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New library planned for Russell; no tax increase likely as county budget developed
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New library planned for Russell; no tax increase likely as county budget developed

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Orangeburg County Library logo

Orangeburg County is considering building a new library on Russell Street near Railroad Corner.

County Council decided Tuesday to enter into a contract with Piedmont Companies Inc. for the development of the library.

The issue was discussed during a budget workshop meeting. Council also decided during the meeting to cut support to outside agencies in a move that will help it fund the YMCA without raising taxes next year.

Council discussed the library in closed session before returning to open session to vote for the development of the new, 25,000-square-foot facility near the corner of Russell Street and Magnolia Street.

The county previously discussed building the library near the Department of Public Utilities headquarters and renovating the old Kress building.

Piedmont Companies Inc., which is based in North Carolina, is no stranger to Orangeburg.

The company has been involved in several development projects including the construction of the High School for Health Professions building, the Orangeburg County Department of Social Services building and the family fun park on Red Bank Road.

Also during the workshop, council decided to divide up a total of $317,900 among the outside agencies it funds. It then decided to assess a 10 percent cut of each agency’s funds in order to provide money for the YMCA.

“We cut 10 percent out of each outside agency and made several other cuts, and right now we are projecting that there won’t be any increases in millage,” Young said.

As a result of the cuts, the YMCA will receive $20,000 in funding from Orangeburg County.

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The county is home to two county-owned YMCA locations, both managed for the county by the YMCA of Columbia. The YMCAs are located in Orangeburg and Santee.

According to Young, the county is only responsible for paying for the maintenance at the Orangeburg location. The YMCA of Columbia covers all other costs, including paying staff, marketing and funding programs.

The county is responsible for giving the Santee location funds that will cover the costs of operation, according to Young.

Councilwoman Janie Cooper-Smith prompted council to strategize how to give funding to the YMCA, noting it has been serving the county for 11 years.

“We have only funded them once in the 11 years, so I think it’s time that they receive funding from Orangeburg County,” Cooper-Smith said.

Cooper-Smith said that the YMCA is in Orangeburg to help teach young people how to swim and avoid drowning.

“I don’t think anybody should cut back a request when lives, especially young lives, are involved,” Cooper-Smith said.

Councilwoman Ray Wannamaker Sabalis said she agreed with Cooper-Smith.

In Orangeburg County’s May 15 budget meeting, YMCA representatives asked for funds to help develop new programs.

Rachel Young, executive director of the Orangeburg location, stated that new programs have been implemented to benefit the county.

Young noted the Live Strong at the Y, Parkinson’s Networking and Safety Around Water Program, which provides free swim lessons to all third-graders in OCSD 3, are all programs that the YMCA has implemented in the last year.

“What we’ve been focusing on at the Y this past year is bringing some programs that really exist to strengthen the individuals and families that comprise Orangeburg County,” Young said.

Contact the writer: bharris@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5516

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Staff Writer

Bradley Harris is a Government and Sports Reporter. The Irmo, SC native is a 2018 graduate of Claflin University and recipient of the 2018 South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Journalist of the Year Award.

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