Just a reminder: The County Council will meet Monday at 6:30PM. The budget for 2016-17 will get its first reading. You need to understand that there is a new jail being considered and God knows how much the Council will want to spend on that. The way I read the SC Constitution is that Pickens County can borrow 8% of the value of the property in Pickens County, but some people on the Council believe that every political subdivision in the county can borrow the 8%. This would mean another $35 or so million dollars the County can borrow. Mind you: There are some balloon payments coming due on the new school construction. Seeing these facts and conditions, it is recognized that the County Council used to be responsible for all school buildings and new construction, so the intent of the law was to allow only 8%. So 16 % plus balloon payments, if any, would mean a large tax increase. The cities could then add 8% under this thinking for a total of 24% of bonded indebtedness. The Council has seen fit to spend lots of money on recreation that does not benefit the citizens in the county but only those that live in the cities.
Another factor involving the construction of a jail is that the cities use the county jail and pay a fee that does not meet expenses and construction costs. In my opinion, there should be a calculation to see how much each entity has used the facilities over the past five years or so and the cities should pay for that much of the new construction with the county paying for county housing only. There is no incentive for the cities to reduce crime when they can send the problem to the County and for a fee get rid of the problem.
The judicial system in Pickens County has been a failure in moving out inmates for trial. This is costing Pickens County a fortune and is unconstitutional in that people accused of a crime should be expeditiously tried under the 6th Constitutional amendment.
My last comment is that all these taxes have impeded the economic growth of Pickens County, and there has been very little economic growth over the past 5 years. The school population has grown so little that some schools are now being closed for lack of population of students.
Please come and make your thoughts known.
Junius SmithPresident, Conservatives of the Upstate
Monday April 4, 2016 6:30PM
County Admin Building / Auditorium
222 McDaniel Ave
Pickens Sc 29671