BLDG Darlington County Courthouse

DARLINGTON, S.C. – The Darlington County Council took just 21 minutes to take care of business Monday during its regular meeting for August.

The council gave preliminary approval to two ordinances for general obligation bond issues for the general fund and the Darlington County Fire District to provide funding for a variety of needs. One measure will allow the county to borrow up to $4.2 million for building and facilities needs, including property acquisitions, construction, furnishing and equipment purchases.

Vehicles such as ambulances, road maintenance vehicles and environmental services vehicles are also among the needs identified in the measure, as are general infrastructure improvements to county buildings and industrial park sites.

A separate ordinance for the Darlington County Fire District will allow the county to borrow up to $4.1 million to meet building and equipment needs in that budget.

County Administrator Charles Stewart said the ordinances will add no new millage for debt service.

In June, the council agreed to an administration recommendation to pay off the existing general fund and fire district general obligation bond debt early. Stewart said that allowed the county to move forward with the new bond measures

The previous general obligation bond payoff for the county’s general fund was approximately $750,000 and $480,000 for the fire district fund, according to Stewart.

The ordinance for the general fund bond refers to costs related to a courthouse renovation or relocation project. But Stewart said that while some of that funding might go toward some items related to courthouse renovation or relocation, much of it will cover other building and equipment items not necessarily related to the courthouse.

“I wouldn’t want anyone to think that all of this money is going to go for a courthouse renovation,” Stewart said. “If we put a new roof on a building, that money will come out of this.”

Similarly, the fire district bond will provide funds for building needs that could include new stations and building refurbishments as well as new vehicles and firefighting equipment, Stewart said. He pointed out that some vehicles in the county’s firefighting fleet are over 25 years old and still in service and will need replacing soon.

The council approved both measures on second reading unanimously. A final vote on third reading is still needed for passage.

In other business, the council:

>> Accepted a bid of $63,231 from Kelly’s Electrical Services for two permanent stand-by generators for Fire Station 8 (West Old Camden Road) and Fire Station 12 (Byrdtown Road). With the addition of new communication towers, the new generators will provide stand-by power at all times, officials said. The new generators will ensure correct radio functions at all times, which officials said is critical to first responders in emergency situations.

>> Approved the purchase of drive-on scales for the county transfer station for $83,091 from Pee Dee Scale Co. The price includes installation.

>> Approved a bid award for $61,477 from C.R. Jackson Inc. of Darlington County for paving Bruce Street, Bracey Avenue, Lide Street and Nicole Circle. The funding will come from Darlington County Transportation Committee funds.