2008-03-21 / Government / Neighborhood

Richland County Council meets March 18, 2008

By Mike Cox MWC423@bellsouth.net

Roll call

Chairman Joe McEachern, Vice Chair Val Hutchinson, Joyce Dickerson, Norman Jackson, Damon Jeter, Paul Livingston, Bill Malinowski, Mike Montgomery, Greg Pearce, Bernice Scott, and Kit Smith were present.

Presentation

Palmetto Health Richland was on hand to present the year in review to the county council. Chairperson Ann Pringle Washington thanked the council and introduced Chief Operating Officer John Singerling, who made the presentation.

In the 15 months since Charles Beamon became CEO, the health organization has made a 236% improvement in being a place where doctors enjoy working. The new vision is to be remembered by each patient as providing the care and compassion Palmetto Health Richand wants for its families and employees. The not for profit facility has over 4,000 employees, 649 licensed beds, and an active medical staff of 645. It cost the facility $1.7 million per day to operate.

Greg Pearce and Bernice Scott both recognized the leadership of the hospital as a major reason for the improvements in quality of service.

Administrator's report

Milton Pope and Paige Greene of Center on Addition and Substance Abuse (CASA) publicly thanked Dr. Sonny White of Midlands Tech for allowing CASA to use its facilities for annual meetings. The auditorium, cafeteria, and classrooms were available to the advocacy group for their convention.

Geo Price gave the council an update on the number of signs in the community in violation of the county ordinance. There are 38 violators so far; only six are churches or schools. This will be a minor political headache for the council.

Roxanne Matthews gave the council an update on the recreation entertainment complex. Nothing new was reported, but the project is moving forward and will soon be thrown to the consultants.

Stinky air

The good news is Richland County is compliant with current EPA standards. The bad news is those standards are about to get tougher. Joe Cronin informed the council the county currently meets the .080 per million parts ozone standard required by EPA. But later this year the standards will get tougher; a startling .075 per million, which Richland County will not be able to meet without making improvements.

Scott expressed frustration with the system. Richland County is held accountable for its air quality but has little control over big corporate polluters. Citizens Input

Just when it seemed the citizens input part of the agenda was no longer needed since Ms. Bush quit coming, there were two speakers tonight. Roosevelt Robertson asked the council for information regarding safety barriers in the Hickory Ridge area. He was directed to the Richland staff for help. Lee Carroll read a recent news article about the Sheriff's department acquiring a tank and 50 caliber machine gun. He was concerned about what the deputies might do with such a weapon and wanted to know if anyone was aware of the damage such a thing might do. Chief Deputy Hubert Harrell was at the meeting and met with Carroll to explain the difference between the newspaper article and reality.

After executive session, the council meeting was adjourned.

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