Rare meeting of county and state leaders

This morning’s rare meeting between Oconee County leaders and the county’s state lawmakers went well, according to participants. The county councilmen and the lawmakers batted around issues of common interest. There seemed to be a spirit of cordiality and a willingness to hold future meetings. The meeting also spotlighted some of the funding issues that have created disagreement. And the meeting started with a forecast by the state senator and the two representatives as to the level of state financial aid to the county, especially to help pay for services to the county provided by offices created by state statutes. County Administrator Scott Moulder said the assessor, the coroner, 9-1-1, and the detention center are examples. But the lawmakers say the state’s financial condition remains difficult, and Senator Thomas Alexander suggested that, for budget-planning, the county anticipate no higher of an allocation than that which was approved for the current year. Future tax revenues to the county paid by business, in the future, may be lower if the state reduces the ratio on which business is taxed. Both Alexander and Representative Bill Sandifer say, however, there should be corresponding benefits because business should then see Oconee and other South Carolina counties as more attractive to invest in and create jobs.