LEE COUNTY COUNCIL

REGULAR MEETING

FEBRUARY 14, 2017

FAMILY COURT ROOM– SECOND FLOOR OF THE COURTHOUSE

Members present were Travis Windham, Chairman; Gordon Eckley, Vice-Chairman; David Addison, member; Charles A. Beasley, member; Jackie Josey, member; Johnette Caughman, member; Ron Fountain, member. Staff present were Alan Watkins, Administrator; Julie Atkinson, Assistant Administrator; Thaddeus Dickey.  Others present were Will Johnson, Michael Kozlarek, Emily Washburn, Carrie Gass, Thompson Issac, Ray Alexander, Willlie Blyther, Pat Cater, Henry Carter, Wanda Andrews, Windi King, Queenie Boyd, Lyde Graham, Eva Durant.

PUBLIC HEARING

 The public hearing was opened at 9:30 a.m. on a motion made by Vice-Chairman, seconded by Councilperson Josey. Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried.  All voted in favor.

RDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE EXECUTION AND DELIVERY OF A FEE IN LIEU AGREEMENT BY AND BETWEEN LEE COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA AND SOUTH ATLANTIC CANNERS, INC PROVIDING FOR A PAYMENT OF A FEE IN LIEU OF TAXES, THE ISSURANCE OF SPECIAL SOURCE OF REVENUE CREDITS, AND OTHER MATTERS RELATED THERETO.

Mr. Watkins said that the fee agreement would reduce the taxes from 10.5 to 6% for thirty years. He said this was a $14 million investment with nine jobs.  It also involved a SSRC, which is a tax credit of 15% over the next 15 years.

Chairman Windham said there are guidelines that a county can do for an industry to locate here. Mr. Watkins said that it depends on the amount of investment and number of jobs that an industry plans to bring.  He said the jobs that would be created from this expansion would have an average pay of $19 an hour.

Jay Schwedler said Lee County is competing to the best of its ability right now with these recent announcements.

Page 2, Lee County Council Public Hearing, February 14, 2017

PUBLIC COMMENTS

Thompson Isaac asked how long the FILO would be in effect. Mr. Watkins said that it would remain in effect for 30 years.  He said that this is mostly for upgrading their equipment.

Pat Carter asked how the county can benefit from reducing the taxes of SAC from 10% to 6%. Mr. Watkins said this is a new investment.  He said that in order for SAC to invest $14 million, the County would have to give a tax break, and the county would still net the 6% that it would haven’t had to begin with.  Ms. Carter asked was 9 jobs all they could give to the county for that investment.  Mr. Watkins said that was the number of jobs created by the expansion.

mr. Schwedler said if they don’t continue to make investments, they would tend to lose jobs.

Ms. Carter asked what guarantee does the county have that they are not going to leave anyway. Mr. Watkins said there are no guarantees because they choose to invest.  He said there are some things in the contract to help protect the county.

Dorothy Mills asked what kind of jobs are the new jobs that will be paying an average of $19 an hour. Mr. Watkins said they are production jobs and SAC was possibly adding another shift.

The public hearing was closed at 9:43 a.m. on a motion made by Councilman Beasley, seconded by Vice-Chairman. Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried.  All voted in favor.

PUBLIC HEARING

 ZONING TEXT AMENDMENT TO PERMIT A WASTE TIRE PROCESSING FACILITY AS A PERMITTED USE IN A RURAL DISTRICT

The public hearing was opened at 9:44 on a motion made by Councilperson Caughman, seconded by Vice-Chairman Eckley. Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried.  All voted in favor.

Mr. Watkins said that Planning Commission recommended this request to Council, which was received on December 28, 2016.

Mr. Watkins said the request was for a tire processing facility with three stipulations, (1) Cannot be established within one (1) mile of an existing waste tire processing facility (2) Must be screened from public view by the installation of a 6 ft privacy fence. (3) must maintain and follow all guidelines from DHEC.

He said that tires cannot be put on the ground because that is not permitted by DHEC and there would be no burning of tires. He said the tires would be ground up because there is a market for recycled tires or ground up tires.

Page 3, Lee County Council Public Hearing and Meeting Minutes, February 14, 2017

He said that DHEC would monitor the facility on a weekly basis and tires can only be there for 60 days.

Chairman Windham recommended that the information be reviewed and placed in the Buildings, Land & Property Committee.

Councilman Beasley said to put in some stipulations and saw no reason to put in committee.

