FAIRFIELD COUNTY — Elected officials, business owners, educators and community members came together recently for a Strategic Coalition Networking Quarterly luncheon with the theme Working Together in One City, Making One Sound.
“We really should be one voice,” said John Smalls, owner of Carolina Event Center and luncheon facilitator.
Smalls said Fairfield County residents seem to be actively pursuing the betterment of their community, which is positive.
“Fairfield’s moving, and that’s a good thing,” Smalls said.
Carolyn Robinson, chair of the Fairfield County Council, spoke about council’s recent activity, including the recent third and final reading of the budget for the fiscal year beginning in July.
“It is no increase in the operating or in the bond budget,” Robinson said.
Robinson said the process was thorough and included more than 20 hours of work sessions.
Fairfield County Deputy Administrator Davis Anderson elaborated.
“This budget process was a very good process,” Anderson said. “They went line by line, and, trust me, cent by cent.”
Robinson said one of the major undertakings in council’s immediate future will be recreation.
“We’re working on community centers and recreation” Robinson said. “We’re getting ready to review that, we’re still waiting to purchase a piece of property, and we’ll have hopefully three new community centers.”
Robinson emphasized that the recreation centers will be used for more than encouraging countywide fitness. She cited the potential for hosting the Council on Aging, the library or community meetings as examples.
“This would be a community center so that you can go and have events,” Robinson said. “You could have a reunion there, a reception, different events.”
The relocation of Fairfield County Courthouse also looms in the immediate future.
“We’re going to move the courthouse to the HON Facility,” Robinson said. “The reason is, it (the courthouse) is an old, old building, it’s historical, so it’s very particular what you can and can’t do.”
Robinson said the process of updating the courthouse will last at least one year.
J.R. Green, superintendent of Fairfield County School District, announced he is happy to begin his fourth year as superintendent of the school district. He provided an update on the construction progress of the new career center.
“Most of the external work is done,” Green said. “We still have some work to do on the roof.”
Green said he anticipates the new career center attracting students to courses such as barbering, auto mechanics, biomedical studies, robotics and firefighting among other programs.
While these courses will prepare students for future careers and impart new skill sets, Green said he feels it is important to reinforce the idea high school is not the end of Fairfield County School District students’ academic career.
“The thinking that high school itself can prepare students for next generation careers is ludicrous,” Green said.
Jackie Workman, Fairfield County liaison, shared progress made by the Liaison’s Office growing Fairfield County’s workforce.
Using hourly pay and the number of weeks worked, Workman calculated $356,856 as the pay received by 90 people hired through the Liaison’s Office through the month of May.
“I haven’t calculated June yet,” Workman said.
Workman said this is because there have been 18 hires for the month of June, and she would like to double her monthly quota of 10 hires before making calculations.
“I get joy out of it,” Workman said. “Every time someone gets hired, it’s like I get hired.”
Margaret Doty, Clemson Extension 4-H agent, said while 4-H has come and gone in Fairfield County with varying levels of participation, the organization is back in Fairfield County and eager to grow.
“We are back, and we are rebuilding the program,” Doty said.
Doty said anyone interested in 4-H in Fairfield County can contact her at 803-635-4722 Ext. 112 or email@example.com.
The faith-based luncheon opened with a moment of silence for the lives lost in Charleston, and closed with a decision that a vigil will be held on Fairfield County Courthouse’s steps at noon Wednesday.