Ken Roper, Pickens County Administrator went live on Facebook this morning to answer some questions from County residents. Here are the highlights and a brief recap of the discussion.
He began by sharing the recent announcement made by FN America, a global firearms manufacturer, who plans to open a new production facility in Liberty’s Commerce Park. The company’s $33 million investment will create approximately 176 new jobs
What is the County doing to drive more revenue from the parks?
Most parks don’t generate revenue themselves. They were built with grand funding and are free to the public. Mile Creek Park generates enough revenue to cover the cost of all the aforementioned parks. Rentals and amenities in that park brings in over $600,000 each year. Our parks operate in the black, are revenue-generating, and growing.
Why was the budget meeting on April 24th not broadcasted on Facebook or Youtube?
The main conference room where the meetings are held finally got federal government funding to outfit that room, the council chambers, and the public spaces in the building with broadcast equipment. Never broadcast budget meetings before because because it’s more of an internal meeting. It is however open to the public who would like to attend and witness the proceedings.
Why is the contact information not listed for various members of the board? It would be a great help to list the contact information of the current library board as well as all appointed board contacts.
Board positions are important, but they are mostly voluntary. Making their phone numbers, addresses, and other contact information exposes them to people who sit behind their computers and feed their individual sense of outreach. The board members are required to attend the meetings that have to be open to the public by law. The public is invited to join the boards, or attend those meetings and interact with the boards there.
Also, the boards don’t represent the people. According to the Pickens County Organizational Chart, the boards serve the county administrators and council. They are appointed by the county and are extensions of the County Council.
Where can citizens find the jobs descriptions for all tax-payer county employee positions such as administrator, lawyer, directors etc.? And how can they find out when an employees contact is up for re-evaluation?
Employees, other than the County Administrator, don’t have contracts. They are subject to the at-will work state rules and regulations. The County Administrator contract is up for consideration every 3 years. Ken Roper is evaluated every December by the County Council. Website has a FOIA request form to obtain information for the rest of the employee information not subject to privacy protections.
The next question was about Pickens City Council, not the county.
What’s the difference between city council and county council issues?
Pickens County seat is in Pickens SC. It’s concerned mostly about the unincorporated parts of the county and some agencies like the Sheriff’s office that helps where needed, including within city limits. The question posed is specific to the city of Pickens, and the person who posed that question was directed to speak directly to their city council.
Libraries have always had their own dedicated millage. I think they’ve done a good job with their funding and I’m proud of our libraries. Why does the new proposed budget take over the old library millage and put it under county control? what benefits do you see by doing this?
The library budget has always been under county control. The library millage has been a separate line in the tax bill separate from the general fund. The library has had a growing amount of money in savings. It’s grown to about $3.6 million in the bank. The library funding is protected so the budget will be ok, but the excess savings sitting in the bank can be used for other things. The county is considering lowering the library millage, and raising the general fund millage by the same amount to address this.
What are you doing in regards to relieving traffic along major roadways due to increased home development?
County Council has been doing a very good job with some technical issues the past 3-4 months. There is currently a 6 month (and possibly another 90 days after that) moratorium on large-scale developments in the county. The council is working on the Unified Standards Ordinance for the county to get their arms around this very issue. The amount of deliberations about this issue is something Roper has never seen before. The public is encouraged to attend these meetings.