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Government

  • Council develops first strategic plan

    It began with a wall covered in sticky notes and scraps of paper, but ended with a rough draft for the county’s first-ever strategic plan.
    Armed with lists of ideas on how to improve the quality of life for county residents, several members of County Council, as well as other county staff members, met in Columbia  from Jan. 14 through Jan. 16 to hammer out ideas at a strategic planning session. Held at the University of South Carolina’s Institute for Governmental Services, the session allowed council to identify and prioritize the needs of the county.

  • Howard elected mayor pro tem

    John Howard jokes that he’ll probably never have to exercise the duties of his newly elected position.
    Howard, who has served on Lancaster City Council since 1982, was elected mayor pro tempore at Tuesday’s meeting. He will assume mayoral duties in Mayor Joe Shaw’s absence.
    But that’s the catch – Shaw is hardly absent.
    Shaw said he’s missed just two council meetings in the nearly 30 years he’s been mayor, and Howard is quite aware of that.

  • Schools conduct surprise searches

    Lancaster County school board members heard an update Tuesday night about the implementation of the district’s new drugs and weapons search initiative at county schools.
    Bryan Vaughn, director of safety and transportation, said in December school officials conducted 13 drug searches under the new policy. One search was conducted at each of the county’s five middle schools and each of the four high schools were searched twice.

  • IL voters OK fire district referendum

    INDIAN LAND – Voters in Indian Land overwhelmingly approved a proposed fire protection tax district in a non-binding advisory referendum Tuesday. The vote was 1,187 in favor and 86 opposed.
    The proposed district would raise money for the Indian Land Volunteer Fire Department through a $75 annual fee assessed on homes. Businesses and other users would be assessed at $75 per 2,500 square feet.
    The vote is intended to help Lancaster County Council members gauge the community’s support for the proposed district.

  • City Council unified on hospitality grants

    For the first time in a long while, Lancaster City Council did not have lengthy debate about the awarding of grants from the city’s hospitality tax fund.
    Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve funding for the second quarter of 2010-11 to the Lancaster Children’s Council and the Lancaster Bruins Booster Club.
    The Children’s Council applied for and was awarded $20,000 for its Prevention of Youth Substance Abuse project.
    The booster club applied for and was awarded $5,000 to make repairs to the Roddey Drive baseball facilities.

  • City receives ‘A’ on audit

    Despite one structural concern, the city of Lancaster received a favorable audit of its 2009-10 budget.
    Blair, Bohle & Whitsitt of Charlotte conducted the audit, which was presented to Lancaster City Council on Tuesday night.
    Accountant Steve Johnston said his firm issued a “clean opinion” of the city’s governmental and business activities, which means things are in good standing. The audit also reviewed each major city fund, its balance and its accounting practices.

  • IL voters overwhelmingly approve fire district

    INDIAN LAND – Voters in Indian Land overwhelmingly approved a proposed fire protection tax district in a non-binding advisory referendum Tuesday.
    The vote was 1,187 in favor and 86 opposed.
    The fire protection district is intended to raise money for the Indian Land Fire Department through a $75 annual fee assessed on homes. Businesses and other users would be assessed at $75 per 2,500 square feet.

  • What’s next in landfill process?

    Landfills are a messy business, though Kathy Sistare wants the public to know that business is now out of the hands of Lancaster County Council.
    Sistare, chairwoman of County Council, has been fielding questions from county residents for weeks about the prospect of a new solid waste landfill being developed at the Mineral Mining Landfill, off S.C. 903 in the Flat Creek area.
    “What we’re trying to get across to people is that Lancaster County is not in the landfill business,” Sistare said.

  • A conflict of interest for county attorneys?

    Several calls were made to The Lancaster News recently asking if there is a conflict of interest in the landfill issue with the county’s attorneys, McNair Law Firm, representing both the county and Waste Management.
    Lancaster County Administrator Steve Willis said the law firm is not representing both clients at this time.  

  • County treasurer dies at age 66

    Mornings won’t be the same for Carrie Helms.
    Helms was used to seeing her boss and county treasurer, R.E. “Dick” Rowell, stop by the office each morning about 10 a.m. She said the office staff would always greet him the same way.
    “They’d holler to him, ‘Good morning, Mr. Rowell,’ and he’d brighten up and just grin from ear to ear,” Helms said. “That just tickled him every time.”