WINNSBORO — After spending a recent committee meeting in executive session, Fairfield County Council members are in limbo with what to do about a 405-acre property.
The Jan. 6 economic development committee meeting (District5’s David Ferguson, District 7’s David Brown and District 1’s Dwayne Perry) was held to discuss a piece of property owned by Fairfield County off Center Creek Road in the Syrup Mill Road area in Winnsboro.
The meeting went straight into executive session. No action was taken when the group emerged from executive session.
Ferguson said the committee did bring something forward for interim County Administrator Milton Pope to look into before council makes a motion, but he was still unsure if the advisory motion would be brought forward during the Jan. 13 regularly scheduled meeting.
“We already own the property but we got the chance to discuss what the wishes of council are,” Ferguson said. “The fact of it is, is that Mr. Pope still has to do some work on it to bring the whole thing to light before the council will vote on what we will or won’t do.”
The 405-acre property was purchased from a timber company in 2002. According to a council vote after the purchase of the property, the intentions were to sell it to a company for a retirement village. However, according to Ferguson council has been unable to find a buyer because of the poor economy.
“So it just has been sitting there and the county is trying to figure out if we still want to do something like that or something else with it, that is basically what the question is,” he said.
It was the first committee meeting since council voted to return to the committee system, a decision that Ferguson is still unsure about.
“It’s got some good points but it’s got some bad parts,” he said. “First you have a committee meeting and then you have to turn around and go through the steps with the whole council and then the whole council has to vote on what you do. I do not see a lot of profit in it, but that is what council decided they wanted to go back to.”
Later in the evening, the presentation committee (Ferguson, Perry and District 2’s Carolyn Robinson) viewed a presentation from Midlands STEM Institute chairman Kevin Thomas requesting 30 minutes to present at a regular scheduled county council meeting to explain the new charter school to the community.
The committee members unanimously voted to approve the request, but to only allow Thomas 15 minutes to present.
To approve a recommendation, there has to be a majority vote by the committee. Once a recommendation is made, council will vote to make a motion or not.
County council recently announced a six-month extension for Pope’s contract, which is something Ferguson was pleased with.
“We are happy to extend Mr. Pope’s contract and really that is about all we can do with the turmoil we’ve gone through,” he stated. “It wouldn’t be fair to us or to a new administrator to come in here with some of the mess and hoopla that we’re dealing with.”
Ferguson said there are people calling to bring Pope on full-time, but he noted it would not make sense to bring someone on permanently in the middle of everything that is currently happening.