LEE COUNTY COUNCIL
JUNE 11, 2019
MAIN COURT ROOM – SECOND FLOOR OF THE COURTHOUSE
Members present were Travis Windham, Chairman; Gordon Eckley, Vice-Chairman; David Addison, member; Charles A. Beasley, member; Johnette Caughman, member; Ron Fountain, member. Staff present were Alan Watkins, Administrator; Julie Stokes, Assistant Administrator/Clerk to Council; Danny Simon, Tim DuBose, JD Dellinger, Wendi King, Jackie Howard, Mike Bedenbaugh, Brandon Holloman. Others present were Matt Hicks, Carrie Gass, Dorothy Mills, Pat Carter, Willie Blythers, Sylvia Scott, Gloria Lewis, Dr. Wanda Andrews, Shereka Anderson, Darin Wilson, Andrew Moses, Thompson Issac.
Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, all individuals requesting notifications were so notified.
LEE COUNTY PUBLIC HEARING
JUNE 11, 2019 MAIN COURT ROOM – SECOND FLOOR OF THE COURTHOUSE
ITEM #1) PUBLIC HEARING
A. LEE COUNTY BUDGET FY 20
The public hearing was opened on a motion made by Vice-Chairman Eckley, seconded by Councilman Beasley. Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried. All voted in favor. Mr. Watkins said that the first reading on the budget had a deficit of over $700,000, which represented all requests from departments and outside agencies. Mr. Watkins said there were changes in revenue and the main ones included FILOs from Crowne Healthcare and also South Atlantic Canners, and increase in Local Government Fund. Also included were the public safety fees, which will be discussed later in the meeting. There were also several mandates included. Mr. Watkins said the County is presenting a balanced budget today with a 2 mil increase for a total of $13,713,064. PUBLIC COMMENTS: Matt Hicks said that he had a few concerns about the public safety fees that were being introduced. He said he thought it was a great idea but was concerned that poor people were
Page 2, Lee County Council Minutes, June 11, 2019
not considered in this proposal. He asked if there were any exemptions for low income families. Mr. Watkins said there were no exemptions for low income families at this time for vehicles but there may possibly be exemptions for property parcels. He said the public hearing for this discussion would be at our July meeting. Thompson Issac – said he was concerned about people on fixed incomes and elderly people and said that exemptions should be considered.
B. LEE COUNTY SCHOOL BUDGET FY 20 Mr. Watkins said Dr. Wanda Andrews was present, along with several school board members as well as Shereka Anderson, Finance Director. Mr. Watkins said the school was asking for the maximum millage increase of 3.4mills for a total operational mills of 145.4. Mr. Watkins said that council’s role in property taxes, vehicle fees and FILOs are local funding portion of the school district’s operational budget.
PUBLIC COMMENTS: Matt Hicks – He asked the Council to say no to any amount going to the school district because the school district is bleeding money out of the back door and money is not accounted for. He said until the school could guarantee against corruption, it was the county’s responsibility to not to give them any money. Dr. Andrews said the school finance is very complex. She said they have an external auditor that comes in annually and everything is transparent on their website. She said the majority of their budget is personnel. Matt Hicks said that if everything was good, then SLED would be not be investigating our school district. Patricia Soloman – asked if Dennis Elementary was going to be covered in the budget for the building repair. Dr. Andrews said they hope to get the money to fix it but she could not guarantee that. Ms. Soloman said they were concerned about the kids’ health. Matt Hicks – said that we should have no tolerance for this kind of behavior. He said that he would be happy to give out the phone number of the investigator at the state department if anyone wanted it. Dr. Andrews said just because someone is being investigated doesn’t mean there’s something wrong. Matt Hicks said the people of Lee County are about this and it’s going to matter as how to how voters do in the upcoming election.
Page 3, Lee County Council Meeting and Public Hearing, June 11, 2019 The public hearings were closed at 6:10 p.m. on a motion made by Councilman Beasley, seconded by Councilman Addison. Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried. All voted in favor.
LEE COUNTY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING
JUNE 11, 2019
MAIN COURT ROOM – SECOND FLOOR OF THE COURTHOUSE
OPEN MEETING, INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG
Vice-Chairman Eckley gave the invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
REQUEST FOR MOTION ON ADOPTION OF RECOMMENDED AGENDA Councilperson Caughman made the motion to approve the agenda as mailed. Councilman Beasley 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 OF MAY 14, 2019
Vice-Chairman Eckley made the motion to approve the minutes from regular meeting of May 14, 2019. Councilman Beasley seconded the motion. Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried. All voted in favor.
REQUEST FOR MOTION ADOPTION OF FIRST READING APPROVAL OF ORDINANCE A. ORDINANCE 7-19 TO ESTABLISH PUBLIC SAFETY FEES FOR VEHICLES
Mr. Watkins said he met with Public Safety Committee and reviewed the concerning downward trend in volunteer firefighters. He said the number of active volunteer firemen is low, and now is the time to take action to address this problem. He said that the Council is proposing a $5.00 fee now for FY 20 and another $5.00 fee for FY 21 for a total public safety vehicle fee of $10.00. Councilman Beasley made the motion to approve Ordinance 7-19 for first reading. Councilperson Caughman seconded the motion. Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried. All voted in favor.
