Calhoun County is moving forward on several projects funded through its capital projects sales tax, officials say.

County Council received a status update Monday on the capital project sales tax projects approved nearly four years ago by county voters.

Calhoun County residents approved the 1 percent sales tax to fund certain projects in a Nov. 6, 2018 referendum.

The county expects to spend a total of about $6.6 million on the projects, including buying and equipping ambulances for the Calhoun County Emergency Services Department.

The projects were delayed by a lawsuit which challenged the county’s sales tax plans. The county won the lawsuit in February 2021.

The county is also seeking grants to help fund the projects.

Calhoun County Procurement/Grants Coordinator Marc Briggman updated council on the projects during its April 11 meeting:

• The Cameron and St. Matthews water line reaches: The project is awaiting designs from the engineers.

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The reaches will come from the Santee Cooper Regional Water System. The project will include a total of 22 miles of 12-inch pipe.

The project is designed to cut the cost of providing water service in both towns.

• Cameron Historical Depot: Cameron Town Council voted to move forward after receiving the design for the project.

Project architect Meadors will put out a request for proposal on the project.

The project will include the renovation of the historical depot in Cameron and related improvements, including improving the facility’s handicapped accessibility.

• Sandy Run Fire District substation. The property has been surveyed and the county is waiting on a deed for the property to be transferred. The building plans are with the architect for review.

• Sandy Run ladder truck: The request for proposal has been completed. The receipt of the truck is dependent on the completion of the substation due to space. A community development block grant is being sought to help fund the truck.

• St. Matthews demolition: The demolition of the dialysis building on F.R. Huff Drive has been completed. St. Matthews High School asbestos abatement has been completed.

• St. Matthews parks and recreation facilities: A request for proposal has been put out for review by St. Matthews Town Council. The parks and recreational facilities will be built on the sites of the old town hall and the old school.

Council is expected to take up the matter at its next meeting.

• Animal Shelter: The architectural drawing is in the process of approval and design. The project will include the development of additional facilities for dogs and cats on Purple Martin Drive.

• St. Matthews Streetscape. The town administration and Calhoun County Transportation Committee partnered for guard railing along the railroad cut. There is discussion with the CTC about facilitating other downtown street projects.

• St. Matthews Public Safety renovation: Preliminary scopes have been developed by architects. The project will include the renovation, construction, improvement and equipping of facilities serving the fire department, judicial court and other public safety functions.

• Cameron downtown demolition: Three buildings have been demolished thus far with possible plans for others.

• Calhoun County emergency communication and ambulances: Completed under budget. The projects included the provision of 800 megahertz radio service for emergency service providers in Calhoun County as well as the acquisition of ambulances to be operated by the Calhoun County Emergency Services Department.

• Sandy Run pumper tanker: A U.S. Department of Agriculture grant for $50,000 is being sought to apply toward the purchase of a fire truck.

• Sandy Run recreation: The county is awaiting design and equipment costs. Project would include a new walking trail. The project will focus on improving batting cages, lighting, field and bleachers.

• Calhoun County water line: A request for proposal has been listed for the Carolina Lane and Stabler Hill Road portion of the project in Sandy Run. The RFP closes April 26. The project will include new water lines on Highway 601-Ft. Motte and Copperhead Lane as well.

“That is a lot of good news,” Councilman John Nelson said. “Let’s get a lot of good news out so everyone in the county knows about that.”

“I am glad you are moving forward,” Chairman James Haigler said. “People can see the county is trying to get some work done.”

In other matters:

• Calhoun County Magistrate Jeff Bloom said the Cameron magistrate’s office is in the process of being closed.

Judge Cassandra Keller is planning to work out of her 1313 Bridge Street office in St. Matthews on Thursdays.

“The business in the Cameron office has fallen off over the years,” Bloom said. “The first three months of this year, I don’t think there has been half a dozen cases brought to Judge Keller in Cameron.”

The plans are to close the Cameron office in April, Bloom said.

Bloom said the county’s magistrates have implemented cost savings and increased collections over the past few years.

Bloom noted that fines have been reduced to about $200 rather than over $400. That has helped increase collections.

He said old clerk of court accounts have been closed, also helping provide a “bump” in collections.

Bloom requested council consider an increase in the pay for Judge Joseph Teague, Keller and clerk to staff.

Bloom also recommended that council consider the construction of a jail and a larger St. Matthews magistrate office.

“We are one of the few counties that doesn’t have its local jail,” Bloom said. “Those deputies have to run up and down to Orangeburg all the time. It is wear and tear on vehicles.”

Bloom said the Sandy Run magistrate’s office will most likely go from three days to five days a week.

Council members thanked Bloom and the other magistrates for serving the county.

Haigler said Council will take Bloom’s requests under advisement.

• The countywide litter pickup is planned for Wednesday, April 20. Individuals can come to the government complex from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. to pick up supplies.

The pickup will focus on the St. Matthews area due to the Purple Martin Festival and parade scheduled for Saturday, April 23. The parade will be held from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Individuals are asked to inform county officials where they are picking up trash so the bags can be picked up.

• Council unanimously agreed to provide an incentive to Allora Solar, LLC by placing the solar farm in a multi-county industrial park with Lexington County. The solar farm is located in Lexington County.

• Council gave unanimous second reading to a change in the zoning on four properties on Leapfrog Lane from single family to rural district.

There has been no opposition to the request and the Calhoun County Planning Commission voted unanimously that the zoning request proceed.

• Council gave unanimous first reading by title only to changes to its animal control, procurement code and buildings and code ordinances. County Administrator John McLauchlin said more details will be provided to council at future meetings.

• Council appointed Belleville Volunteer Fire Department Commissioner Ross Binsley to the Calhoun County Rural Fire District

• Council entered into closed session to receive legal advice on a county ordinance and on economic development matters.

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