First, I want to thank Steve Haynie and the fireman(name unknown) who found my cap that I had left under my seat and returned it to my house. Your kindness is appreciated.
The council meeting was very frustrating to me. I have worked long and hard to emphasize that the council takes an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the state and federal government. That the constitution is the final word not a document that the General Assembly can change on a whim or that the County Council or the School Board can ignore anytime they please, and say to the taxpayers"sue us if you don't like what we are doing". The constitutions are not a documents that the press should ignore, but that is what they have done for 40 years that I know of.
The evidence that some of the County Councilmen presented about Tri County Tech last night was very unsure of themselves and needed clarification: That it was the choice of the Council to fund Tri County Tech in anyway they deemed fit while recognizing that Article 11 Section 3 says that the state is responsible for all of their funding. The main reason for the establishment of the Tech schools was to train the people for industrial jobs, thereby creating a desire by companies to locate in the area. Tri County Tech has miserably failed at their mission and the Pickens County schools and taxpayers have had to absorb tens of millions of dollars to build a career center for the purpose that Tri County Tech was organized. They have done a creditable job, but some of you will remember that the 12th grade was put on in the 1950's in South Carolina to teach students in higher math and sciences thereby getting them ready for college. As soon as it was seen that students were still not prepared for college, Tri County Tech started to become a junior college, offering courses that were supposed to be taught at Clemson. Many students attending Clemson went over to Tri County Tech in order to avoid"hard or bad professors". I have pointed out to the Council that Pickens County is not responsible for building new buildings of any kind. The people of this county are not responsible for any, I repeat any of the funding for this institution: Article 11 Section 3 SC Constitution. The state over collected 1.6 billion dollars from the tax payers of the state this year. A large part of that money was collected for education purposes . The State under funded our schools by at least 10 million dollars based on statutory law and 50 million based on the Constitution and millions to our County government.
There have been many court cases on this subject and lawyers continue to litigate cases based on statutory laws rather than the Constitution. The Abbeville case, widely known by school finance minded folks was partially tried on the Constitution and so confused the judiciary that they could not complete the case for years until lawyers got back to Statutory laws and past opinions.
The next problem I had with last night's meeting was the $7.8 million dollar general obligation bonds. I have heard at least two versions of why we need to borrow all this money. The first version was that the money was being borrowed to replace a like bond that was maturing. Answer was not given as to what the money was to be spent on which potentailly breaks the SC Constitution law in Article 10 Section 5 which says that a tax levied on the people must have a specific purpose and Sections 12,13, 14, or 15. The second version I have heard was that the 7.8 million was due to being part of the 23 million set aside for the new jail. If this is true then operational money has been set aside for capital expenditure which in my opinion is illegal as those funds were collected to fullfill the needs of budgeted expense items in this years or even next years budget.
A third problem is that the County Council has over collected revenue from the taxpayers that makes up the $23 million and should refund, credit at the end of the year. If two above is correct, then $15.2 million of this money should be in a special account in the treasurer's office ready for refund. I recommended that the Council put the $15.2 million on a provisional ballot in November to see if the people wanted to spend the money on a new jail. Other wise the new jail is being crammed down our throats.
Other Conservatives of the Upstate spoke at the meeting: Patricia Watkins on mental health, Steve Haynie on Tri County Tech and GPATS, Junius Smith on the above items and Humane Society.
President of Consevatives of the Upstate