Local officials approach legislative delegation
Representatives from the school district, county and election commission came to the legislative delegation Monday to advocate their top priorities.
Council Chairman Bill Hearn highlighted the county’s efforts toward economic development, including water and sewer projects to the upper part of the county that will finally make industrial development possible in those areas.
The Winding Wood site, a 623-acre certified industrial park outside St. George that should be complete in the next month, will have parcels as large as 200 acres to attract large-scale industries, Hearn said.
A water project of the Lake Marion Regional Water Agency will bring water through Holly Hill to Harleyville.
The Ridgeville sewer diversion project is diverting sewer toward the Pine Hill Business Campus, on U.S. 17-A to the west of Summerville, to free up sewer capacity for the future Ridgeville Commerce Park, he said.
“We’re working on sewer, we’re working on water, we’re working on our roads … our plate is full. It can’t be done without the help of our allies,” he said.
Rep. Chris Murphy, who formerly served on county council, offered a word of warning on the local government fund, which council members complain is underfunded.
“There is a movement afoot to do away with the local government fund,” Murphy warned.
He encouraged the county and municipalities to attend meetings of the committee discussing the fund and keep abreast of developments.
For the schools, Dorchester District 2 Chief Financial Officer Allyson Duke said the district has problems with old buses and wants the state to provide step increases for teachers.
The district agrees with school choice but doesn’t want money from the public schools diverted to private schools.
She also noted the district, as well as all other districts in the state, are transitioning to Common Core standards. There is a bill in the General Assembly to ban Common Core, she said.
Joshua Dickard, executive director of the Dorchester County Board of Elections & Voter Registration, outlined the priorities of the S.C. Association of Registration and Election Officials.
The top priority is early voting, he said. Other priorities include deleting the requirement for a signature on absentee ballots, reducing legal notice for elections to 45 days from 90 days, allowing election commissions to advertise in other ways besides the newspaper, allowing a registered South Carolina voter to work as a poll worker in any county, and reconciling conflicts between election law and ethics law.
He noted the Senate recently passed a bill dealing with the conflicts that led to hundreds of candidates being tossed from the ballot last year.