Page 4, Lee County Council Minutes, June 11, 2019
B. ORDINANCE 8-19 TO ESTABLISH PUBLIC SAFETY FEES FOR PROPERTY PARCELS
Mr. Watkins said that this fee would also contribute to the hiring of fire personnel. He said basically, the county would have go up 10 mills or impose a $20 parcel fee or vehicle fee or 10.00 vehicle and 10.00 parcel fee. Mr. Watkins said that these potential firemen could be involved in property and vehicles accidents. This would allow the Fire Department to increase their staff from 5 full time firemen to 11 full time, which would give the Fire Department 24 hour staffing. He said the County is also responsible for City of Bishopville and City of Lynchburg. Councilman Beasley made the motion to approve Ordinance 8-19 for first reading. Vice-Chairman Eckley seconded the motion. Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried. All voted in favor.
APPROVAL OF HAZARD MITIGATION PLAN AGREEMENT BETWEEN SANTEE LYNCHES COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENT AND LEE COUNTY AND AUTHORIZE THE ADMINISTRATOR TO SIGN ON BEHALF OF THE COUNTY Mr. Watkins said that this is done every 5 years. He said that in order to receive public safety grants, a hazard mitigation plan must be updated and renewed. Mr. Watkins said this does include multi-county documents. Councilman Beasley made the motion to approve the Hazard Mitigation Plan between Santee Lynches and Lee County. Vice-Chairman Eckley seconded the motion. Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried. All voted in favor.
REQUEST FOR MOTION ON ADOPTION OF SECOND READING APROVAL OF ORDINANCE
A. LEE COUNTY BUDGET FY 20
Mr. Watkins said the budget FY 20 was $13,713,064, which includes a 2 mil tax increase. He said that the County has not had but one tax increase in county operations in 8 years. Vice-Chairman Eckley made the motion to approve the Lee County Budget FY 20 for second reading. Councilperson Caughman seconded the motion. Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried. All voted in favor.
B. LEE COUNTY SCHOOL BUDGET FY 20 Mr. Watkins said the school had asked for the maximum tax millage increase of 3.4 for a total of 145.4. Mr. Watkins said this mill increase does not apply to 4% property taxes but only to 6%. Mr. Watkins said that generates about $70,000 of a $15.6 million budget. Councilman Beasley made the motion to approve Lee County School Budget for second reading. Councilman Addison seconded the motion. Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried. All voted in favor.
Page 5, Lee County Council Minutes, June 11, 2019
RESOLUTION APPROVING MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN LEE COUNTY AND CENTRAL CAROLINA TECHNICAL COLLEGE IN SUPPORT OF THE SCHOLARS PROGRAM
Mr. Watkins said that Central Carolina approached Council about graduates from public and private schools being given the opportunity to receive two year scholarships. This resolution is asking to continue this program in which the County appropriates $20,000, which is included in the budget. Chairman Windham said this is one of the most important and effective things that Council has done. Vice-Chairman Eckley made the motion to approve the resolution. Councilperson Caughman seconded the motion. Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried. All voted in favor.
A. HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE Councilperson Josey not here, due to the passing of her father.
B. PLANNING, TAXES & PERSONNEL No report
C. BUILDINGS, LAND & PROPERTY No report
D. PUBLIC SAFETY
Councilperson Caughman said her committee did meet to discuss fire and EMS. She said they were concerned about the safety of citizens and getting people who are trained. She thanked Mr. Watkins and Councilman Addison for the project at West Lee Playground. She said it was very nice and also thanked them for improvements done to Spring Hill Community Center.
E. RECREATION AND PUBLIC RELATIONS Councilman Addison said the park in Elliott is not being kept up. He also said that at the park in Green Acres is a serious hazard to those using that park because he said the City uses that drive way as a pass through and said that a fence could fix that problem.
F. WAYS AND MEANS Councilman Fountain said that his committee had met about the budget
. G. ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT Mr. Watkins said that the completed PARD project at West Lee Playground was complete and dedication was done last week. He said he wanted to thank the delegation and also thanked the County public works staff and recreation staff for providing in-kind labor which was used as 20% match for the grant. He also said that RLI provided $6500 and CareSouth provided $3,000 for a total of $70,000 funding for this project. Mr. Watkins said that the County is getting new voting machines which will print out a ballot and these will be used in the upcoming presidential election.
PUBLIC COMMENT Pat Carter said she had a list of questions regarding the public safety fees discussed. She gave the clerk the list of questions to be answered. She also said improvements needed to be made to the splash pads. Mattie Westry – said that improvements should be made to the splash pads. Thompson Issac thanked Mr. Watkins for explaining in detail information about the public safety fees.
ADJOURN The meeting was adjourned at 6:41 on a motion made by Councilman Beasley, seconded by Vice-Chairman Eckley. _______________________________________ ______________________________________ CHAIRMAN VICE-CHAIRMAN _______________________________________ ______________________________________ CLERK TO COUNCIL MINUTES APPROVED