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County creates mobile home removal, litter programs

As part of the incoming 2017-2018 fiscal year budget, Colleton County Council has approved to fund a new plan that will either remove abandoned mobile homes in Colleton County or refurbish them for needy residents.
The county has increased a portion of its budget by 46 percent to help remove about 60 mobile homes that the county has not been able to sell through its delinquent tax sale. Because they haven’t sold, they are transferred to the county’s Forfeit Land Commission. If any of these 60 homes can be made “inhabitable,” they will be refurbished and then given to an “eligible non-profit to provide housing to qualified residents,” according to Jon Carpenter, Director of the county’s finance department.
“Those mobile homes that are deemed structurally unsafe or the cost of repairs needed exceeds the value of the unit will be demolished,” he said, in a written statement. “This determination of either relocating a unit or demolishing a unit will be done by County Planning and Development staff and is just one of the many initiatives, in addition to the litter control program, that the county is undertaking during the upcoming fiscal year in order to improve the livability of the community.”
Colleton County Council has also created a new litter control program. This program will be conducted along all of the county’s major highway routes that “approach the City of Walterboro,” according to Carpenter. The program partners the county with the S.C. Board of Disabilities and Colleton Industries to create a regularly-scheduled litter pickup effort.

The program will focus primarily on Robertson Boulevard, Sidneys Road, Jefferies Boulevard, Green Pond Highway, Highway 17A and S.C. Highway 64.
The program should be in full effect by mid-July of this year, according to Carpenter.
Broken down, here are a few of the largest monetary changes listed in the county budget for the coming year 2017-2018 fiscal year:
Summer Feeding boost
County leaders increased The Colleton Museum budget by about 390-percent from last year’s budget. The increase is mostly for food purchases for the countywide Summer Feeding and After School feeding programs, both of which are programs added to the budget for the county’s Commercial Kitchen. The kitchen falls under the operational budget of the museum.
According to county officials, the county will receive a reimbursement from the federal USDA program for the meal purchases.
In Colleton County this year, the summer feeding program is anticipated to serve 3,000 meals per day. The After-School Feeding Program is expected to serve about 1,500 meals per week.
New ambulance service for Smoaks
Colleton County residents can expect a fully-staffed ambulance for the Smoaks community. The new service will start in January 2018. “This Smoak’s ambulance will have an anticipated call volume of 400 responses annually,” said Carpenter. According to him, the new unit will cover the northern portion of Colleton County, from the current Fire Station No. 7 in Smoaks. This includes helping the communities of Beulah, Buckhead, Johsnville, Mill Pond, Padgetts, Springtown and the entire Town of Smoaks.
“The unit should be able to cut response times in half for citizens residing in northern Colleton County,” said Carpenter. The new ambulance will also provide back-up for the current Bells ambulance, he said.
“This will be much faster for medical emergencies in Western Colleton County, as back-up is presently provided from ambulances responding from Walterboro,” said Carpenter.
Two new full-time firefighter-paramedics will be hired to assist with the new ambulance.
More money for county employees
The new budget also reflects a 2-percent cost-of-living increase for eligible county staff members. The minimum pay for all permanent hourly county employees will also go to at least $10 per hour.
Other funding efforts:
As part of the budget, Colleton County Council has voted to fund two deputy positions in the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office that have previously been unfunded during the revenue shortage created last year with the SCE&G Canady’s Plant closure.
The county is also continuing to move its current paper records into a digital format.
Funding has also been added to the county budget to create a new Colleton County Animal Control Shelter Manager position.

Heather Walters (1341 Posts)