The Lower Savannah Council of Governments has a number of programs designed to help Bamberg County and its residents, according to Executive Director Dr. William Molnar.

LSCOG administers the Community Development Block Grant program, which provided a $366,300 grant for a rescue pumper truck for the City of Denmark.

A $950,903 grant application has also been submitted for a new well for the city, and a Westside Water Improvement Project to upgrade undersized water lines in the city has also been completed.

Molnar also outlined LSCOG’s efforts during a Bamberg County Council meeting held last week.

LSCOG also administers Economic Development Administration funding.

Bamberg County has received $1,681,000 in EDA funding to date, but does not have any EDA projects currently being worked on.

LSCOG also administers funding for the Lower Savannah Regional Housing Consortium. Bamberg County is a member.

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“With the new American Rescue Plan, we are looking for increased funding coming through. As soon as we get some more detail, we’ll let you know about that, but we’re hoping to find some extra federal money – significant amounts – to be able to provide more affordable housing in the communities,” Molnar said.

The LSCOG has also received one-time funding of $3.8 million to combat homelessness in the region. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provided $5 billion to communities across the U.S. for homeless services.

Molnar said while the LSCOG is not done crunching numbers for fiscal year 2021, 287 Bamberg County seniors were assessed by staff for essential aging needs such as meals, homemaker and transportation services in FY 2020.

There were 51,401 home-delivered meals provided to 259 homebound seniors in the county, while 292 meals were served to 83 seniors at congregate meal sites in the county.

Molnar said the Bamberg County Council on Aging has gone back to serving congregate meals “while social distancing and taking care of the precautions that they need to do.”

He said funding for home-delivered meals is not as robust as it had been, but “we’ve found another source of funding to help with that, (and) we’re figuring out solutions for that.”

“The reality is there ain’t going to be as much as there was with the CARES Act money. That was a one-time dump. That’s a lot of money they put out there. It ain’t there anymore. So that really is one of those where the Council on Aging, you’re going to do a lot of different things, and your funding is going to come from a lot of different places,” he said.

There is a $5,072,701 transportation project currently programmed for Bamberg County through the COG Guideshare program.

The project is the Phase Two work of the U.S. Highway 78 corridor improvement project from Bamberg to Denmark. This project will create six-foot paved shoulders along the corridor to increase the safety of the corridor.

Molnar said he was also working with the county administrator in submitting projects they hope will receive federal earmark money for completion, including $3.2 million to widen U.S. Highway 301 from Dixie Avenue to U.S. Highway 78 from two to three lanes. Other projects submitted include the county courthouse restoration project and the construction of an emergency operations center and Department of Social Services wing at the former county hospital, which is being developed into a multi-service complex.

“We’re very active in seeking federal funding through Congressman (Jim) Clyburn’s office,” Molnar said.

The executive director said a mobile workforce vehicle has been put back on the road.

“We’re back up and running. We’ve hired a gentleman part time to drive the bus. Hopefully next month that’ll be in full swing, and we’ll have a schedule to run for that,” he said.

Also during the meeting, SouthernCarolina Regional Development Alliance Project Manager Garrett Dragano gave a report for Bamberg County, stating that the economic development group had 13 active projects and leads.

“We have submitted 12 properties this year, and have made seven property visits for projects this year,” he said.

The county stands to receive approximately $8,000 annually from the placement of two new companies in a multi-county industrial park in Barnwell County.

“The 10 percent tax revenue share from that will be about $8,000 a year. That is going to vary slightly,” Dragano said.

County Councilwoman Sharon Hammond said, “We want to see some activity here in Bamberg. Activity is everywhere else. Nothing’s really going on in here.”

County Finance Director T.M. Thomas reported that the county’s general fund had year-to-date revenues as of the end of March of $6,648,789, with expenses coming in at $5,854,763, for a positive general fund balance of $794,026.

“Overall, countywide, the departments continue to pretty much operate within their budget and within their expected bounds,” he said.

Keep Bamberg County Beautiful

KBCB Coordinator Sh’Kur Francis gave an update on the Great American Cleanup held April 22-23.

“Thanks to some great citizens, it even went on to the 24th. I had to come to work on that Sunday because there were many citizens, especially churches in the Denmark area, that actually did some cleanups Sunday afternoon,” Francis said.

More than 2,000 pounds of litter were collected.

“Council, if you know of anybody in your respective districts who are interested in serving on the Keep Bamberg County Beautiful Board, please let me know, as we’re really trying to get that board back up and running,” he said.

Francis said he continues to work within schools countywide on anti-litter, recycling and beautification projects.

“We had about 75 students participate in the big Earth Day event. … Keep America Beautiful, the national affiliate, shouted out Bamberg County for the great work that we did on Earth Day in that cleanup. They really recognized what we were doing with the children, and I have probably hundreds of photos of kids doing Earth Day activities,” he said.

In other business, council:

• Gave first reading approval to an ordinance calling for a county-wide referendum on whether alcohol sales should be allowed on Sunday.

• Gave second reading approval to an amendment to the county road ordinance to add 29 Cardinal Road in Denmark into its county maintenance system.

• Gave first reading approval to an ordinance authorizing the inclusion of West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., a wood products company, into a multi-county industrial and business park between Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell and Hampton counties.

The company will create 135 jobs in Allendale. Under the revenue-sharing agreement among the counties, the host county for an incoming industry in Quad-County Industrial Park III will receive 70 percent of the tax revenues, with the remaining three counties receiving 10 percent.

• Approved a resolution honoring Voorhees University President Dr. Ronnie Hopkins as the 10th president of the former Voorhees College and the first president of what is now a university. A special presentation is planned for a later date.

• Approved the reappointment of Councilman Larry Haynes to the SCA board of directors.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5534. Follow “Good News with Gleaton” on Twitter at @DionneTandD

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