By Stan Welch
Tuesday night the Anderson County Council moved quickly through an agenda that ranged from a zoning ordinance change to a resolution condemning the killings in Charleston several weeks ago.
The resolution was sponsored by District Two Councilwoman Gracie Floyd, in response to the nine murders committed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, murders which shocked the state and nation and directly led to the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds in Columbia.
The zoning change which received second reading approval allows for major changes to a project known as the Midway Ridge planned development, which is being constructed on 12.8 acres of land on Midway Road.
The Council also gave first reading to an amendment to the existing ordinance governing the reporting requirements for allocations received by various parties or entities from the Council members recreation funds. The amendment basically sets a time frame for such reporting. The group or organization receiving the funds will be expected to give an accounting of the funds’ use.
Following several questions about the proposed procedure, Chairman Tommy Dunn explained to Ms. Floyd that the amendment simply meant that the existing requirement will be enforced in the future. “We just haven’t been following the rule we made two years ago. Ms. Poulin, (clerk to the Council) will keep track and send out notice when a report isn’t made. The next time that group asks for funding, we’ll have that information to refer to” said Dunn.
Council also heard from several representatives of the state’s guardian ad litem program, a service of DSS which provides children in foster living situations with an advocate. Michelle Norris, the Anderson representative told the Council that her office sees an average of three hundred forty children a month, and handles a hundred seventy five cases.
Last year, the volunteers who are trained to serve as the advocates for children involved in court proceedings, such as custody matters, provided seven thousand seven hundred and seventy four man hours, at a saved cost of one hundred eighty thousand dollars.
When asked by Councilwoman Cindy Wilson what assistance the Council could provide, the regional director surprised everyone by not asking for financial assistance. “If you could just help spread the word and increase community awareness, that would be helpful. We always need volunteers and we also need more foster parents. “
Councilman Frances Crowder said that he had recently seen a report that children in need of safe housing are being put up in hotel rooms due to the shortage of foster home opportunities.
Council also approved a resolution offered by Councilman Ken Waters giving the Powdersville Water Company an easement along Wren School Road to allow for various maintenance operation.