Hearing set on $5M parks bond
SUMMERVILLE -- Issuing a $5 million bond for money to conserve land for parks and open space goes to public hearing next week, after Dorchester County Council voted on second reading Monday.
The hearing is scheduled to take place before the decisive third vote on the measure. Second reading passed 6-1 at a meeting called to set up the December vote before the current council steps down. Councilman Bill Hearn opposed, saying again that too many people who voted for the bond referendum in November did not realize the money won't pay to build park facilities, such as ball fields.
Council Chairman Jamie Feltner said the bond provides for that indirectly, by acquiring the land needed to seek grants and other funding to pay for facilities. Council held meetings and kept the public informed during the four-year bond effort "beyond what we do on most issues," he said.
Feltner is pushing to get the somewhat controversial bond in place before three new council members are seated in January, following elections in which issues with council spending dominated campaigns. The bond would be paid with a property tax increase that would add $5 on the bill for a $150,000 home.
The bond issue won 70 percent approval by voters in November. Councilman Larry Hargett noted the issue was approved by 89 percent of the voters in his district. "Mr. Hearn and I will be on that council, and we'll get to decide how much of that money is spend on what," Hargett said.
Councilman Willie Davis, who represents an upper county district, said his concern was that the money provide for the entire county.
Councilman David Chinnis, one of the three new council members, also voted in favor. Chinnis was appointed by Gov. Mark Sanford to take the seat early, after former council member Chris Murphy resigned. Murphy won election to the S.C. House District 98 seat in November; the appointment was routine. The new council will be seated in January.
Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744.