Vice-Chairman Eckley asked if they are found not to be in compliance, what can be done. Mr. Watkins said if they are in violation of not being in compliance, they could be fined $200 per day or they could spend up to 30 days in jail.

Public Comment:

Carrie Gass – asked where the facility would be located. Mr. Watkins said the facility in question would be located off of Mary McLeod Bethune Park but said the Council is not really considering the person, but considering a zoning amendment for anyone.

Mr. Watkins then said that Council wants to add a special step to have them appear before the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Pat Carter – said “so, no burning of tires?”.. Mr. Watkins said no. She then asked would it have any effect on the property.  Mr. Watkins said he probably couldn’t answer that.  Not sure if this will have a positive or negative effect.

She asked how many jobs this will bring to the County. Mr. Watkins said he could not answer that.

Ms. Carter asked what benefit this was to the County. Mr. Watkins said this would restrict people on how to use their property.

She asked where they were going to haul the recycled tires. Mr. Watkins said there are companies who use in septic tanks.

Ms. Carter asked what would prevent her from selling her land to a company like this. Mr. Watkins said there is a penalty of $200 per day for any Zoning Violations.   She also wanted to know if this was a commercial business.  Mr. Watkins answered yes…that’s why we are having to go through all of this.

Mr. Watkins said what we are doing today is requesting this as a permitted use but we are doing a special exception.

Ms. Carter asked about the penalty and said that it may not matter to them. Mr. Watkins said that after repeated offenses, they could go to jail.

Henry Carter – When the County does this, it opens up for anything to come to the county. Mr. Watkins said this is just a tire processing facility. Anyone who wants to do this will have to appear before the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Page 4, Lee County Council Public Hearing and Meeting Minutes, February 14, 2017

Reggie James – has DHEC done studies? Mr. Watkins said that a company has to meet our Zoning to submit to DHEC.

He asked if the oils from the tires cause birth defects in later years. Mr Watkins said that he did not have the technical expertise and said that DHEC is utilizing the place to determine if it is safe.

Eva Durant – how dangerous is it going to be for the employees of this company. Mr. Watkins said that OSHA or DHEC would determine that.

Mr. Watkins said these are all over the country and have stuff in place for safety.

Robert Brown – if this plant does come, will the tire companies still have to pay a disposable fee for tires? Mr. Watkins said the tire company will still have to pay the fee because the state reimburses us to haul tires.

Pat Carter – in the state of New York, they are worried about the health of children and senior citizens. She said we need to investigate these companies before they get started.  She gave an example of playground and recycled tires over time can cause contaminants.

Mr. Watkins said that DHEC will monitor and they will make sure it is done as safely and as efficient as possible.

Dorothy Mills – Does DHEC have the final decision. Mr. Watkins said yes.

Henry Carter – are there any plants like this in South Carolina?  Mr. Watkins said Sumter has one and Moncks Corner has one.  Mr. Carter asked if anyone had checked on the plants or people in these communities.

Mr. Watkins said the County is only looking at land use. He said that DHEC and OSHA will be concerned with the safety.

Mr. Carter said that someone really needs to investigate in other counties.

Councilman Addison asked if it will be an enclosed facility. Mr. Watkins said yes, the machine will be inside the building.

Councilperson Caughman said the Council needs to make sure extra safeguards are in place. Councilperson Josey said that each individual business should come before the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Mr. Watkins the Board of Zoning Appeals would publicly notice the public hearing.

The public hearing closed at 10:22 a.m. on a motion made by Councilman Beasley, seconded by Vice-Chairman Eckley. Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried.  All voted in favor.

Page 5, Lee County Council Meeting and Public Hearing Minutes, February 14, 2017

LEE COUNTY COUNCIL

REGULAR MEETING

FEBRUARY 14, 2017

FAMIILY COURT ROOM

OPEN MEETING, INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Vice-Chairman Eckley gave the invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

REQUEST FOR MOTION ON ADOPTION OF RECOMMENDED AGENDA

 Chairman Windham said that we needed to add an Item 5A for Consideration for Council to authorize updating the Victim’s Advocate Contract.

Councilman Beasley made the motion to approve the revised agenda. Councilman Addison seconded the motion.  Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried.  All voted in favor.

