• Sumter County Council's Sept. 13, 2022, meeting

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    Sumter County Council Tuesday evening dealt with flood map issues and more during its regular meeting.
    Sumter City-County Zoning Administrator Jeff Derwort spoke about an ordinance amendment that would amend relevant portions of the Sumter County Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance to adopt the Black River Watershed maps and Flood Insurance Study revisions that become effective Oct. 27, 2022.
    The ordinance would make clarifications and corrections required for compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program, he said. After some discussion, first reading was approved.
    Sumter County Museum Executive Director Annie Rivers then introduced Molly Fortune, the executive director of the S.C. American Revolution Sestercentennial Commission. The Governor and Legislature have set up a Commission to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Revolution in South Carolina, she said. (More information is here: https://www.southcarolina250.com/)
    Council then approved a Resolution supporting the S.C. American Revolution Sestercentennial Commission and recognizing and establishing the Sumter County 250 Community Committee.
    Sumter County Attorney Johnathan Bryan spoke next about an ordinance to approve a utility easement over property located on West Wesmark Boulevard.
    Third reading was approved.
    Councilman Carlton Washington reported on an earlier Public Safety Committee meeting during which EMS Director Bobby Hingst briefed council members that recent changes have increased morale and improved service throughout the county. Washington also spoke about recent safety concerns for pedestrians crossing the highway in the area of North Pike East and U.S. 76/378. Temporary remedies were considered, as were long term solutions, he said.
    Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon then gave an update on the Capital Penny Sales Tax, first noting that new pamphlets have been printed and will be distributed throughout the community to inform voters about the proposed projects. Between now and the Nov. 8, 2022, Election Day, each Council meeting will be used to review the four categories of the proposed Penny Sales Tax Referendum – Public Safety, Infrastructure, Quality of Life and Public Buildings.
    County fire trucks, emergency radio upgrades for EMS/Fire/Police, a new Forensic Center for the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, city fire trucks and the Stadium Road Fire Station Renovation comprise the Public Safety category, he said.
    There’s 23 fire trucks throughout the county, he said, with an average age of 24 years. A Power Point presentation showed a photo of a fire truck at Dubose Siding Fire Station that’s been in service since the 1980s. This project area would provide five custom engines, six commercial engines, nine tankers and three service trucks and would cost $10 million.
    For the area of emergency radios and fire pagers, this is the communication system for EMS, Fire, and Law Enforcement, he said, which is vital and needs to be up to date as technology is continually changing. Total cost would be $8.8 million.
    City fire trucks would see the purchase of four trucks to service the City and local industries for $2.8 million.
    A new Forensics Center would replace the outdated facility behind the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office and would see the implementation of new technology. Total cost would be $2.5 million.
    The last area of Public Safety in the proposed third Capital Penny Sales Tax would be a renovation of the Stadium Road Fire Station, which is a joint EMS/Sumter Fire Department facility. Total cost would be $3 million.
    Councilman Washington thanked Mixon for the presentation and said the projects would benefit the whole county.
    Washington also reported he met recently with the new Sumter School District Superintendent, Dr. William Wright to discuss schools in rural areas of the county.
    During the Public Comments, a Wedgefield resident advocated for increased presence of law enforcement and repairing roads.
    A Sumter resident advocated for increased safety measures in the area of North Pike East and U.S. 76/378 and advocated for increasing bus routes through the area. Another resident advocated for debris removal in the Green Swamp in the event of another flood. Another resident advocated for the City and County forming a joint Codes Enforcement entity.
    Chairman McCain noted that counties do not have the same codes enforcement authority, as per state statutes. He’s been trying to get it changed, he said, and is actively working to do so.
    The meeting adjourned at 7:12 p.m.