Serving Barnwell County and it's neighbors since 1852

Letter: Resident voices concern over rural fire service, county council procedure


A TOTAL LACK OF RESPECT! On October 10th, I attended Barnwell County Council’s meeting to voice a concern about the rural fire tax that Barnwell County citizens approved in the early 2000s. I was allowed three minutes, but was abruptly cut off by Chairman Creech the first 20 seconds. The 40-plus witnesses in the room heard Chairman Creech state that I couldn’t bring up anything that I had previously talked about and he didn’t have time to listen due to the tight schedule. He did have time to talk about his grandson trying to adopt a kitten recently and was denied. That took a minute and a half.

Last month, I was also cut off by Chairman Creech when I stated that $450,000 was unaccounted for since 2012 in the dedicated rural fire tax. Funds collected over the fire commission budget of $380,000 is missing.

This month, I had concerns of millage that was deducted from the dedicated fire tax every year since fiscal year 2010-2011. This missing money was taken from the fire commission and supposedly used for rural public safety. Wait a minute, there’s already a line-item budget for that! Double taxation? The people voted to allow 13 mills for rural fire protection. Three mills were taken away in fiscal year 2010-2011.

Look at Barnwell County Ordinance # 2010-11-267 on Barnwell County Council website under transparency. Transparency or lack thereof?

The $450k + missing mils = $1.523 million. Where’s the money?

Thomas Sharpe,