REQUEST FOR MOTION ON ADOPTION OF MINUTES FROM REGULAR MEETING ON JANUARY 10, 2017 AND CALLED MEETING MINUTES OF FEBRUARY 2, 2017

Councilperson Caughman made the motion to approve the minutes from regular meeting of January 10, 2017 and called meeting minutes of February 2, 2017. Councilman Beasley seconded the motion.  Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried.  All voted in favor.

REQUEST FOR MOTION ON SECOND READING APPROVAL OF ORDINANCE

          TEXT AMENDMENT TO THE LEE COUNTY ZONING ORDINANCE TO PERMIT A WASTE TIRE PROCESSING FACILITY AS A SPECIAL EXCEPTION IN A RURAL DISTRICT BY THE BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS AFTER A PUBLIC HEARING

Mr. Watkins said the Council had just had a public hearing on this matter and it had been changed from a permitted use to a special exception in a rural district by the Board of Zoning Appeals after a public hearing.

Councilman Beasley made the motion to approve for second reading approval of ordinance. Vice-Chairman Eckley seconded the motion.  Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried.  All voted in favor.

Page 6, Lee County Council Meeting and Public Hearing Minutes, February 14, 2017

  1. AUTHORIZING THE EXECUTION AND DELIVERY OF AN INCENTIVE AND CONVEYANCE OF PROPERTY AGREEMENT AMONG LEE COUNTY, THE CITY OF BISHOPVILLE AND PROJECT TIDE: A FEE IN LIEU OF AD VALOREM TAXES AGREEMENT BETWEEN LEE COUNTY AND PROJECT TIDE; THE TRANSFER OF REAL PROPERTY LOCATED IN LEE COUNTY TO PROJECT TIDE: THE PROVISION OF CERTAIN OTHER INCENTIVES FOR PROJECT TIDE; THE INCLUSION OF THE REAL PROPERTY TO BE CONVEYED TO PROJECT TIDE IN A MULTI-COUNTY INDUSTRIAL PARK WITH SUMTER COUNTY; THE EXECUTION OF DELIVERY OF ANY DOCUMENTS NECESSARY TO EFFECT THE INTENT OF THIS ORDNANCE, AND OTHER MATTERS RELATED THERETO

He said this was $11 million investment with 153 jobs. He said that a job fair was held in Bishopville, and there were 400 applicants.

Michael Kozlarek and Jay Schwedler have been working on this project for several months. Mr. Watkins said that their taxes would be reduced from 10.5% to 6%.  He said that there would be public hearing before the third reading to finalize the process.  He said they will hopefully be hiring in the fall.

Chairman Windham thanked Jay Schwedler for his help with this project. Mr. Schwedler said that Crowne Industries had visited eight locations, and it got down to Lee County and one other, and they chose us.  Mr. Schwedler said that he had had several conversations with these folks, and he said they would be good partners to the community.

Vice-Chairman Eckley thanked Jay and his staff for their hard work on this project.

Councilman Beasley made the motion to approve the FILO agreement with Crowne Industries for second reading. Vice-Chairman Eckley seconded the motion.  Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried.  All voted in favor.

  1. ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE EXECUTION AND DELIVERY OF A FEE AGREEMENT BY AND BETWEEN LEE COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA AND SOUTH ALTANTIC CANNERS, INC,. PROVIDING FOR PAYMENT OF A FEE IN LIEU OF TAXES, THE ISSUANCE OF A SPECIAL SOURCE OF REVENUE CREDITS, AND OTHER MATTERS RELATED THERETO

Councilperson Caughman made the motion to approve for second reading. Councilman Fountain seconded the motion.  Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried.  All voted in favor.

RESOLUTION ENDORSING AND SUPPORTING APPROVAL OF THE RURAL COUNTY TRANSFORMATION FUND BY THE SOUTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSMEBLY

Mr. Watkins said this Resolution originated in Union County. He said that rural counties are not growing and are being funded on a per capita basis.  He said that Lee County is not getting growth from the tax base, and there is a cap on how much we can go up on taxes.  He said this resolution is asking the state for $20 million to be divided among the 16 smallest counties in the state by the county’s tier status.

Page 7, Lee Council Meeting and Public Hearing Minutes, February 14, 2017

He said that Lee County is a tier 4 county. He said that currently the county gets $760,000, and with this proposal, another $950,000 would be added.

Councilperson Caughman said she thought it was a great idea because it was not being put on citizens.

Vice-Chairman Eckley made the motion to approve the Resolution endorsing and supporting the approval of the Rural County Transformation Fund. Councilperson Josey seconded the motion.  Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried.  All voted in favor.

