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Government

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City council makes board appointments

By Greg Summers

Lancaster City Council stuck to its guns and light agenda when making new appointments to nine municipal boards and commissions at its first meeting of 2016 on Jan. 12.
Council was set to make 19 appointments to 10 total boards, but nominations for the city’s planning commission were mistakenly omitted from the meeting agenda.
Since the agenda was approved prior to the votes, one appointment to the city’s planning commission could not be made.


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Solicitor: Avoid branding offenders as criminals

A new idea for handling bad checks

By Chris Sardelli

Victims of bad checks, as well as the people who write them, will soon have a new process to turn to in Lancaster County, which could save merchants money and prevent criminal records before they begin.
Known as the worthless-check unit, the initiative is one of several alternative court ideas envisioned by Sixth Circuit Solicitor Randy Newman and designed to cut down on case backlogs, criminal records and expenses for merchants.
Lancaster County Council unanimously approved the first steps toward forming the unit during its meeting Jan. 11.


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Newton picks up endorsements, draws crowd

By Greg Summers

On his first day as a candidate, Brandon Newton gained several endorsements from local political veterans and a room full of onlookers at the press conference announcing them.  
More than 80 people showed up at the University of South Carolina Lancaster’s Carole Ray Dowling Center as 21-year-old Newton officially announced he will seek the S.C. House District 45 seat.
Newton said he decided to run after S.C. Rep. Deborah Long recently announced she would not seek a fifth term.


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Filing starts today in special election to replace mayor

By Greg Summers

Lancaster mayoral candidates can begin filing today for the Feb. 23 special election to replace the late Joe Shaw.
Candidates can file from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. weekdays at the county voter registration office at the Lancaster County Administration Building, 101 N. Main St. Filing ends at noon Dec. 31.
The special election will fill the remaining term of Mayor Shaw, who died Nov. 29. The term ends in 2018.


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Council debates use of $2.8M in courthouse sales-tax money

By Chris Sardelli

An upgraded courthouse security system, leg restraints for prisoners and a new courtroom are some of the proposals being considered for how to use a $2.8 million surplus from the courthouse sales-tax fund.
With the fund nearing the end of its seven-year lifespan, and with several million dollars still left on the table, officials discussed what to do with the money during Lancaster County Council’s Dec. 14 meeting.


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Council approves fund reallocation for sheriff’s office

By Chris Sardelli

County officials have approved a short-term solution to keep deputies from leaving the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, and a more permanent plan to retain employees is in the works.
Lancaster County Council unanimously voted Dec. 14 to reallocate $218,462 in the sheriff’s office budget to help bolster the salaries of existing deputies. Originally designated for the hiring of several new deputies, the funding was moved to help incentivize existing employees and stem the tide of deputies leaving for jobs at nearby agencies.


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Newton to run for House 45 seat in 2016

By Chris Sardelli

Brandon Newton, the 21-year-old chairman of the Lancaster County Republican Party, is running for the S.C. House District 45 seat.
Though it’s only been a few days since S.C. Rep. Deborah Long announced she would not seek a fifth term next year, Newton revealed his intent to run Dec. 14.


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McClancy rezone vote fails at council

‘Deader than a doornail’

By Chris Sardelli

It took three votes, more than two hours of comments and debate, and one woman escorted from the room by a deputy, but Lancaster County Council ultimately voted against a rezoning request for McClancy Seasoning on Dec. 14.
The rezoning, which many thought was dead and buried following council’s vote to deny it Nov. 9, was back up for discussion after Councilman Steve Harper made a motion Nov. 23 to reconsider the vote. Harper said he made the motion so he could amend the ordinance to allow for a B-3 commercial rezoning.


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Long won’t seek 5th S.C. House term

By Chris Sardelli

Deborah Long has decided her fourth term as House District 45 representative will be her last.
Long, a Republican who made history in 2008 as the first woman elected to the District 45 seat, announced Dec. 11 she will not run for reelection next year. She plans to serve the remaining year on her two-year term.


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City OKs $367,000 for wastewater fixes

By Greg Summers

Lancaster City Council unanimously approved two contract amendments and five new contracts totaling almost $367,000 on Dec. 8, all with the engineering firm hired to assure compliance with the municipality’s EPA consent order.
Lancaster City Administrator Flip Hutfles said five of the expenditures are directly tied to the August 2013 consent order issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency involving the city’s wastewater-collection system.
A consent order is a negotiated agreement that obligates a party to make specific improvements.


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