DENMARK – Denmark City Council was told Monday night that Bamberg County has failed to provide it $50,000 in grant money for a facility to recycle solid waste.
Gail Ellis, a citizen of Bamberg, spoke during public comments, telling council that Denmark was overlooked by the county for an earmarked grant.
“The administrator (Heyward Robinson) was not aware of it,” Ellis said. Robinson affirmed that he was not aware of the grant
Ellis blamed the county administrator. “Our county administrator did not inform Denmark,” she said.
The Bamberg County website corroborates Ellis’ statements about the grant, with a release stating that Bamberg County was awarded more than $330,000 in S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control funds in 2017. $50,000 was, according to the release on the county website, supposed to go to Denmark and the recycling facility for solid waste: “The $50,000 Solid Waste (increased Collection) Grant will be used to open a Business Recycling Center within the City Limits of Denmark."
The release continued, "To increase the recycling rate, Bamberg County hopes the Business Recycling Center will aid smaller businesses with their recycling needs by offering them exclusive access to the site. The center will accept paper, ink toner, used cooking oil, plastic, cardboard, aluminum, white goods, and much more."
Mayor Gerald Wright of Denmark said, “We will make a commitment to investigate this.”
Bamberg County officials were contacted Tuesday and Mary Tilton, public information officer, released this statement:
“The DHEC grant you referenced was awarded. However, after receiving the notification, the county solid waste staff decided that the overall operating costs to maintain that recycling facility would outweigh the benefits of the grant funding, as the grant funding only provided for some of the initial infrastructure/construction costs.
“It should be noted that this DHEC grant was a reimbursement grant (DHEC reimburses after purchases are made). Therefore, the funds were never received (or spent) by the county. The county did purchase some new roll-off containers with monies from that grant, with approval from DHEC. Those containers were added as improvements to the nearby Denmark Pitt Rd LAD/Recycling and Convenience site.
“Denmark residents and businesses have recycling options at the Pitt Road and Capernaum Road Recycling and Convenience sites. Business recycling is handled through the landfill.
“The City of Denmark can apply for DHEC grants as well if they desire a recycling center within the city limits.”
Bamberg County Council and Bamberg County Administrator Joey Preston have been under fire from Concerned Citizens of Bamberg County, which has a Facebook page describing its objective as remedying the problems of the county caused by Bamberg County Council and the county administration.
At county council’s March 4 meeting, Brad Hudson spoke for the group, calling for council not to renew Preston’s contract. The group’s Facebook page includes a petition calling for council to terminate the administrator.