Thursday, October 31, 2013
Tuesday morning served as a meeting of the minds for local elected and businesses officials to discuss what needs to change to make Berkeley County a better place.
The Berkeley Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legislative Forum served as a platform to share reform ideas.
About 30 people gathered at Epicure Catering off St. James Avenue in Goose Creek. Each attendee had three chances to address an issue as the discussion went person-to-person around the room.
According to Dist. 15 Rep. Samuel Rivers, one issue that needs to be addressed is the amount of illegal immigrants who are in the area using schools and roads and taking jobs from citizens. “It may seem a little cold, but some need to be sent back,” Rivers said. “We need to get it fixed.”
Berkeley County Councilmember Caldwell Pinckney said residents in parts of rural Berkeley County do not have clean, fresh tap water in their homes and cannot even wash their clothes in this water.
Goose Creek City Councilmember Jerry Tekac said politicians need to work for the common good of the people. “The art of compromise is gone,” Tekac said. “Nothing gets done.”
Berkeley County Supervisor Dan Davis said tax reform is long overdue and would help economic development.
According to Berkeley Chamber CEO Elaine Morgan, South Carolina has the fifth highest industrial tax and seventh highest small business tax in the nation.
Berkeley Chamber President and Bushy Park DuPont plant manager Jerry Good said high electric costs are hurting local industries, as is the need for more natural gas, which would help bring more industry if available.
Moncks Corner Town Administrator Marc Hehn talked about the threat of Alcoa and Daniel Island both leaving Berkeley County and the large amount of income tax that would be lost should either occur.
Joel Arenson of the Goose Creek Architectural Review Board said he’d like to see more trade schools to train students for technical jobs like those at Boeing. He also said good public transportation is needed so employees who can’t afford a car and the expenses that go with it can commute to jobs such as those at Boeing.
According to attorney Robby Robbins, a loop that connects Berkeley and Dorchester counties so people won’t need to travel on I-26 and go to Charleston County to work, would be beneficial.