Friday, November 14, 2008

Council gets more information on RMC's future in Santee

By PHIL SARATA, T&D Staff WriterMonday, November 10, 2008

SANTEE – The Santee Town Council during a 10-minute closed, executive session Wednesday night heard information from W. David Cope, Regional Medical Center vice president of strategy and development.

Council took no action on the information upon returning to regular session.

Last week Cope told the RMC Board of Trustees the hospital is planning for the day when it will offer more services in eastern Orangeburg County because of the area’s increased economic development activity, including Dubai-based Jafza International’s plans to build a distribution and light manufacturing hub near Santee.

At that time Cope said the hospital’s strategic team is now looking at where and what it would like to place in the Santee area, which includes Elloree, Eutawville and Holly Hill.

Council Wednesday also unanimously approved on a 4-0 vote second and final reading of an ordinance to allow Orangeburg County to enforce the demolition of dilapidated buildings. At the insistence of town attorney William Johnson of Manning, council also unanimously approved allowing Santee Mayor Silas Seabrooks to sign an intergovernmental agreement with Orangeburg County to enforce the ordinance.

“The county just requires any towns in which they enforce these standards to adopt the county ordinances regarding them so they will be the same everywhere,” Johnson said. “This vote also requires the town to repeal any similar ordinances it has and adopt the county ordinances.”

Johnson said the agreement, which also includes a 60-day termination clause, will allow Orangeburg County to enforce the dilapidated building ordinance at no cost to Santee.

Town Administrator Avery Frick, who said Wednesday night’s meeting would be his last as Santee administrator prior to his resignation from the post on Dec. 1, also went over the findings from the audit of the financial statements from the fiscal 2007 budget year. Three of the findings actually resulted from a previous audit of the 2006 fiscal year, which was performed by another accounting firm.

Frick noted that several of the auditor’s findings have been enacted in order to provide tighter internal financial records control, such as reconciling water receivables balances on a daily basis, producing automated sequentially numbered receipts and budgeting all known expenditures.

The findings also recommended there be a segregation of fiscal duties among town employees, but Frick said the low number of employees makes that difficult, a dilemma faced by other small municipalities with limited staff.

Frick will reply to the auditor’s findings by stating which ones are being implemented and on what timetable, or which ones cannot be implemented.

In other business:

* Council unanimously approved a proposed easement request by property owner Everett Sumner near the water tank on S.C. Highway 6 so he can access his land via the town’s right-of-way.

* Santee Interim Police Chief Capt. A.R. Staten said he is in the process of producing policies and procedures that can lead to state accreditation for the department.

* It was announced the Santee Christmas parade will be at 4 p.m. on Dec. 14, starting at the Quality Inn and traveling to the Santee Town Complex. The theme is “Sounds of the Season.”

* District 2 Orangeburg County Councilman Johnny Ravenell reported he and Santee Town Councilman John Gilmore are working together to help with improvements on the town playground. Gilmore said the town is still awaiting funds for the project.

* Ravenell said he will attempt to get OCtech officials to enhance the capacity for the upcoming Economic Summit on Nov. 12 by installing video screens for any overflow crowd.

T&D Staff Writer Phil Sarata can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 803-533-5540.

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