Edition: 10-17-2012
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County experiences $285,000 shortfall first quarter of fiscal year

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

Bamberg County recorded an approximately $285,000 first quarter shortfall in expenses over revenues in its 2012-2013 budget according to information reported at Monday night’s October, County Council meeting. County officials expect revenues from local fund revenues and delinquent taxes to pick up the last three months of this year with tax notices having been sent out recently.

County Council member Clair Guess citing a “cash accounting” statement from the Bamberg County Treasurer’s Office for September, noted the statement indicated the, “cash on hand for all operations including school bond and everything else,” is $1.6 million, with checks outstanding currently $2.984 million almost $3 million. “Looks like we’re $1.3 or $1.4 million out of whack, current cash versus checks outstanding,” Guess said. “Are we in any jeopardy?” Guess asked. Guess stated that he was "making sure we understand the severity” of the problem. “I don’t want y'all to be caught off guard and face a bigger problem,” he said.

Interim County Administrator Booker Patrick stated, “I’m concerned,” in noting he expected revenues to pick up the last three months of this year. Bamberg County Council Chairman Chris Wilson acknowledged the difficult financial situation the county faces. “We are no question operating in a tough cash position,” Wilson said, adding, “Council will keep monitoring the cash situation on a daily basis.” Wilson, while acknowledging the approximately $285,000 shortfall in the 2012-2013 budget, said he too expected revenues to pick up with tax collections in October, November and December and local fund revenues received in October and delinquent taxes.

The budget shortfall discussion followed a report by County Finance Director Thomas M. Thomas, where he noted the county’s total revenue collected in September was $249,290. Total revenue collected to-date amounted to $1,225,029. Monthly expenses amounted to $489,561, which consisted of $138,000 in payroll and $350,700 in accounts payable. Thomas noted the awarding of a bid for $220,446 obtained through a grant to Lawn Fencing Company for the construction of a security fence at the Bamberg County Airport. It was noted the contractor has up to 90-days to finish the project, with a projected completion date on December 30, 2012.

Also during the meeting under old business: in discussion of proposed health benefit coverage for Bamberg County employees with a minimum of 30-years employment, County Council members approved a motion to terminate the retirees health benefits provided under the previous policy. The motion to terminate the previous policy included language to have County Attorney Richard Ness see if provisions can be made up to one year to pay the coverage of retiring Probate Judge Nancy Green has now and “re-craft the policy in a meaningful fashion if at all.”

According to council members a transcription error incorrectly stated the county would cover the retirees health benefits of employees with 28- years of continuous or age 55 until the employee reached Medicare eligibility. The projected cost of funding the program under those guidelines would be $7,300 per year to $21,000 per year in years one through seven of the program. Presently the county has two to six employees that may fall under that category at a cost of $3,600.

Sellers and Hutto deliver education checks

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

State Representative Bakari Sellers and Senator Brad Hutto came to Bamberg County on Monday, October 15th in order to personally deliver a combined $450,000 in education funds to Denmark-Olar Middle School and Denmark Technical College.

At their first stop, the two legislators presented a $200,000 check to District Two Superintendent Dr. Thelma Sojourner and Denmark-Olar Middle School Principal Daryl Brockington at Denmark-Olar Middle School. Hutto stated the $200,000 the district received was money it should’ve gotten in last year’s budget to assist them in this year’s budget.

Dr. Sojourner noted one thing the funds would be used for would be an after school program, and would fund transportation and teachers stipends. She also noted the funds would be used for more technology in the middle school. “We are most appreciative,” Dr. Sojourner said, adding the district was told last year they would receive the funds and was later told they wouldn’t receive the money. Brockington noted “every dime of the money will be used to further our kids education.”

Sellers said the presentation was just a part of his job. "This is what we are here for. This is our job nothing more, nothing less. We have to go up there and advocate and be an effective advocate for our community,” Sellers said.

The second stop the two legislators made Monday morning was the campus of Denmark Technical College, where they presented a check for $250,000 to college President Dr. Joanna Boyd-Scotland.

“I’m so appreciative to our legislative delegation,” Boyd- Scotland said. Boyd-Scotland noted the college “really needed” the funds because the present structure for taking care of the college changed. “We had no funds to take care of the facilities, the way the finances were structured,” she added. She noted the way the finances of the college were structured, funds were being “depleted each day.”

“The legislative delegation took the initiative in securing funds and they have promised to do more because they realize this institution is much needed and the facilities are old facilities that must be kept up.”

Red Raiders take region win over Red Devils

Jerry E. Halmon, Sports Editor

The Bamberg-Ehrhardt Red Raiders came away with a hard-fought 41-14 victory over a big physical Wade Hampton Red Devil football team that came into Leon Maxwell Stadium Friday night on a nine game losing streak but looked otherwise. While acknowledging his team faced a “big, physical and well coached” opponent Friday night, B-E Head Coach Kevin “Butch” Crosby said the thing that most concerned him about his team was lack of discipline. “Discipline right now is our biggest problem,” Crosby said, adding, “it has nothing to do with ability; we’ve got to get better with discipline and practice and play with it.”

The Red Raiders (7-1,2-1) got on the score board first at 7:49 of the first period on six yard run by D. J. Odom, making the score 7-0 B-E after a Matt Maxwell PAT was good. The Red Devils would respond with a seven-yard touchdown run at 4:12 of the first making the score 7-6 B-E. At the 9:22 mark of the second quarter the B-E junior combination of Sumner Cooler and K.C. Crosby would connect on an 87-yard pass play making the score 14-6 B-E after another Maxwell PAT. The Red Devils would respond five minutes later with a score making it 14-14. At 3:52 of the second quarter Devondree Williams, who rushed for 137-yards on 17 totes in the game scored on a 65-yard touchdown run making the score 21-14 B-E and giving the 7th ranked Red Raiders a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

After B-E senior Lan Hiers tackle that caused a fumble, which was recovered by Jeremy Davis, Cooler and Crosby connected again on a 16- yard pass play making the score 27-14 B-E at the break. “Offensively we played fairly well, defensively we still have to be held accountable for the things that you do. I’m pleased with some of the things we did and not pleased with some of the things we didn’t do either,” Crosby said. “I’m excited about the victory, anytime you get a win; it keeps us right in there in second place.”

In the third quarter, B-E senior Landon Sandifer’s 65- yard punt return at the 10:22 mark made the score 34-14 B-E after another Maxwell PAT. B-E junior quarterback Sumner Cooler’s five yard run with 3:56 left in the fourth quarter made the score 41-14 B-E after Maxwell’s final PAT of the game.

AJA defeats Beaufort

Mike Hall

The Andrew Jackson Academy Varsity Football team put an end to a 20-game losing streak Friday night by picking up their first win on the season with a 20-12 win over Beaufort Academy in Beaufort. The Confederates (1-7) used a stellar defensive effort and touchdown runs from Freshmen Riley Ackerman, Joseph Stanfield, and Christian Lee to defeat the Eagles.

Other Scores

The JDA Raiders fell to (2- 6, 1-4) on the season after a 58-38 loss to Greenwood Christian.

With leading rusher Xavier Reed sidelined due to illness the Denmark-Olar Vikings fell to the Estill Gators 40-8 Friday night in Estill. The Vikings fell to a record of (3-6,3-2) on the season.