Jul. 20—NEWBERRY COUNTY — Newberry County Council voted to utilize some of the funds from the sale of the Cavanaugh Tract to pay off a promissory note (Santee Cooper) in the amount of $1,213,800.
"Several years ago, the county took out a promissory note, it is my understanding this involved a spec building that was built at that time. The bottom line, there is a $1,213,800 promissory note the county is obligated to pay. We have paid interest only payments for the last several years in the amount of $24,000 a year, but that interest only payment will end next year. The county will be required to make a $252,468 payment, which will require a 1.6 mill increase to the debt service millage," said County Administrator Christopher Inglese. "To avoid that potential debt service millage increase, we are proposing to utilize funds from the sale of the Cavanaugh Tract to satisfy that debt."
Councilperson Mary Arrowood made a motion to utilize funds from the sale to pay off the promissory note. This was seconded by Councilperson Travis Reeder.
"That was one of the first things I wanted do with the money," Arrowood said.
Before the vote, Inglese said the auditor (Donna Lominack) notified administration that the interest portion of the payment can be paid with existing funds in the debt services account.
"We have more than enough to pay this off," he said.
Following the unanimous vote to approve, Chairperson Todd Johnson said, "I think this is a wise move for our county."
In other business, council approved a full-time employee position for an emergency service coordinator, under Emergency Service Coordinator Tommy Long.
"We had a combined position with the City of Newberry, we are doing away with that position. Some of that funding, about $40,000, is going to go toward this position and we also had some other funding in my budget I am able to use. I am looking to make this additional position under my control to help manage things like the fire training facility," Long said.
Long said they were able to utilize funding already budgeted, including $20,000 coming from a contract they no longer use. This means the position would not require an increase, but rather utilize funding already in the budget.
"This is one of those positions we've needed for some time," said Councilperson Henry Livingston.
The position was approved after a motion from Livingston and a second from Arrowood.
—Council approved third and final reading for an ordinance to impose a one percent sales tax, subject to referendum, within Newberry County pursuant to the Capital Project Sales Tax Act. A public hearing was also held, but no one spoke for or against. Following this third reading, the CPST projects will appear on the November general election ballot.
—Council approved third and final reading to rezone .779 acres on Oak Hollow Road, Newberry from RS — Single Family Residential to R2 — Rural. A public hearing was also held, but no one spoke for or against.
—Council approved third and final reading of an ordinance authorizing the expenditure of Capital Project Sales Tax funds (2017 CPST Bonds). A public hearing was also held, but no one spoke for or against.
—Council approved the first reading of an ordinance establishing procedures and requirements for entering into development agreements in Newberry County.
—Council approved the first reading of an ordinance to rezone 3.87 acres located on 411 S.C. Highway 39, Chappells from R2 — Rural to GC — General Commercial for a potential storage facility.
Reach Andrew Wigger @ 803-768-3122 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.