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Monday, September 27, 2021

Is Our Tax Supported Library In Pickens County Pushing An Agenda?



Banning books or movies from our Library and promoting and pushing people to come view them are two entirely different issues. 

The present appointed 6 person Library Board and their Chairman Dennis Latham have absolutely no say so over which movies or books the Library Director, Stephanie Howard, decides to promote and push or the banned books that she and her staff decide to promote or push for citizens to read. 

To be clear, these decisions at present are at the sole decision of Library Director Stephanie Howard and her staff who are payed by YOUR tax dollars.

Conservatives of the Upstate think this needs to change. She needs oversight into her decisions. Isn't that the job of the appointed Board of Trustees? 

Who appoints these board members you may ask. The answer is our County Council, and they are at present accepting applications for citizens to serve on this board. There are 2 upcoming vacancies.  See this link: https://www.co.pickens.sc.us/government/county_council/boards___commissions.php  

Someone on the Library of Board of Trustees needs to make a motion that going forward all media and reservation space for meetings being promoted and sponsored at the library needs to be pre-approved by a majority vote of the Library Board of Trustees. 

Also, let it be also known that the Library Board Chairman Dennis Latham has not responded to two of  COTU's Leadership Team member, Johnnelle Raines' emails about what effect the 344 signed petitions against showing questionable violent, sex filled R rated movies had on any discussions at their last Board of Trustees meeting held on September 16 at the Pickens Village Library Branch. 

We are not the only community that questions what their tax supported libraries are doing. Please take the time to read this article.


After listening to the Library Director recently pitch to the Pickens County Council spending taxpayer money on expanding the Library for building more meeting space, none of the county councilmen even asked for a list of groups they have had to turn down. Wouldn't that data be important to know? 

We here at COTU think that choosing "appropriate" media to sponsor and push for citizens to read or watch or participate in is imperative for reflecting our community's values.  What we have observed lately is that our tax supported library Director Stephanie Howard wants the community to come watch and read media that do not reflect our community needs.  

What kind of content will the library director allow going forward if they do indeed build these expansion meeting rooms?  

Are the meeting rooms going to be allowed to hold Drag Queen Story Hours? How about Satanic group meetings? Witchcraft meetingsLGBTQ + meetings to educate our youth on sex change operations? Or maybe a Man/ Boy Love Group to discuss the book Lawn Boy? (see this video on that book)

Citizens, we sure hope you understand the fact that it’s not as simple as some think, when they say things like this: 

"You don’t like it, then just don’t go.” Or "If you don’t want to read it, don’t read it."

As stated before, having books and movies available for people to choose of their own free will to check out and view in the privacy of their own home is a totally different issue than the Library becoming the sponsor and pusher of immorality.

COTU indeed believes in freedom and our first amendment. But our tax dollars should not be pushing or sponsoring evil.

Shouldn't our tax supported Library reflect the morality and values of the community they serve?  Has our community now become fine with evil agendas?  Having banned books or R rated movies on the shelf is indeed Freedom… but sponsoring and pushing citizens to choose them is immoral. 

Our tax supported library is here to serve our appropriate educational needs. It should not be pushing a questionable or controversial agenda. The library should not be funded by our mandated tax dollars to promote the liberal American Library Associations political agenda of corrupting our community with filth. 

Let's all remember that one of the goals of Marxism is to destroy Godly family values. Let’s not aid and abet that through our tax supported library please. 

The next Library Board Meeting  which allows public comment is to be held on November 18th at 6pm, 105 Commons Way, Central, SC at the Central-Clemson Library

Here is Stephanie Howard, Library Director's email: showard@pcls.fyi

Here is Dennis Latham, the Library Chairman's email: dennislatham@gmail.com

Here is how to get in contact with our County Council via email: https://www.co.pickens.sc.us/government/county_council/index.php




Monday, September 20, 2021

Is Our County Council Evil Or Just Slightly Bent & Very Twisted?

Pickens County Council just recently voted to bypass the SC law on the books of a 5.3 mil maximum increase and raise our property taxes to  9.9 mils! 

Chairman Chris Bowers, Councilmen Henry Wilson, Ensley Feemster, Trey Whitehurst, and Vice Chairman Roy Costner all voted in favor of skirting the SC state law that only allows only a 5.3 mil maximum. Councilman Alex Saitta was the only one voting against it.  

Doesn't this sneaky deal sound  like something Snideley Whiplash would do in the old cartoon series on TV, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show segment named "Dudley Do-Right Of The Mounties"

The point is folks, yes, our roads are in horrible shape. BUT what is the best solution, or the "DO-RIGHT" solution? Raise our property taxes exponentially?  I don't think most taxpayers have that opinion. Especially in today's economic climate. 

