Councilman responds to letter to the editor

Dear Editor,

With a letter to the editor published in the August 3rd edition of The People-Sentinel former councilman Jim Kearse has again demonstrated his lack of understanding of issues faced by County Council and how the council functions as an elected body.

Rather than respond to Mr. Kearse’s ridiculous comments and inferences, I will simply point out to your readers and the citizens of Barnwell County that it takes a majority vote of council to pass any resolution, ordinance or take any action binding on the county. Every issue mentioned in Mr. Kearse’s letter was discussed by Council and a majority, or even a unanimous, vote was received on the action taken with respect to various issues. Apparently, Mr. Kearse does not understand this as the way Council actually works.

With respect to the local accommodations tax, I would suggest Mr. Kearse read S.C. Code of Laws, Title 6, Article 5, Sec. 6-1-520 and Sec. 6-1-530 to learn how the tax is imposed and how it must be expended. The Council, being informed of the requirements and aware of the minimal overall revenue impact to the county, decided not to pursue the tax. The City of Barnwell later decided to impose such a tax within its corporate boundary.

On a more important note, it was gratifying to read your August 3rd editorial endorsing the one penny Capital Project Sales Tax (CPST). It is the fairest way to fund needed infrastructure projects identified by elected officials on the county and municipal governing bodies.

The CPST will benefit all citizens of the county. County Council has designated projects that enhance services provided to all citizens or make it more likely that we will attract industries with good paying jobs to our county. The towns have chosen projects that enhance services provided their citizens through infrastructure improvements or additions supported by the municipal residents. A committee of citizens appointed by all the local governing bodies reviewed the projects and rankings and made their recommendations to Council. It is the duty of Council to approve/disapprove putting the CPST as a ballot referendum to be voted on by the citizens in November.

I certainly hope the citizens will take your editorial advice – talk to elected officials of the communities and county – review the projects carefully and thoughtfully – evaluate the alternatives for effectuating the proposed projects – then decide whether or not to support the proposed one penny CPST.

I truly hope the citizens will vote to move their county forward by improving the communities and county’s infrastructure through the CPST. Many, if not most, of the proposed projects are long overdue and must be completed in the near future.

County Council, as an elected body, faces numerous challenges and hurdles in the conduct of the business of the citizens. Council members live in the communities and are aware of the needs of the county. They are also aware of the limitations and restrictions on meeting those needs from available resources.

Input from the citizens is needed, required and desired by all of the council members. Uninformed and erroneous letters to the editor from those almost totally oblivious to the issues facing our county do nothing towards contributing to solutions.

Sincerely,

R. Keith Sloan,

Vice Chairman

Barnwell County Council District 3