Check out the recap below to see what you missed at the June Regular Council Meeting
July 16, 2015
Our next regularly schedule council meeting is next Monday, July 20 at 3:30 pm for committee meetings and 5:30 pm for full council. Last month’s meeting was packed with information, so I wanted to send you a recap of some of the key issues in case you couldn’t make it.
Discharge of Firearms in Subdivisions –
Councilman Horton appointed a committee at last month’s meeting to study the issue of discharging firearms in subdivisions. We had many people attend the meeting and speak about this issue. No proposed ordinance is before council at this time. The committee met once earlier this month and will continue to meet over the summer. There is no timeline before the committee, so we will have plenty of time to gather the facts before looking at a solution to this problem.
County Budget –
County Council passed final reading on our budget Although it may not include everything that I wanted, our budget doesn’t increase taxes, pays down our debt, spends additional existing general fund tax dollars on our roads and infrastructure, invests in our county government’s core needs, includes raises for our hard-working county employees, and creates a new infrastructure problem-solving fund to handle projects that promote economic development and improve the lives of our residents.
The budget did include a $5 increase in the household solid waste user fee. The household waste fee is increasing in this budget due to expansions that are needed at our county landfill. This increase will prevent us from taking on new debt to cover the costs of the expansion. This is a user fee, not a tax, because it directly pays, through a separate fund, the costs of running the landfill and recycling centers throughout the county. The residents in Spartanburg County have stated numerous times that they want a county landfill for only county waste, and this will ensure that it stays that way.
During the final reading of the budget, Councilman Walker attempted to spring a tax increase on council for Fire Service Areas. Although I have the utmost respect for the selfless sacrifice of our fire fighters and recognize the funding issues of these FSAs, I could not support this tax increase for a couple of reasons. First, the FSA on the list that is located in my district did not contact me to ask for this increase. I cannot impose a tax increase on my constituents and residents across the county outside my district when I was not even asked by the departments to do so. Second, before Mr. Walker and I joined council, county council passed a resolution that required FSAs to hold non-binding referendums on millage increases and bring those results before council for us to approve the results of the referendum. If there is an issue with the existing process, I believe that we should address the process directly instead of a last minute maneuver to throw the process out the window during the final budget reading. The budget passed 5-2 without the tax increase.
Economic Development – Spartanburg County continues to enjoy great news on the economic development front, most recently with the announcement of Dollar Tree locating their distribution center in Cowpens. This is great news for Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties and happened because of a lot of hard work by our dedicated teams. Spartanburg County is open for business!
Area Performance Planning – At the last council meeting, we also received an update on the area performance planning process. The committee studying the 101 and 290 corridor began meeting this week, with Councilmembers Roger Nutt and Jane Hall serving on the committee. We will be studying the county in 6 different planning areas, 1 at a time, to provide us with flexibility in the various on-the-ground conditions. Be sure to stay informed as this process moves forward.
2016 SC Presidential Preference Primary – With the campaign for the 2016 presidential race in full swing, many of the candidates are making stops in Spartanburg and the Upstate over the next few months. Gov. Scott Walker was in the Upstate yesterday, fmr. Gov. Bush will be in Spartanburg next week, and Sen. Rubio will be in the Upstate the following week, among others. Take time to shake hands with these candidates, listen to their speeches in person without the media filter, and most importantly ask them tough questions.
Finally, a little over 4 weeks ago, we witnessed evil take place on the streets of Charleston. We also witnessed our communities and our state come together in love and mutual respect in the wake of this tragic event. Today, the shooter appeared in court. This will be a long process to get justice for these families, so please join me in continuing to pray for peace for them.
District 2 Representative, Spartanburg County Council District 2
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