And to add insult to injury, this council did their "Snideley Whiplash" impression with no transparency ahead of time! Regular taxpayers had no  input into whether this solution was good or not, because they didn't tell us about it ahead of time.  How can you complain about what you don't know? All we knew going into the 3rd reading was that the plan was to have a revenue neutral mil increase to replace the illegal road user fee that they have been collecting. 

Remember folks, this isn't the first time they've gone behind our backs. They just recently voted to change the no alcohol sales on county property with NO ahead of time transparency, and it wasn't even listed on their agenda!  This council is definitely showing us, they don't really want you to know ahead of time what they are planning. Remember the time they all went to Germany on our dime without you knowing ahead of time?

Folks, we better get our council employees reigned in! The bridle is loose!  Where's Dudley Do-Right when we need him? Conservatives of the Upstate need to step up to the plate and demand they stop acting like Snideley Whiplash! 

The plan wasn't put out there until the THIRD and FINAL reading!  Before that night, all the citizens thought the tax hike would be a revenue neutral proposal to offset the fact council had to stop collecting a $20 per vehicle road user fee. So basically, what we have now, is a council deciding to replace an illegal fee with another questionable shady backdoor deal that doesn't just replace that revenue but increases it by 300%. 

How you may ask, did they do this? IMHO, the Administrator Ken Roper, (who is a lawyer) and our hired county lawyer, Les Hendricks found the loophole and  cooked up this questionable proposal  and presented at the last reading. Lawyers are notorious for looking for loopholes. 

Point is folks, the majority of our present County Council want to justify everything they spend as a "need" and an "emergency situation". In reality, they are too lazy to actually look within the budget and find alternatives to taxing us more. It really doesn't matter what the costs of paving county roads are. There are LEGAL limits as to what you can raise taxes for and how much you can raise them. That's law. That's the rules! This council with two lawyers that have their ears can justify spending unlimited amounts of any need, want, or dream- but the LAW has limits in place to restrict corruption as much as we can. Doing this huge tax hike sets precedent for corruption of every other spending limit! 

Over 50 people showed up at the Committee of the Whole meeting last night, Monday, Sept 20 and stayed hoping the Chairman would suspend the rules and allow public input about their shenanigans. NOPE, it didn't happen. Actually he snubbed his nose at everyone and just wanted to say the agenda was posted on line in accordance with the laws and he was not required to do anything else.

So what do we do now?

SHOW UP AT THE MONDAY OCT 4th meeting 6:30 pm and bring your neighbors, your church members, your family, and friends who are also angry about this major tax hike! 

Sign up to speak during public forum time. You'll have 3 minutes to plead your case as to why you oppose this tax hike and want it repealed. LET YOUR EMPLOYEES KNOW you have the power to fire them come election time. 

We need to convince 3 more councilman to join forces with Alex Saitta and overturn this tax hike! It's a mountain to climb...are you up for it? And if they don't!  KICK THEM OUT NEXT ELECTION CYCLE and vote for someone who will repeal this major tax hike. 

 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Shady Tactics Tax Hike Anyone?

Councilman Alex Saitta explains what county council did with this new replacement tax hike to replace the illegal $20 user fee they were collecting...

If the legal millage cap was 5.3 mills, how did the Pickens County Council raise the property taxes a record amount of 9.9 mills?

I voted "No" for a variety of reasons and this was just another one one on my list. Let me explain how they got around the millage cap. 

SC State law 6-1-320 caps the annual tax increase to 5.3 mills. There are a few exemptions to the cap, which deal with emergencies or unusual circumstances. Specifically, there is a small exemption that says the council can raise taxes more than the legal cap to “maintain a reserve account” . 

The purpose of this exemption is for situations like the county gets hit with a big expense, it doesn’t have a cash reserve, and it has to borrow to plug the gap. So the county doesn’t get caught short again, the next year it can raise taxes above the cap to fund a reserve for such emergencies in the future. 

The county general account (which taxes were raised about 10 mills), has about $23 million in it that is not promised nor needed for cash flow purposes. It is a massive excess or reserve by anyone’s definition. 

Expenses paid from the operations account are things like roads, personnel, solid waste and EMS. If the expenses of any of these departments run over budget, they tap into the $23 million excess sitting in the operations account. They don’t need separate reserve accounts for each department. It is kind of like your car. The one spare serves as the spare for all 4 tires. You don’t need nor would want to drive around with the complication of 4 spares, one for each tire. 

If the true aim was solely to create a dedicated reserve account for roads inside the general account, they could have moved $3 million over from the $23 million in cash without the extra tax hike.  

I think the reason they created this unnecessary reserve account within a massive reserve was to get around the cap. If you look at the first and second readings and the other options at third reading, a reserve was not created. It was only created in the options that blew past the 5.3 mill cap. Creating this additional reserve account, in the minds of the legal staff allowed the council to blow past the millage cap in order “to maintain a reserve”. I saw it as a legal scheme or maneuver to get around the cap. Not what I'm about. 

