county and its towns. Council member Chris Wilson said he thought the information presented by Hurst was “a good idea” for Bamberg County to brand itself and the municipalities working together made it even better. Wilson noted however that he thought the project was something the Heritage Corridor should be involved in. Hurst noted that the Heritage Corridor’s focus seems to be more on Aiken County.

• County finance director Thomas M. Thomas reported the county has collected year-to-date revenues of $2,108,768 and had expenditures of $2,840,597.

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