AUTHORIZATION TO UPDATE CONTRACT WITH VICTIMS ADVOCATE

Mr. Watkins said that the County has to update the Contract for Victim’s Advocate every year.

Councilperson Caughman made the motion to approve the contract for Victim’s Advocate. Councilperson Josey seconded the motion.  Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried.  All voted in favor.

APPOINTMENT OF LUKE SMITH TO THE LEE COUNTY ASSESSMENT BOARD OF APPEALS FOR DISTRICT 7

Councilperson Caughman made the motion to appoint Luke Smith to the Lee County Assessment Board of Appeals for District 7. Councilman Beasley seconded the motion. Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried. All voted in favor.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

  1. HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE

Councilperson Josey recognized Dr. Wanda Andrews and asked her to give an update.

Dr. Andrews introduced some members of her staff and told the Council about some of the new programs going on at the high school.

Councilperson Josey also recognized Thompson Isaac as a member of The Link Board.

Councilperson Josey said she attended the Martin Luther King Breakfast, in which Willie Blyther was recognized as the Community Highlighter.

Councilman Beasley said that Judge Albert Bradley passed away recently and expressed condolences to his family.

  1. PLANNING, TAXES & PERSONNEL

Councilman Beasley said that his committee did not have any meetings. He did mention that we still need to contact the local delegation in reference to the Local Government Fund to ensure that we get what was appropriated before it was cut.

  1. BUILDINGS, L AND & PROPERTY

Vice-Chairman Eckley said that as far as the windows for the courthouse, the contractor said they were backed up and said it would probably be May or June. Mr. Watkins said that if it is really hot weather, we may wait until the fall to do the windows.

Page 8, Lee County Council Meeting and Public Hearing Minutes, February 14, 2017

Vice-Chairman Eckley said that we had received the storm water permit for the old high school parking lot.

He also said that work on Docs Drive should be done by next school year.

Vice-Chairman Eckley also said that Public Works is developing a list of road for rocking and should be ready in about two weeks.

  1. PUBLIC SAFETY

Councilperson Caughman said the committee did meet on February 2 in regards to litter problems in the county and Sheriff Simon attended and had some ideas. They plan to set up another meeting with “Adopt A Highway” soon. Mr. Watkins said that he brought this up to the Lions Club and they were excited to be a part of this project.

  1. RECREATION AND PUBLIC RELATIONS

Councilman Addison said that he had seen a good bit of damage to the parks.

Thaddeus Dickey said they were trying to get senior citizens involved in recreation. He said they were starting bingo in the gym and a healthy snack would be provided.

He said that basketball ball registration is going on now. He also said that he has gotten a quote for the fencing.

Councilman Addison said that we need to look at the sheds at the parks because some of the shingles are coming off and Mr. Dickey said that he has a contractor looking at it now.

Councilman Addison said that he attended NAACP banquet in which Drink Small was honored for his birthday.

  1. WAYS AND MEANS

Councilman Fountain said that his committee did not meet. He did say that the new budget year would be starting soon.

Mr. Watkins said that he met with Department Heads and Elected Officials on Friday and handed out the budgets. He said that it would be another tough year for the budget.

Councilman Addison recognized Carrie Gass, as being someone who has been faithful and supportive since he has been on Council.

  1. ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT

Mr. Watkins said that the Council received a good audit report. He said that we received an unmodified opinion, which is the highest opinion that a County can receive.

Councilman Beasley recognized Queenie Boyd as the new President of the School Board Association.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Carrie Gass said she has some concerns because there is no place to pay utility bills now and wanted the County to look into it.

Page 9, Lee County Council Meeting and Public Hearing Minutes, February 14, 2017

She also wanted the County to look at the sign at Garrett Field because it was in need of repair.

Eva Durant – Thanked Council for their help and support with the Fatherhood Initiative when it was active.

Queenie Boyd – thanked Council and Schools for their support.

Henry Carter – asked if the County was going to have another public hearing because we amended our amendment to the Zoning Ordinance in regards to the Waste Tire Processing Facility. Mr. Watkins said no….and said that final language will be drawn up before the third and final reading.

ADJOURN

The meeting was adjourned at 11:20 a.m. on a motion made by Vice-Chairman Eckley, seconded by Councilman Addison.

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CHAIRMAN                                                                       VICE-CHAIRMAN

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CLERK TO COUNCIL                                                             MINUTES APPROVED