Orangeburg County recently got quite the spread in a statewide magazine for projects undertaken by county government.
The South Carolina Association of Counties publishes the quarterly magazine, County Focus, about the most notable undertakings in the state’s 46 counties.
In the March 2019 edition, the cover featured an image of the members of Orangeburg County Council and an artist’s rendering of the new detention center slated for completion in 2020.
The magazine included three full feature stories:
• “Orangeburg County Constructs New State-of-the-Art Detention Center.”
• “Orangeburg County’s New Public Services Building.”
• “Orangeburg County Incorporates Projects to Construct Two Memorial Plazas and Renovate Council Chambers/Memorial Plazas Honor the Late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Veterans."
The county’s elected leaders, and the administration and county employees, have reason to be proud. A new jail is a necessity, the public services building is needed and the memorial plazas have positively transformed the county complex near the courthouse.
Yet it’s safe to say those in government know there is no time to bask in too much glory. Taxpayers are always pointing out shortcomings, as is their right, and looking at what’s next.
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In January, members of Eutawville Town Council and citizens of Eutawville came to the council with concerns about the ability of EMS to serve the eastern areas in a county with the state’s second largest land area.
Eutawville Councilwoman Stephanie Adkins, who serves as the town’s police, fire, emergency services commissioner, spoke before council to discuss delays in EMS response and other issues regarding the county's emergency services.
Adkins along with other concerned citizens signed a petition to the county council regarding the issues, and she told council of increasing complaints about response times.
The county leadership has responded. The Orangeburg County Fire Commission plans to add an EMS building onto the existing Eutawville fire station. The district has previously added EMS facilities to stations in Neeses, Rowesville and Bowman.
Speaking for the county, Orangeburg County Administrator Harold Young said bringing EMS and fire together brings a continuity of services. He noted in the past EMS and fire were housed in separate locations.
"It helps to improve costs," Young said. It is more convenient and efficient, especially when it comes to maintaining and updating equipment.
Timothy Winslow of the S.C. Association of Counties said of the feature stories on Orangeburg County: “Part of our mission is to show people the exciting things that are happening in the counties in this state. Orangeburg County is doing some exciting stuff.”
Putting EMS and fire protection under one roof in Eutawville to better provide emergency response may never rate a statewide magazine profile, but doing so is an important service to citizens.