County Council approves 2018 millage rates

The Barnwell County Council approved the 2018 tax millage during their Sept.19 meeting. Councilman Freddie Houston, representing the finance committee, proposed acceptance of the millage resolution.

The millage will be:

Barnwell County Operations and Debt Service – 147 mills and Barnwell County Career Center – 24 mills.

Those in the rural areas will have also Rural Fire Protection – 11 mills and Public Safety – 4.

Those living in School District 19 have 236.77 mills; in District 29 – 220.84 mills and District 45 – 224 mills.

Millage for the municipalities are: City of Barnwell – 74.7, Town of Blackville – 79, Town of Snelling – 20, and Town of Williston – 70.

Administrator Williams noted, “We are anticipating a little bit higher mill value,” meaning each mill is expected to bring in more money to the county, towns and schools.

Comparing the millage with last year, the numbers stayed the same for rural fire protection and public safety in unincorporated areas as well as the towns of Snelling, Blackville and Williston.

The general county millage increased 3 mills.

School millage rose by one mill for the career center, 2.17 mills in District 19, 6.35 mills in District 29 and 2 mills in District 45.

Notices are expected to be mailed out by the end of October with payment by Jan. 15, 2018.

Sale of Main Street building

The council approved the sale of the “Main Street Building” in Williston for a lump sum of $200,000 to National Beverage Screen Printers.

Sale of the building had been recommended by the Barnwell County Economic Development Commission and Councilman Jerry Creech brought the proposal to County Council for final approval.

NBS had been previously renting the 18,750-square-foot facility.

The vote was unanimous to approve.

Administrator’s report

Administrator Pickens Williams Jr. said the business office has been working with the company awarded the contract to replace the solid waste transfer station.

“We have a schedule of the work,” he said.

Williams said public notices will be made of when Barnwell County’s transfer station will be closed. ”It will be closed for 4 or 5 weeks,” he said.

Local trash will be taken to Bamberg County to be loaded onto Three Rivers Solid Waste Authority trucks.

He said Bamberg County will be paid a small fee for loading the material.

Williams also reported working with County Fire Coordinator Timbo Williams on the purchase of two fire trucks.

He said the trucks are being purchased with money received from rural fire millage. Those trucks were scheduled to be picked up as soon as the council approves a resolution.

One truck is scheduled to be placed in Hilda while the other is going to Barnwell Rural District 11. Older trucks at those stations will be relocated to other rural fire stations/substations in the county.

Later in the meeting the councilmen voted to approve that resolution to purchase the fire trucks.

The paving of Battle Creek Road is “coming along well”, reported Williams. He said the road has been graded and prepared for paving. Bids for paving are expected to be received within the next few weeks.

Williams also reported that engineers are still working on the entrance to the industrial park off Highway U.S. 278 near the Law Enforcement Center.

“We’ve got a lot going on,” he said.

In his financial report, Williams said there is only one month in the county’s fiscal year to report on – July - and that both revenues and expenses are “as expected.”

In other business the council:

• Approved Patrick Richardson to the EDC Board for District 45.

• Nominated Brett Bell to the EDC Board for District 29.

• Reappointed Guy Suter to the Equalization Board of Appeals for District 5.

• Nominated Tina Gray (living in District 4) to represent District 7 of the Museum Board.

• Agreed to waive the 60-day hiring freeze for the County Treasurer’s Office to be able to hire a deputy treasurer. Recently Megan Croft who served as the deputy treasurer was appointed treasurer by S.C. Governor McMaster following the retirement of Wendy Gibson.

• Approved a one hour increase for an employee of the Veterans Affairs Office.

• Approved the FEMA recommendation to pay for work by county personnel as a result of Hurricane Irma.

Closed Session

The council held a 20-minute closed session to discuss personnel item related to the administrator’s office.

Upon their return to open session, no action was taken by the council.

It was later disclosed that Administrator Pickens Williams Jr. had notified the council of his intention to retire in 5 to 6 months but no date has been set.