Charleston Council Moves Ahead on Finance Issues

April 14, 2011

Investigative Reports

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The NerveBy Warwick Jones
Citizen Reporter

The Charleston County Council’s latest finance committee meeting was relatively short, at least until the committee broke out for an executive session.

Many of the items on the March 31 agenda related to procurement or minor capital projects:

  • The committee considered making a joint application to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control;
  • Heard a presentation about a senior center in West Ashley;
  • Agreed to hire consultants related to development in East Edisto; and
  • Agreed to take the Shepphard tract off the market.

The finance committee decided to join with a number of other agencies to make a joint application for $460,000 from DHEC, with the idea that funds would be applied to upgrade failing septic systems in the West Country, specifically the Toogoodoo Basin.

Of the $460,000, Charleston Community Services will seek $30,000 to specifically act as community liaison, educator and advocate.

The committee heard a presentation by Charleston County staff about progress in building a senior center in West Ashley. A request for proposals is likely to be sent out shortly. No site has yet been chosen.

There are a number of potential donors to the project, with the cost estimated at about $3 million and the yearly operating expenses at around $380,000, according to the staff.

The committee agreed to hire consultants to assist the East Edisto Development Agreement Review Team Committee in shaping the development agreement with Mead Westvaco.

The latter is planning to develop 31,000 acres in East Edisto. Specifically, the consultant will help with planning, engineering, finance and legal. The costs of the consultant will come from the $175,000 paid by Mead Westvaco’s application fee.

Finally, it was agreed that the Shepphard tract would come off the market for the present.

The appraised value of the 753-acre tract is $2 million, but the best offer of late has been $950,000.

The committee has chosen to wait until real estate values recover. The tract is still for sale and if there were an interested bidder willing to pay the higher price it would again be put on the market.