County Council discusses improvements to fire stations

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By VICKI BROWN

Colleton County Council met virtually on September 7th for their regular business meeting and discussed possibly taking out additional funds that would improve several fire stations in the county. The discussion with Colleton County Council came from county Administrator Kevin Griffin, who said council should consider the possibility of taking advantage of historically low financing rates and refinancing general obligation bonds.

The bonds were initiated to pay for the Ace Basin Sports Complex and improvements to fire stations.

Taking out additional funds would finish improvements to fire stations which were put on hold due to inflated costs of construction. “Refinancing these bonds will save $200,000. This will not raise taxes, and the county would keep the same millage level,” said Griffin.

Griffin went on to report that work on the Green Pond Community Center is continuing with the demolition of the old Ivenia Brown school. Asbestos was discovered under some concrete, so demolition time has slowed but should be finished in approximately 45 days.

Griffin further reported information about the progress being made at the Venture Park Industrial Complex. Infrastructure improvements have continued, using grant money. An Economic Development Administration grant from the federal government, and the Department of Commerce grant to Colleton County combined with state and local funds from the Rural Infrastructure Authority, are making the water and wastewater infrastructure improvements to serve Colleton Venture Park industrial site.

Located on Industrial Road, the Park contains approximately 100 acres. According to the Department of Commerce, the Colleton infrastructure project is expected to help create jobs and generate investments. Regional planning efforts have been led by the Lowcountry Council of Governments.

Council votes to lease heavy equipment

In further business, council members determined they will lease to acquire certain heavy equipment and vehicles, which will be financed by means of a lease-purchase arrangement or lease-purchase agreements.

Council also voted to engage the services of Raymond James & Associates, Inc., as independent registered municipal financial advisor to assist the county in obtaining competitive proposals from banks and other lending institutions for the lease-purchase financing.

The specific terms of the lease-purchase financing arrangement, including the principal amount to be financed, interest rate, term, and other financing terms, and the selection of the financial institution or institutions providing the financing, will be approved by the Griffin.

In other business:

Colleton County Council passed a resolution to authorize acceptance and budgeting of various grants for 2021-2022.

The County Budget Ordinance requires a resolution to record all non-budgeted revenues, with the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office considered the office of primary responsibility.

The county received two grants: from South Carolina Office of the Attorney General for $279,934 as part of the Violence Against Women Act Program Grant; and from South Carolina Office of the Attorney General for $61,256 as part of the Victims of Crime Act Program Grant and Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) Program.

Contracts:

As part of the Gadsden Loop Sidewalk Project, the county advertised a request for bids.

Five companies responded to the request, and at the August 10, 2021 council meeting, staff recommended the contract be awarded to KTC Enterprises, Inc.

However, KTC was non-responsive; therefore, staff recommended that the contract be awarded

to the next lowest bidder, Palmetto Sitework Services, LLC in the amount of $477,157.05.

Funding for this project is being provided by the Colleton Transportation Committee, a Transportation Alternate Program (TAP) Grant and CDBG funds.

Contract for construction engineering and inspections services related to the Gadsden Loop neighborhood revitalization – sidewalk project has been awarded to CDM Smith, Inc.

The county advertised a request for qualifications, and six proposals were received. A three-member committee reviewed and ranked the proposals, and CDM Smith, Inc. was ranked the highest. Funding for this project is provided by the County Transportation Committee, a Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) Grant and CDBG funds.

A contract for Venture Park water and wastewater improvements was awarded to MJL, Inc. Three bids were received, but MJL, Inc. met all of the requirements of the bid and was the lowest bidder. Subject to the bid approval from the Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) and U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), a contract for the construction project will be issued once final approval is received. Funding for this construction will come from the Capital Projects Sales Tax Fund in the amount of $2,016,700.

A contract for design and build services for the Green Pond Community Center has been awarded to IP Builders, Inc. Five proposals were received, and the Green Pond Community Center Board of Directors found IP Builders, Inc. to have the highest score. Funding for this project is coming from the Special Revenue Fund in the form a Sports Development Marketing Program Grant.

Colleton County Council approved these contracts, with councilman Art Williams abstaining in the Green Pond vote due to his involvement in the project.

Board vacancies:

Members to board vacancies were appointed by county council on September 7. Colleton County Commission of Alcohol and Drug Abuse has five vacancies, and applicant Dolphus Pinckney and Tamara Berry were approved.

Colleton County Keep Colleton Beautiful Commission has four vacancies, and applicant Lillian Thomas was approved by council members.

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