WINNSBORO — Vernon Kennedy told Fairfield County Council last week that Fairfield Behavioral Health Services needs a new facility and requested a letter of support.
Kennedy said he was pursuing grants as well as a USDA loan to avoid asking the county for any financial assistance.
Behavioral Health Services is a non-profit agency that has served Fairfield County for around 40 years. Kennedy said that the agency has been expecting a need for expansion for several years and has already begun with both planning and purchasing land.
Kennedy pointed out “our staff are sharing offices, and the way our office is constructed right now and configured, it makes it a little bit difficult for us to provide the best types of services that we need to for the clientele.”
Due to the lack of space, several services have had to be moved, rescheduled or halted altogether.
While the project might potentially need some financial assistance from the county, Kennedy hopes to avoid the need by utilizing other resources available to the organization.
If Behavioral Health Services does in fact need financial assistance, there will be a return on any investment through services.
According to Kennedy, “for every dollar that we spend in treatment services, we save taxpayers $7.46 in South Carolina. On the same token, every dollar we spend on evidence based prevention programs, we save about $18.”
Over the past four years, he estimates a savings of over $6 million.
• County Administrator Milton Pope said during the administrator’s report that a new ambulance for Fairfield County had manufacturing issues and there looked to be a 12 to 18 month delay. The finance committee approved an alternative purchase that resulted in a savings of $9,636.
• The purchase of a brush truck for Fairfield County Fire Service came up overbudget due to an error in the initial request on the size of the truck. The cost of the truck exceeded the budgeted amount by $10,266. The difference in the cost was drawn from the Fire Service operational budget. Council Chair Carolyn Robinson pointed out that brush trucks were vital to the county as it allowed for response to emergencies without the utilization of fire engines.
• Public works requested the purchase of a backhoe to replace one currently not suitable for everyday work. The purchase was approved as was the use of the current equipment as a backup. The county was able to purchase the backhoe for $11,294.42 less than had been budgeted.
• The purchase of a truck for the county tax assessor drew some controversy. One resident questioned the need for a truck when the assessor has been using a car and commented that it may be an unnecessary increase in cost to taxpayers.
Pope stressed the need for a four-wheel drive vehicle and said that the current vehicle would be reallocated in another capacity if possible. The truck being purchased also was able to come in under the budgeted amount by $1,967.
Reach James Inabinet at 803-635-4016.