LEE COUNTY COUNCIL
MAY 9, 2017
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; Jackie Josey, member; Johnette Caughman, member; Ron Fountain, member. Staff present were Alan Watkins, Administrator; Julie Atkinson, Assistant Administrator. Others present were Dr. Wanda Andrews, School Superintendent, Sylvia Scott, Lyde Graham, other staff members of the School District.
Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, all individuals requesting notifications were so notified.
OPEN MEETING, INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANE TO THE FLAG
Chairman Windham opened the meeting and welcomed everyone. Councilman Beasley gave the invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.
REQUEST FOR MOTION ON ADOPTION OF RECOMMENDED AGENDA
Vice-Chairman Eckley made the motion to approve the agenda as written. Councilperson Josey 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 APRIL 11, 2017 AND CALLED MEETING MINUTES IF APRIL 27, 2017
Councilman Beasley made the motion to approve the minutes of regular meeting of April 11, 2017 and called meeting minutes of April 27, 2017 as mailed. Vice-Chairman Eckley seconded the motion. Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried. All voted in favor.
Page 2, Lee County Council Minutes, May 9, 2017
REQUEST FOR MOTION ON ADOPTION OF FIRST READING APPROVAL OF ORDINANCE
LEE COUNTY BUDGET FY 18
Mr. Watkins said this was in name only and the Ways and Means Committee still had some work to do to present a balanced budget. He said the total budget figure was $12,603,166.35. He said the proposed revenue was $12,213.412, which presented a deficit of $389,754.35.
Mr. Watkins said there were several increases over last year’s budget, including the state’s increase in pension plans, which will have a great impact on the counties. (See attached handout for greater detail). He said the budget would be balanced by the third reading, and the public hearing would be held on June 13, 2017.
Councilman Fountain made the motion to approve the Lee County Budget FY 18 for first reading approval. Vice-Chairman Eckley seconded the motion. Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried. All voted in favor.
- LEE COUNTY SCHOOL BUDGET FY 18
Mr. Watkins said he received a letter from the school district asking us to use the same figures as last year as a starting point but adding the maximum millage rate increase of 1.28% for the first reading. He said this would increase the operational millage for a total of 139.83 mills.
Dr. Andrews said that it was going to be another tough year.
Councilperson Josey made the motion to approve the Lee County School Budget FY 18 for first reading. Councilman Beasley seconded the motion. Chairman Windham called for the vote, and motion carried. All voted in favor.
- HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE
Councilperson Josey said that she was glad to see School Board members at the meeting.
She recognized Dr. Andrews to update Council on the happenings of the school.
Dr. Andrews handed out a courtesy copy of a newspaper that the students had published. She said they were preparing to close schools for year but some of the schools would be open for summer camps and summer programs.
She introduced Dr. Bertha McCants, who is in charge of grants.
Councilperson Josey said that the Lee County Adult Ed would have their graduation on May 16, and the Middle School graduation would be May 26.
- PLANNING, TAXES & PERSONNEL
Councilman Beasley said that his committee had no meetings. He did announce that the NCNW would be having their annual Walk a Thon on Saturday, May 20 at 8 a.m. at Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Park.
Page 3, Lee County Council Minutes, May 9, 2013
Carrie Gass thanked the Council for their past support of their organization and the park.
Councilman Beasley also added that Brian Bradt had finished the lights on the shelter at the Mary McLeod Bethune Park and Public Works helped trench for wires and this was a savings.
- BUILDINGS, LAND & PROPERTY
Vice-Chairman Eckley said that work has continued on the windows of the courthouse. He said the company has removed some of the windows and having them refurbished. He said that process has several more weeks.
He also reported that a few months ago, the County purchased a new motor grader. He said the County was able to sell the other one for a price of $115,000.
He also made everyone aware that the meeting on the proposed bypass would be held at Lee Central.
- PUBLIC SAFETY
Councilperson Caughman said that her committee did not have any meetings. She said that she always enjoyed receiving the newsletter from the school.
She introduced Bill Hemby, who works with bees in the county prison to educate the prisoners and to promote Lee County.
- RECREATION AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
Councilman Addison said that he had read the new work plan for Recreation and was going to accept it and see how it works.
Mr. Watkins said that he had worked out a schedule for the concerns that Mr. Addison had, which addressed the roles of Public Works, Parks and Rec, and private contractors. He said that he made sure the expectations are clear and everyone is aware.
Councilman Addison thanked Council and Mr. Watkins for their cooperation.
He said that transportation is still going good. He said there is a new committee that is in the developing stage right now, and he should have some more information on that soon.
Councilperson Josey thanked Public Works and Parks and Rec for the work in preparation for the Magnolia Festival. She said the park was in bad shape and they did a great job in getting park back to where it was.
Councilman Addison also said there was a leak in the Ashwood Gym. Mr. Watkins said that he was aware of it and had a contractor looking at it.
Councilman Beasley asked about the status of the grant for PARD grant and asked if it had been signed off by the delegation.
Mr. Watkins said they submitted another letter and got a letter back from Senator Malloy asking for further discussion. He said the County is following up on that. Mr. Watkins said that the County will lose $23,000 of $24,000 if it is not assigned to a project. He said the County was
Page 4, Lee County Council Minutes, May 13, 2017
going to follow up again. He said the County has $95,000 in reserve right now, including PARD allocation for next year and will have $30,000 next year. He said that delegation has to sign off on projects. Mr. Watkins said that Representative Wheeler and one of the two senators has to sign. He said to date, the County has not obtained two signatures.
Councilman Addison told Mr. Watkins to let them know as a Council what needed to be done. Mr. Watkins said that Council invited Delegation to a committee meeting on two separate occasions.
- WAYS AND MEANS
Councilman Fountain said that Ways and Means Committee met with Department Heads and Elected Officials and outside agencies and will have a couple more meetings.
- ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Mr. Watkins said that he attended a Pinwheel Ceremony at DSS in recognition for Child Abuse Prevention Month. He said that this is a very difficult job and commended them on their efforts.
He also said that several courthouse employees received their recertification in CPR. Mr. Watkins said the County are updating their AEDs and these will be located on the first and second floors of the courthouse.
Mr. Watkins also said the public hearing for the budget would be on June 13, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. in the Main Court Room.
He also attended a flag park dedication for veterans in Lynchburg.
Chairman Windham said there was a public forum for citizen awareness scheduled for May 23 at Mt. Hermon.
Carrie Gass asked the Council if they were aware that homelessness is a problem here in Lee County and also substandard housing.
She mentioned that it is time for Salkehatchie project, which is scheduled for June 25. She said that its mission is to keep people dry, warm and safe. She said that although it is good, it can’t help everyone in need.
She asked the Council to search to see if they can a grant to build affordable housing for homeless citizens.
Mr. Watkins said that FEMA has gotten letters in reference to houses for floods of October 2015. Mr. Addison asked if the cleanup crew was still here. Mr. Watkins said they were gone.
Mr. Addison asked if residents still had trees down, what were they to do. Mr. Watkins said there are faith based groups that are available to help with that. He said that County cannot go on private property.
Page 5, Lee County Council Minutes, May 13, 2017
The meeting was adjourned at 10:20 on a motion made by Vice-Chairman Eckley, seconded by Councilman Beasley.
CLERK TO COUNCIL MINUTES APPROVED