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Orangeburg County: RMC given Santee land; Council: No tax increase
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Orangeburg County

Orangeburg County: RMC given Santee land; Council: No tax increase

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Orangeburg County is giving the Regional Medical Center the land to build a new, $3 million medical facility in Santee.

Orangeburg County Council agreed last week to transfer 1.52 acres to RMC to build an urgent care center. The land is located at the Santee Recreation and Water Park on Bass Drive, according to Orangeburg County Attorney Jerrod Anderson.

The project was formerly known by the code name Project CMR.

Council gave the transfer of land third and final reading.

RMC has not provided additional details about its plans.

The hospital currently operates an urgent care center in Santee. It has not said what it will do with the current center once a new one is built.

In other matters:

• Council set the millage rate for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

There will be no property tax increases for county residents this year.

“We did not raise our millage at all this year, so when there is a difference, I know we sent out the bill for everybody ... just remember that county council did not raise any millage this year,” Orangeburg County Council Chairman Johnnie Wright said.

Council Vice Chair Janie Cooper-Smith encouraged county residents to familiarize themselves with their property tax notices so they have a better understanding of their tax bills and where the money goes.

The county’s $46.3 million budget was approved by council in June.

While taxes will not increase, road maintenance fees will increase from $45 to $50. The fee is added onto each individual's car tax.

The county also added a $1 per ton increase at the landfill. The increase will affect all fees at the landfill.

The 2021-22 budget includes more than $8 million from the American Rescue Plan, which was passed by Congress in March. The federal funds are designed to speed up America’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The county will use the federal funds to help offset what was spent on personal protective equipment during the pandemic.

It will also be used to upgrade servers, and machinery and equipment to enable the county to do more virtually.

Funds will also be used for infrastructure improvements and to expand the capacity of the coroner’s office.

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In addition, the county is spending some of the money on upgrades to parks and to help fund a medical clinic for the employees.

Some funds will also be used for the Dawn Center with mental health, and some will be transferred to the county’s budget because a portion of the money can be used to help offset lost revenues.

EMS will also receive money to update equipment and to help with employee contracts.

Employees will receive a 2% cost of living increase under the budget.

In related matters, the county will carry over $594,305 from its project material and supplies account into the new budget year. The money will go toward projects that were not completed in the current budget year. The county typically carries over funds every year.

"These are discretionary projects that have been requested by council which is a part of the project material and supply list," Orangeburg County Administrator Harold Young said.

• Charleston-based DFI Partners is planning to spend $750,000 to renovate the former Ambler Industries and ACO Distribution & Warehousing Inc. building on Woodbine Road.

The 230,000-square-foot building will be marketed for a manufacturing or distribution company.

Council gave first reading to an ordinance placing the speculative building into a multi-county industrial park. The joint county industrial park is not a physical park but an incentive mechanism used to attract economic development.

• Council gave second reading to a fee-in-lieu of taxes agreement for a 500,000-square-foot speculative building that will be built at the 242-acre Shamrock Commerce Center. The new industrial park is being built on U.S. Highway 301 near Interstate 26.

An unidentified company is planning to invest $25 million in the construction of the speculative building in the park. No new full-time jobs are promised.

The project will be placed in a joint county industrial and business park with Dorchester County.

The company developing the speculative building is being identified under the code name Project Shamrock 2.0.

• Council gave second reading approval to the rezoning of property at 1606 Shillings Bridge Road from residential general to commercial general for the purpose of operating a business.

The property is .91 acres and is at the corner of Shillings Bridge and Wagon roads. The property has previously housed an outdoor grill and carport business.

The Orangeburg County Planning Commission previously approved the request.

• Council gave second reading approval to the rezoning of property at 1532 Cordova Road from residential general to rural community for the placement of a single-wide mobile home. The property is .38 acres. The property is near the New Jerusalem Church of God in Christ Jesus Apostolic church and Loadholt Street.

The property currently has one single-family residential structure that has been condemned by building inspectors. The Planning Commission unanimously approved the request.

• Council approved the recommendation from the county's Tax and Tourism Committee to give South Carolina State University $30,000 in accommodations tax money. The university is seeking the money to build up the university's sports app and website, as well as attract more female athletes.

• Councilwoman Deloris Frazier reminded all that October is breast cancer awareness month and to wear pink in honor of the month.

• Council entered into closed session to discuss contractual matters related to the Regional Medical Center.

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