Town hall tours wraps up in city of Barnwell

First Byline: 
Will Whaley - Staff Writer

Where is the communication?
Barnwell residents gathered at the Barnwell County Public Library Community Room on May 27 for the Town Hall Meeting from the Government Committee.
The open forum focused on how the county and municipalities could work together to attract industry and economic development and increase interest for the one percent local option sales tax.
"We want to hear what is on your mind," council member David Kenner said. Kenner also said that another purpose of the meeting was to improve communication between the county council and municipalities.
One question that was asked by many of the citizens was, "Where is the communication?" Other citizens said they felt "in the dark" about most of the items being discussed at council meetings, most finding out about what is being discussed the night of.
Remedies for this problem were suggested by the public including the release of the agendas and packets that county council receives earlier than a few days before.
"There is the issue of legality," Kenner said talking about what can be released to the public. Council members also raised the issue that agendas and packets often change numerous times before the meeting actually takes place.
More comments from the public included the lack of keep up with the Barnwell County Council website.
"The website is operated out of Columbia," said council member Keith Sloan, "We need a website that we can manipulate."
Council members also emphasized that communication was a "two way street."
"Our numbers are listed on the website," said Kenner.
Council members said they are "doing the best they can with what they have."
"There are things that have happened that we just have to say ‘who knew,'" said Kenner.
Council members tried to increase support for the 1 percent local option sales tax. If this bill is passed, the municipalities will be able to start specific projects for each town.
Some business owners were concerned with "regular customers paying too much already."
Council members closed with asking citizens to "realize how far we have come."
Any type of volunteer service is accepted and all council member contact information can be found on this website: http://www.barnwellcounty.sc.gov/council_members.htm.