Bamberg County Council renews Administrator contract
Written by Jerry E. Halmon   

Bamberg County Council members gave their unanimous approval Monday night at their regular September meeting to a recommendation coming from the County’s Personnel and Finance Committees that County Administrator Joey Preston (Preston Consulting, LLC) (“Contractor”) contract be renewed for another year.

“We think he has been doing an outstanding job,” Chairwoman Alzena Robinson said at the Thursday, morning September 5, committee meeting held in the Hooten Black House. “The only thing I’ am afraid of is we’re not giving him enough money to keep him for a longtime, but we’re going to do our best to keep him,” Robinson added, noting that Preston’s contract with the county runs from October to October.

The “Independent Contractor” Agreement between Preston and the county calls for a salary of $101,870.00 per year payable in 26 installments of $3,918.08 which shall be considered for renewal on an annual basis. The contract notes that the “Contractor” is not eligible to receive benefits consideration. The “Contractor” shall be responsible for all expenses related to cellular phone, internet access and fuel for activities performed for the county under the agreement.

The contractor will carry liability insurance (including malpractice insurance if warranted) relative to any service that he performs for the county. The County shall contribute $3,130.00 toward the payment of the insurance for the contractor. The agreement notes that the administrator shall advise “all council members” in writing ninety (90) days prior to the contract’s expiration.

Also during Monday night’s meeting: Bamberg County Treasurer Alice P. Johnson gave an update on the county’s tax collections. Johnson noted the county collected $360,000 “just in taxes” for the previous period with the county’s portion being $85,000 or 24 percent. Johnson noted the county had a “very good month” of motor vehicle and delinquent taxes.

County finance director Thomas M. Thomas reported the county had “a lean month” in revenue collections which he said was the “normal collection rate” during this time of the year. In August the General Fund collected $280,403 and spent $526,882. The Special Revenue Fund that includes public works, fire service, E-911 and C-Funds collected $404,317 and spent $111,126. It was also noted the county’s budget is on-line.

Further in the meeting things got a little testy when Chairperson Robinson noted that Kell Anderson of SCRDA would not be making his report due to a personal matter. “We pay them (SCRDA) a bunch of money and he feels like he can’t be here tonight,” Councilmember Trent Kinard taking exception to Anderson’s absence said. Chairperson Robinson addressing those in attendance stated “everybody gets sick you can’t control that, when a personal conflict comes up. Let’s not blow things out of proportion with all this craziness.” Kinard replied “ I don’t appreciate that, when I have a question I will ask it.”

Also In the meeting council members: Gave second reading to a proposed Ordinance to approve the 2013 Solid Waste Management Plan for Bamberg County which will be sent to DHEC. The ordinance also calls for establishing and imposing a $70.00 solid waste fee on residents living in single family dwellings in the county. Council members gave first reading approval to a proposed ordinance to accept policies and procedures of the Bamberg County Council. Council members also approved a resolution providing professional insurance coverage for members of the non-profit board overseeing the Installment Purchase Plan of Finance for the county.

In the public comments portion of the meeting: Cathy Griffin, a volunteer with MAMAS appeared before council and asked if something could be done to improve Slow Pitch Road that leads to the animal shelter, as the condition of the road discourages people from coming to the shelter to adopt animals. Griffin noted the road collects, “a considerable amount of water,” and grading doesn’t hold up. She asked if council would consider “black topping” or putting gravel on the road to help the center adopt more of its animals. “People can’t come see the animals because the roads are washed out,” Griffin said adding, “it’s very discouraging when people see this river.”

Betty Singleton had a question about the proposed $70.00 solid waste fee. She was informed the fee is just on houses and apartments and not on commercial businesses.

Michael Duval asked what would happen to the BCMH Board when the matter with the hospital is resolved. He was informed by county attorney Richard Ness that the board must finish its work with the bankruptcy case and liquidation of hospital assets. “They will function for a while longer, they are still serving,” Ness said.

The Rev. Rufus Jamison wanted to know if council could do something about Dollie Road. “Nothing has been done,” Rev. Jamison said.