Fees Up Again

Council Trying Again
On Road Use Fee

  After shooting down a road user fee at the September meeting, Saluda County Council brought it back to life at the Mon., Nov. 11, meeting.
  The main difference in the new ordinance is the fee has risen from $20 to $25.
  If the fee passes the third reading, the money will be used to repair and maintain the county’s roads.
  According to the ordinance, the owners of every wheeled and titled vehicle, except licensed and registered mobile homes, required to be registered and licensed in Saluda County by the S.C. Department of Transportation, shall pay annually a road user fee of $25.00.
  The fee will be included in the vehicle property tax notice.
  Funds derived from the fee will be used exclusively for improving roads and streets, which are not part of the state or federal road system.
  Council Vice-chairman Frank Daniel said a public hearing on the ordinance will be held Mon., Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers.
  Council rescinded a decision made at a previous meeting on buying a  trailer for the Election and Voter Registration office from the Saluda Fire Department for $3600. It was discovered after the vote that the County EMS had a trailer that can be used for transporting voting machines to and from precincts at no cost to the county.
  David Enzastiga, CPA, with Rich & Enzastiga Firm, presented the audited financial statement for Fiscal Year 2018-2019.
  A primary concern is the county has dropped below the $2 million it is required to have in reserve to operate the county for six months. The fund balance on July 1, 2018, was $2,073,938, while the balance on June 30, 2019, was $1,830,126.
  Council voted to adopt the Saluda County Recreation Rule and Rental Policy at the recommendation of Recreation Director Paul Ergle.
  Ergle said travel teams, not affiliated with the Recreation Department, are using the county’s facilities free of charge, but the county still has to maintain the fields. He said some teams from out of the county are using the facilities.
  Ergle said Saluda is one of the few counties that does not charge rental fees for use of facilities, and recommended the county adopt fees, including $20 an hour for baseball fields, and $25 for the soccer field for in-county teams, and $30 for baseball per hour and $35 for soccer for out of county teams.
  There is also a fee for all day use for the soccer field and the entire complex.
  Ergle said these fees are comparable with neighboring counties.
  Council approved by a 3-1 vote to replace the camera system at the American Legion Building. County Emergency Management Director Josh Morton said the current cameras are more than a decade old and the DVR is six to seven years old.
  He said putting in an entirely new system would cost approximately the same as buying a new DVR, so he recommended buying a new system for $4359.20. Daniel and Councilmen Wayne Grice and Jones Butler voted for the new system. Councilman Justin Anderson voted against.
  Assistant Emergency Management Director Jill Warren asked permission to submit a grant application for new radios for the EMS and Fire Departments. The $400.355.07 grant will require a match of $40,035.00.
  Warren said this was the same grant the county sought last year, but did not receive. The $34,000 matching money for that application in still set aside, so the county would need an additional $6,035.50 if the grant is approved.
  Council approved the request.
  A request by Solid Waste Coordinator Jacob Schumpert to fill a vacation position in the Solid Waste Department was granted.
  At the beginning of the meeting, Daniel expressed the county’s sympathy to the family of Billy Asbill on his passing. Mr. Asbill worked at one of the convenience centers.

Man Dies In Monetta Crash

  A man died in a fiery crash Fri., Nov. 15, near Monetta.
  According to Deputy Coroner Angie Rita, the victim was identified as William Robert Abener, 69, of Ridge Spring.
  Lance Corporal Tyler Tidwell of the S.C. Highway Patrol said the accident happened at 6:48 a.m. on S.C. 23 near Peach Orchard St., about 1.3 miles north of Monetta.
  The driver of a 1975 Chevrolet pick-up was travelling north, when the vehicle went off the left side of the road, hit a tree and became fully engulfed in flames.
  The victim was not wearing a seatbelt.
  Assisting on the scene were the S.C. Highway Patrol, Sheriff’s Office, EMS, Ridge Spring Fire Department, and Chief Deputy Dudley Rushton and Mrs. Rita from the Coroner’s office.

Chairman Resigns,
Filing Announced

  Saluda County Chairman Derrick Jones abruptly resigned Fri., Nov. 8.
  In his letter Jones gave no reason for his decision, other than to say it was time to resign.
  On Sun., Nov. 10, Jones also resigned as pastor of Saluda Church of God, citing health reasons.
  Filing for the office with open Fri., Nov. 29, at 12 noon and will close on Sat., Dec. 7, at 12 noon.
  The party primaries will be held Jan. 21, 2020, and the special election will be held on  Mar. 24, 2020.
  See the official notice in this week’s print edition for further information.