Think about it... Using that logic, next year they could create a separate reserve account for the EMS department, inside the operations account. Again, this would allow them to blow past the millage cap in order to fund it. 

The following year they could create another reserve account, this time for solid waste. Then they could blow past the millage cap again in order to “maintain that reserve account”. 

In my mind this approach of creating a reserve account within a reserve account to get around the cap violated the purpose or intent of the millage cap law, which had exceptions for emergency situations. No emergency here. 

Think about this as well. The $23 million they already had in reserve in the operations account was due to over collection of taxes. Evidently $23 million wasn't enough. So another reserve account was created and they reached above the millage cap of 5.3, raised it 9.9 mills and took even more from the public. Now they have $26 million in reserves. Swimming in cash. There was no emergency here to warrant blowing past the millage cap. 


Monday, September 13, 2021

My Child, Their Education, MY CHOICE

 


Do you believe a child's education should be a parent's choice?


If you do, then text the word “Choice” to 8448443477 and you can join the movement to ensure the local school board understands YOU are their boss.

By texting “Choice” to 8448443477 you will automatically be informed of a petition that already has nearly 5,000 signatures that you can sign. You will be notified periodically of any further action needed and the date, time and place for a massive Parent/Concerned citizen MY CHILD, THEIR EDUCATION, MY CHOICE Rally.

If you want to be a TEAM LEADER in this movement whose job is to recruit 10 more members to this movement and receive a free T-shirt please contact Johnnelle Raines @ 704-860-0648 for more information.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Pickens County Council September 13, 2021 Meeting Announced



KEY DECISIONS BEING DISCUSSED

*Monday September 13th, 6:30pm*
Inside Auditorium at Administration Facility
222 McDaniel Ave, Pickens, SC 29671

Agenda Item 11
PUBLIC HEARING AND THIRD READING OF AN ORDINANCE NO. 602 REPEALING
ORDINANCE #s 295, 332, 365, AND 373 (THE ROAD USER FEE ORDINANCES) AND
AMENDING ORDINANCE No. 599 (THE FY 22 BUDGET ORDINANCE) SO AS TO PROVIDE
FOR A LEVY OF TAXES TO OFFSET THE LOSS OF REVENUE FROM THE REPEAL OF
SAID ROAD USER FEE ORDINANCES, AND MATTERS RELATED THERETO.

Agenda Item 13
DISCUSSION OF COUNTY MASK REQUIREMENTS

Agenda Item 14D
CONSIDERATION OF REQUEST FROM LIBRARY BOARD FOR EXPANSION
PLANS FOR HAMPTON LIBRARY

Our Stances:

Road user fee was declared illegal by the SC Courts, where's our refund? So now they are punishing you for their illegal plundering. Raising property taxes is never a good thing. We already pay enough extra taxes for roads at the gas pump that our state is sitting on. 

Mask should always be optional not mandatory. No proof of their effectiveness is proven. In fact, there are studies that show how masks do more harm than good.

Council should deny any request for more funding for the library, until the library adheres to SC state law requirements of our libraries being educational. Our libraries must adhere to their mission statement of providing "appropriate" materials and quit promoting viewing of "inappropriate" movies inside our tax supported libraries.

Please show up and speak at public forum time. If not you, then who? They are YOUR employees, they need your input! When the boss is away...the employees play... and they play with your money and your freedoms. Show up. Speak up.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Important Message From Pastor Mark Burns



IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM PASTOR MARK BURNS:

"We Parents SHOULD have the RIGHT to choose what's best for our children. 

We MUST organize and have a plan of action to force the Pickens County School Board and or even the State Capitol to Listen to us.  

One way to do that is to hold a massive "PARENTS RIGHT TO CHOOSE RALLY." 

There are currently 2.1k members of the SDPC Parents Against Virtual Learning Facebook Group. Surely we can get a massive crowd of concerned parents to attend!

I'm hosting a pre-Planning meeting before we schedule the date and time of the rally: If you are interested in helping plan the rally, please join me:

Friday, Sept. 10th 
Silver Bay Restaurant in Easley, SC at 7 pm.

Invite EVERY Pickens County Parent you know, who's Against Virtual Learning to this meeting. 

Also, ask them to text the word CHOICE to the number 844-844-3477 to STAY INFORMED and GET UPDATES. 

There is POWER IN NUMBERS and WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER!!!! 

TAKE BACK OUR RIGHTS! 

Please let me know if you plan to attend the Rally Planning meeting and the solutions we request from the School Board. 





Thursday, September 2, 2021

September 2021 COTU Monthly Meeting

Join us Thursday, September 16, 2021

at 7:00 PM

For our monthly meeting

Cafe' Connections

319 E. Main Street

Pickens, SC 29671

Sheriff Rick Clark is our Guest Speaker.