County lifts employee hiring freeze
Written by Jerry E. Halmon   

A budget freeze on employee hiring implemented for the period between February 2012 and June 30, 2012 was lifted by Council members at their May 7, meeting, Monday night. It was noted in lifting the employee part of the freeze that that there would be no change in the freeze on the County’s operational expenditures and employment hiring would only pertain to replacement employees and not new employees. It was also noted in discussions that the recommendation coming out of Council’s finance commission and related to a personnel matter in the treasurer’s office that the hiring freeze should be implemented in full or not all. As a result of lifting the employee hiring freeze vacancies in the EMS and Treasurers could be advertised for “tomorrow” those two department heads who were in attendance at the meeting were told.

Also during the meeting:

• In reference to the proposed Wellness Park to be located on Hwy 78 between Bamberg and Denmark, Councilman Clair Guess said," It is unwise to invest time and money on a project that has no plans that have been approved. There is no money in the budget to operate the project. This is the tail wagging the dog." Chairman Chris Wilson said council needs to put it on the June agenda and come back with details.

• In discussing the second reading of the County’s proposed Fiscal Year July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2012 Budget it was noted that budget figure had increased from $7,050,000 the first reading (approximately) to $7,127,826 the second reading. It was noted that line items including travel for County Council was put back at $14,000; $15,000 for a van for the County Coroner; $30,000 for legal fees and $35,000 in matching funds for grants for the Family Circle Water Project were included.

“We asked for real figures,” Council-Vice Chair Alzena Robinson said. “The budget has to be realistic,” Council Chairman Chris Wilson, noted. Council members Wilson and Clint Carter voted against the budget while Council members, Robinson, Isaiah Odom, Evert Comer Jr., Clair Guess and Larry Haynes voted for the budget. The next budget work session is scheduled for May 14.

• In the County’s Financial Report it was reported that revenues for the month of March were $556,203 and expenditures for the month of April was $493,312.

• In the Administrator’s report it was noted that an announcement on the family Circle Grant application could come in July with the earliest possible startup date of the project coming in January of 2013.

• Council members approved a resolution in Memory of Mrs. Ruby Ann Manigault Williams that was sponsored by Councilman Larry Haynes of District 3.

• Cindy Hurst, Committee Chair of the Committee to Promote Bamberg County presented Joyce Searson, Publisher of The Advertizer- Herald with a check for $100 on Searson being declared the winner of the slogan contest promoting Bamberg County. Searson’s slogan was: “Bamberg County, where leaders are born and tradition never dies.” There were 27 entries in the contest.