Council allows towns to expend EDC funds

Barnwell County Council discussed the ongoing dilemma with the Barnwell County Economic Development Commission and three municipalities during a special-called meeting Jan. 24.
After a closed session with county attorney J.D. Mosteller, council passed a resolution allowing the municipalities that received donated property and money from the EDC board to use the money to maintain the properties. The resolution also asked the municipalities to deposit the money - Barnwell city, Blackville, and Williston each got $90,000 - in a joint bank account that the county would have access to.
Councilmember Keith Sloan asked for another meeting with the mayors and county-council members to be set up as soon as possible.
County council hopes to reach an agreement with the municipalities so the county can get back the money, property and other assets the EDC board gave away.
The towns could simply deed the assets back to the county, but it doesn't appear that's going to happen unless the towns get some kind of control over the EDC. The three mayors and members of county council's government committee met Dec. 30 to discuss the situation, and county council passed a resolution Jan. 3 to draft an ordinance restructuring the makeup of the EDC board and allow the county's municipalities to appoint board members.
Council has not had a first reading of the ordinance yet.
County council maintains the EDC board members acted illegally when they unilaterally voted to donate the EDC's assets to the towns in early December. County council says the board needed approval from council before it could act.
The county has given each town notice that civil charges could be filed against them regarding the donated assets.