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Government

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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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Board still must approve bond vote before it goes on ballot

School building projects to total $199M

After reviewing a plethora of school needs across Lancaster County, school district officials settled this week on $199 million as the amount of a proposed capital projects bond.
The largest items on the bond list are two new schools in Indian Land – a high school and an elementary – though the list also includes numerous projects for schools throughout the county.
Details about the projects, and a final bond amount to eventually present to voters, were revealed during a special Lancaster County school board meeting Dec. 8.


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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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Technicality puts McClancy rezoning back on table

By Chris Sardelli

Despite a vote to deny an industrial rezoning for McClancy Seasoning last month, a procedural technicality will allow the issue to be heard once again during Lancaster County Council’s Dec. 14 meeting.
The rezoning, which has drawn ire from hundreds of Panhandle residents during the last few months, was brought back to council’s Nov. 23 meeting when Councilman Steve Harper asked for a motion to reconsider.


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City upgrading new all-purpose rescue truck

By Greg Summers

Lancaster Fire Department’s rescue truck – Rescue 1 – is the most used apparatus in the fleet.
It not only answers emergency calls in the corporate city limits, but also provides mutual aid to the county in an area from Steele Hill to Heath Springs. In this year’s first 11 months, Rescue 1 responded to 530 calls.
After a unanimous commitment from Lancaster City Council, there will be an upgraded Rescue 2 in the future to help reduce Rescue 1’s workload.


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Deputies’ low pay keeping jobs open

By Chris Sardelli

A lack of competitive salaries is holding down staffing levels at the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, and county officials are exploring ways to encourage employee recruitment and retention.
Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile said Dec. 4 he is facing a good news, bad news scenario when it comes to keeping his department fully staffed in the wake of the county’s rapidly growing population.


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