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County implements close to $296,000 in budget cuts Print E-mail
Written by Jerry E. Halmon   

Bamberg County has implemented close to $296,000 in budget cuts so far this budget year and has placed a freeze on hiring any new employees. Bamberg County Finance Director Thomas M. Thomas told Council members at a special call meeting Thursday evening, that the cuts are spread across 30-different line items in the budget.

While the budget freeze doesn’t prevent departments from hiring personnel that is already budgeted for, items such as: operations, supplies, uniforms, equipment and travel are frozen in the proposed budget ordinance that was approved through June 30, 2012.

“Not a single cut was on the back of an employee,” Councilman Clair Guess said, noting that he wanted to clear that up for Sheriff Ed Darnell, who asked Council in a special called meeting last week not to balance its budget on the backs of the county’s employees.

Also during the special call meeting on Thursday:

• After a public hearing in which no comments were made, Council members agreed to table action on the following items until its June 11th meeting:

• Council members agreed to table third reading of consideration of a proposed Ordinance for the acceptance of a lease agreement with Verizon Wireless. The agreement is to lease a portion of the Verizon tower in the county that would “fill in gaps in customer service.” The terms of the agreement would be for five years with automatic renewals for a total of 20-years. It was noted that the County would receive revenue of $1,500 per month, which would increase 10 percent every five years.

Council vice chair Alzena Robinson, who presided over the meeting, said that there was one clause in the proposed agreement with Verizon that Interim County Administrator Booker Patrick and Finance Director Thomas M. Thomas needed to clear up to make sure the County was protected.

• Council also tabled third reading of a proposed Ordinance authorizing the County to enter into an incentive agreement regarding the proposed future hospital in the County.

• Council members tabled a third reading of a proposed Ordinance authorizing the County to create a Multi-County Regional Healthcare Park between Bamberg and Barnwell Counties. The agreement would “create the park itself” and would allow the two counties to share the revenues and cost associated with the hospital.

Under New Business:

• Council members approved a proposed resolution in memory of the late Bamberg School District One Principal/County Superintendent Martin L. Abel, who died recently. Council vice chair Alzena Robinson noted that Mr. Abel, who was a constituent in Council member Larry Haynes’ district, was the first African American County Superintendent and did a lot for the community.

• Council members scheduled a June 8, budget work session at 10:00am.

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