COMMUNITY UPDATE: January 2016

Community Update

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STATE HOUSE
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The 2nd regular session of the 121st SC General Assembly will convene on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at noon. You can keep up with what’s going on in Columbia by visiting Nathan’s News often or going to the Statehouse website for lots of information on members, voting, legislation, committees, and every meeting that’s scheduled during the year!

I’m hopeful this year my colleagues will ultimately pass legislation that will improve our state infrastructure needs as well as improve our educational issues in our state. While we have one of the state’s top school districts in the state; others are not as fortunate. Closer to home, I look forward to support from members throughout the state to address concerns raised by the recent flood.

For a look at this year’s prefilled bills, you can go here. These bills will have to be on the “fast track” if they hope to become law before we adjourn in June. To see just how many bills have become law in recent years, you can read this previous post I wrote in 2013.

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YOUR MONEY
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It seems like the nightmare never ends for Richland County. Just recently we’ve seen more issues from the “Penny Tax” and I expect more issues are yet to come. I have kept an eye on this issue from the start and made improvement that we can from the General Assembly. Unfortunately, most of the changes needed must come from the county level. Just not sure what we can expect; although this looks like a good start .

In other news, state officials have provided estimates of an additional BILLION dollars for the SC General Assembly to appropriate this year in our budget. The state portion of our budget is in excess of 8 BILLION (and we have 2 other parts that fund the entire budget as well: Federal Funds and “Other funds”). It’s great to see our economy growing (fyi, unemployment is 5.5% which is a level our state has not seen since 2011) and that our state has lived within our means. While a BILLION dollars is a lot of money, you need to know that our state’s colleges and universities have requested ALL OF IT for their use and the total of all state agency new requests for the upcoming budget debate is TWICE that much.

I would love to hear from you where you would like to see any “new money” go. So you know, the BILLION dollars already has several million accounted for due to previous legislation we have passed (Property Tax Relief, Reserves, etc) and obviously we have growth in services associated to Medicaid. Still, there is a large portion we can use to improve our state. How would you prioritize it? Please let me know by contacting me through the website.

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COMMUNITY
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MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR: I want to continue to share members of our community with you that I hear about doing good things in our community. Be sure to give me details here about someone you think deserves recognition. Here’s an old post from the past that has several community members listed for various reasons.

OUR TOWN COUNCILs: Irmo’s town government has a four-year term and consists of a Council of five members . It meets the first and third Tuesday of every month in the Municipal Building, 7300 Woodrow St., Irmo, SC 29063. November’s elections placed two new members on the town’s council. The current council consists of Mayor Hardy King, Councilman Barry A. Walker, Sr., Mayor (Pro Tem) Julius Waites, Councilwoman Kathy Condom and Councilman Mark Pouliot. When you need to contact Chapin’s Mayor or Town Council, you can get that information here.

OUR CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE: You still have time to make plans for the first meetings of 2016! Irmo’s Chamber Luncheon is Wednesday, January 13th from 11:30-1pm at St. Andrews Presbyterian. That next Tuesday, January 19th from 5:30 to 7pm is Chapin’s Chamber Monthly Meeting at the Market Place of Chapin. If you haven’t visited their websites lately, you need to check them out: Irmo Chamber of Commerce ; Chapin Chamber of Commerce

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OUR SCHOOLS
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CHAMPIONS…AGAIN: Another championship season for two Chapin teams. Their cheerleaders and their band both were crowned CHAMPIONS and will be recognized later this year by Representative Huggins and me. It’s always great to see District Five students recognized for their work on and off the field!

DUTCH FORK HIGH SCHOOL / FLOOD RELIEF: Dutch Fork High School students help rebuild home as part of flood relief project. Students at Dutch Fork High School helped give a local family a late holiday present as part of a project to rebuild a home damaged by last year’s flood. Members of the school’s Beta Club spent several hours rebuilding walls and lives as part of Project Rebuild. The project was part of a partnership with Home Works of America, St. Bernard Project, the United Way of the Midlands and several other local groups. “They can see the magnitude at which the community was affect. It’s a direct way to give back,” said Kelly Payne, Home Works site leader and Dutch Fork High School Beta Club advisor. “The students jumped right into the project, even the building tasks that were outside of their comfort zone…Giving back is a lesson that will be with them a lifetime.”

DISTRICT FIVE RECRUITMENT FAIR: Lexington-Richland School District Five will hold its 2016 Teacher Recruitment Fair on February 6, 2016 at Irmo Middle School, 6051 Westcott Road, Columbia, S.C. 29212 from 8:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Pre-registration is available through February 3. To register click here. To be considered for employment, all attendees must complete an on-line application at www.winthrop.edu/scteach before attending the recruitment event. Early Contracts for critical areas, such as Math, Science, Special Education and World Language may be issued.

DISTRICT FIVE SCHOOL BOARD TO BE RECOGNIZED IN JANUARY: Lexington-Richland School District Five will join school districts statewide in celebrating School Board Recognition Month in January. More than 600 elected and appointed school board members throughout South Carolina will be recognized by schools and communities for their service and dedication to public education. The theme of this year’s statewide celebration, “School Boards Stand Up 4 SC Public Schools,” reinforces the roles and responsibilities of school boards and the ownership they take for governing their local public schools. The District Five Board of Trustees is the district’s official policy-making entity, formulating policies to enhance educational opportunities in District Five by interpreting the needs and goals of the community. The men and women serving Lexington-Richland School District Five include: Robert Gantt (chairman), Ellen Baumgardner (vice chairman), Jondy Loveless (secretary), Larry Haltiwanger, Jan Hammond, Beth Hutchison, and Ed White. District Five will recognize board members during its Jan. 25 school board meeting. The event, which is open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. at Chapin Middle School.

For more District Five news, read the Weekly News and Highlights which can be found here .

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THANK YOU
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Thanks again for the privilege you give me to represent the Irmo/Chapin/Ballentine/Dutch Fork community! If you have events or people you’d like me to share with our community right here through Nathan’s News, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help!

I’m always eager to spend time with you at your Homeowners Association Meetings, Churches, and other civic events in the community! Let me know dates and times and I’ll work to be there!

Nathan Ballentine
803-734-2969
www.nathansnews.com
House of Representatives, District 71
Richland-Lexington Counties
320B Blatt Building
Columbia, SC 29201