By Stan Welch
The Anderson County Legislative Delegation met Wednesday night and addressed several matters including a request for funding for an ecology center, postponing recreational grants and replacement of a member of the Transportation Committee.
They received a report from the Lake Hartwell Association concerning the progress on the proposed Water Education and Environment Center. Charlie Gibson and Association president Herb Burnham reported that the organization has leased 21 acres from the Corps of Engineers for twenty five years and hopes to establish a world class education center; not just about ecology, but also about the need for conservation of a source of clean water, in terms of human use, economic development and power generation.
Burnham took the entire delegation, as well as the crowded room, aback with his comments that since there is an election year approaching, “there will probably be some money available to buy some votes, so we need to take advantage of that.”
While avoiding any formal comment on Burnham’s views of the political system, new delegation Chairman Mike Gambrell expressed his support for the project, and the delegation unanimously approved a resolution of support.
The delegation delayed any action on several Parks and Recreation Development grants, because the amount available was well short of the amount sought.
In other business, the delegation re-staffed several boards and commission, for the most part returning incumbents to their seats. One noticeable change was the replacement of Mark Powell on the Anderson County Transportation Committee. Powell, from the Williamston area, was originally nominated by Rep. Dan Cooper, who has since retired from the General Assembly.
Following a meeting during which the tabulation of votes, which is done on a weighted system based on the population represented by the various members, was repeatedly complicated by Rep. Don Bowen’s casting of Sen. Kevin Bryant’s proxy vote, the delegation unanimously voted to no longer allow proxy votes.
Rep. Brian White made the motion, saying that proxy votes are not allowed on the floor of the Senate or the House. “I think it is only prudent and proper that we follow the same procedures as a delegation that we do as a General Assembly. If it is important enough to vote on, it is important enough to be present.”
The next delegation meeting will take place in June.