Mayors ask council to vote ‘no’ on ordinance

The following letter was sent to members of the Barnwell County Council regarding the Economic Development Corporation (EDC):

Gentlemen,

The Mayors of the undersigned Municipalities in the county are writing County Council to urge the County not to vote in favor of making the EDC Board purely advisory in nature. When the Municipalities negotiated with the County to return property conveyed to the Municipalities, a purely advisory board was rejected by the Municipalities.

The county adopted an ordinance that provided for built-in protection which the Municipalities agreed to. If the County gives third reading approval to the ordinance, the Municipalities now consider that the county will have reneged on its agreement with the Municipalities. The Municipalities have no interest in appointing or asking anyone to serve on a purely advisory board.

Economic development is essential to the economic health of the Municipalities. It is one of the few ways that the revenue stream can be increased and without a vibrant EDC and Corporation, the Municipalities are dead in the water. All of this was thoroughly discussed and negotiated when the current EDC ordinance was adopted.

If the proposed ordinance is adopted, it will have two major impacts:

1) It will essentially eliminate future economic development in the Municipalities. Economic conditions have improved and we are now at a point where things may begin to happen. Why not give it a chance?

2) The Municipalities will have been betrayed by the County. This betrayal will have a serious and lasting impact on future relationship between the County and the Municipalities and whether or not mutual trust can ever be re-established will be doubtful.

We would ask that you review your Resolution of October 6, 2014 and your Ordinance No. 2014-10-307 and tell the Municipalities how the County can simply walk away from all that it agreed to do with the Municipalities by adopting the ordinance it now considers.

The Municipalities request that the County not give third reading approval to the ordinance under consideration and that the County not renege on its negotiated agreement with the Municipalities.

With best regards, we are

Sincerely,

Edward Lemon,

Mayor, City of Barnwell

Jason Stapleton,

Mayor, Town of Williston

Mike Beasley,

Mayor, Town of Blackville

Marty Schumpert,

Mayor, Town of Elko

William Cave,

Mayor, Town of Kline