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“There is plenty of money out there,” Bamberg County Administrator Rose Dobson-Elliott informed Bamberg County Council members at their April 6 meeting (referring to the federal stimulus package passed by congress). Dobson-Elliott stated that she attended two recent stimulus package meetings and was informed that while some of the larger cities in the state receive their stimulus money directly, and have already began spending money, Bamberg County must follow the same process it has in the past.

“It’s coming down to us on the same vehicles, (USDA, LSCOG), the same process to receive the stimulus funds, we must put an application together, some funds have already hit the streets, those places are their own Entitlement Zones,” Dobson-Elliott said, citing cities such as Columbia, Greenville, Spartanburg, the City of Charleston, and Aiken as examples of cities that are already spending stimulus money.

“They receive their funds directly, those areas have planning departments, they have paving programs, they have their plans done, still, all of ours comes through places like (USDA, and LSCOG) and we’ve got to go through the same application process,” she said noting that Bamberg County has to compete against a number of smaller municipalities for funds.

Dobson-Elliott stated that there were several things the county had to have in place when submitting an application for grant money, citing the Fair Housing Resolution approved by council as an example. “There is a check off list, and you must have them or it can delay your receiving the funds,” she said.

Council member Rev. Isaiah Odom asked if being a member of the Southern Carolina Alliance qualified the county to be considered as an Entitlement Zone as that was its’ purpose for joining. Council members agreed to look into Rev. Odom suggestion.

Also during the meeting:

Council heard presentations from the 2009 D.A.R.E. Essay Contest Winners and presented each one of them with a trophy. 2009-D.A.R.E. Contest Winners are : Andrew Jackson Academy, Joseph Stanfield; Denmark-Olar Elementary School, Joshua Brown, Mervin Ford, Jr., Kaleisha Rice, Ryan Coleman; Richard Carroll Elementary School, Kaitlyn Myers, Tatyona Thompson, Ralph Wallace Rentz, Jonathan Williams.

Council members received an original Jim Harrison farm print from Shannon Herndon, Bamberg County 4-H representative and 4-H Club members to help celebrate its 100th year in South Carolina.

Council passed a resolution recognizing April 7, 2009 as Elizabeth Evelyn Wright-Menafee Day in Bamberg County.

Council members heard a report from Patrick Ciez, of USC Salkehatchie on the finding of a study on tourism in the five county areas of Bamberg, Barnwell, Allendale, Hampton, and Colleton. Ciez reported that tourism has a $28 million impact in the five county areas. The activities most involved are: Food, Shopping, and Lodging, followed by camping, hunting, fishing, and nature based tourism, the arts, golf, and festivals. He stated that the group would be meeting with local and area businesses to see how they promoted tourism.

Council heard a report from BCHNC CEO Roy Vinson, who reported that the facility is looking at a May 1st closing date on the sale of the nursing center. Vinson reported that year-to-date expenses for the facility were down $1.6million, with a net income for February of $97,000, which represents a year-to-date upswing of $400,000 on the positive side, compared to last year this time when the facility showed negative $1.7 million bottom line. Vinson warned council though, “we’re still not out of the woods.”

Council approved on second reading an amendment to the Bamberg County Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance.

Council approved the appointment of Donald Parker of Denmark to the Lower Savannah Workforce Development Board to replace Lyle Retherford.

Council members approved the appointment of Teresa Nimmons to the Bamberg County Library Board representing council district #6.

Council members approved ratification of a resolution declaring March 22, as Walter E. “Pete” Brooker Day in Bamberg County. Council member Clint Carter voted opposed stating that he had not received his packet before the meeting.

 
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