Search Results for: broad river

Broad River Widening – update from Richland County Penny Tax

Like you, I’ve been wondering what the county has been doing for us with the Penny Tax revenue that passed years ago (our area being one of the few that voted against the tax ). Outside of a roundabout on Kennerly Road near Riversprings Elementary, that’s about all I see – from the county.

I did some searching on my website and can’t believe it’s been NINE YEARS since the county passed that tax!

After seeing all the work ramping up at the state level from DOT , I decided to check locally today with the county to see what they were doing for us. Glad I did, apparently “things have changed”. I learned a word I haven’t heard before. I was told the project has been “descoped” and that those changes were approved by Richland County Council.

Appears cost overuns is a primary reason for the change from an article from last year that sheds some light.

In any event, here was the update I saw this afternoon before calling to speak with Michael Niermeier, Director, Department of Transportation with Richland County Government.

A description of the “descope” is below and also can be seen by clicking here.

So, bottom line, it looks like we are 2-3 years away from the county using the Penny Tax to start construction on this improvement.

Not the news I wanted to hear today. I was told the county would come out here once the “descope” has been finalized so that we can see what they have proposed. I was told there isn’t enough money to do the “5 lane project” that we were originally sold. (I see what it’s hard to trust government anymore)

BROAD RIVER RD. WIDENING

Original Project Scope
The project scope for the Broad River Road Widening Project was to widen the roadway to 5
lanes between Royal Tower Drive and Dutch Fork Road in the Irmo community. In addition, the
road was to be widened to 3 lanes between Dutch Fork Road and I-26 (Exit 97).
(2) 4-foot wide bike lanes and (2) 5-foot wide sidewalks are included in the project scope.
Revised Project Scope – Based on traffic volumes, public input, and funding, the PDT recommended to
only include the widening from North Royal Tower to Dutch Fork.
Referendum Funding – $29,000,000.00 Current Cost Estimate: $39,663,756.37

Traffic Analysis and Results

The traffic study evaluated 15 intersections along the length of this project along with the
intersections of the off\on ramps of I-26. SCDOT plans to widen I-26 in this area, so the off\on
ramps would be addressed with their project.

The 2043 Level of Service in this corridor has been identified as “Adequate” for the proposed
improvements while the 2043 “No- Build” evaluation showed that the majority of the
intersections would operate at a “F” Level of Service. The recommended proposed
improvements from the traffic study are to improve the intersections by increasing turning bays.

Crash Data between 1/1/13 and 12/31/15 (3 years) shows that there were 161 crashes near these
15 intersections with the majority being rear-end collisions.
1 fatality

Public Input Results
185 residents attended the December 15, 2016, Public Meeting

The design alternative supported by the most residents was a 5 lane travel way that included 2 4-
foot wide bike lanes and 2 5-foot wide sidewalks

Residents agreed that removing the 3 lane section between Dutch Fork Road and I-26 was
preferred

Right-Of-Way

ROW Obtained To Date – 0 Expended To Date – $0

Possible Design Modifications to Lower Cost

Widen the road to 3 lanes (2 driving lanes and a median) and also provide turning lanes at the
intersections that are missing them at this time. This could improve turning movements in and
out of the many businesses in the corridor and decrease the number of rear-end collisions.
New Approx. Estimate: $30M (Approx. Savings $9.6M)

Note: This option would not improve capacity but would improve safety and would improve
flow since left-turning vehicles would be able to pull into the median instead of block the
flow of traffic.

The cost estimate includes approximately $1,150,000 to relocate a 54” waterline at SCDOT’s
request. Staff is currently working with SCDOT to possibly have this requirement removed.

The condition of Broad River Road – 2mile stretch Peak Exit 97

Over past several weeks, I’ve heard the complaints and actually driven and seen myself. I received an answer
to my questions of who was the contractor, has DOT had issues with contractor before….and when will it be fixed?

Here’s what I received:

The ‘resurfacing’ on Broad River Road, US 176, in Richland County was actually not resurfacing, but was a road surface preservation treatment used to extend the life of the pavement. This preservation treatment, called micro-surfacing, is used on roads that are not yet on the resurfacing list and is used on roads all over South Carolina. This treatment is only about 3/8” thick and typically bonds to the road surface very well and serves as a wearing surface to extend the usable life of the road. The contractor, Slurry Pavers Inc., began micro-surfacing on US 176 on 5/11/2018 and continued until 6/3/2018. This project as a whole reached substantial work completion on 7/19/2018. A final inspection was completed on this project on 7/25/2018. At the time of the final inspection only small unrelated problems existed on the road and the roadwork was accepted contingent on the small repairs. During heavy rains of October and November of 2018 the surface began to delaminate very similar to how it is currently. At the time we believed it to be a latent defect with the slurry seal. The contractor was contacted and scheduled repairs as soon as weather would permit. The contractor mobilized to the roadway and completed repairs from 1/8/19 to 1/10/19 and again from 3/7/19 to 3/11/19. After completion of the repairs, the roadway rode and functioned as expected with a micro-surfacing application. No issues or potholes were noted until they began to reappear suddenly in December of 2019. This type deterioration has not been observed at other locations across the state and appears to be unique to this section of US 176 and not an issue with the product. We have continuously reviewed and studied these areas to determine the root cause and possible remedies to this area. Staff from our Office of Materials and Research have evaluated the issue and have also concluded that the product was not defective but that there appears to be an issue with moisture in the underlying layers that is contributing to the unusual delamination of the thin surface treatment.

Understanding the sensitivity of our taxpayers, we want to ensure that the fix we put in place is a lasting one. Therefore, more evaluation is needed before a final reconstruction decision is made. Over the next several weeks, the pavement is going to be re-evaluated by our Pavement Management team using specialized equipment. Also, our maintenance forces will be milling off the top layer of the surface treatment to restore a smoother ride and minimize the nuisance to the traveling public. This will give our subject matter experts the opportunity to further investigate causes of this delamination and determine the best path forward.

As we move forward, I will keep you all informed as new information becomes available. Please let me know if there are any questions.

Thanks,

Robert C. Dickinson, P. E.
District 1 Engineering Administrator

UPDATE: Multiple road improvements!


Frustrated to learn about Richland County’s changes in design/timeframe for Broad River widening, I spoke last week with the head of SCDOT and requested they look into what has been proposed, advise what they (SCDOT) would recommend, and HOPEFULLY take over the project (assuming Richland County would reimburse them). I never knew this request was even possible but was told SCDOT has done this in a few situations where the “local plan” was not coming together like it had been proposed.

That’s the first thing I wanted to share this morning. Obviously, I will keep you informed as I learn more.

Next, we all know how bad Broad River is (originally from Peak Exit up to Newberry) but also from Peak Exit down towards Chickfila. I’ve been advocating on your behalf (and appreciate others who have contacted DOT as well), the good news is a TEN MILE STRETCH (from Chickfila to Newberry) will be fixed this “paving season” (which means before November). EVEN BETTER NEWS is that the contractor will NOT be using the same materials as before AND the job calls for (my words here) digging up 3 inches of road and replacing it with 4 inches.

Lastly, many have asked about all the work going on along the highway. By now, most know the bridges are being replaced and the highway widened. But just yesterday, SCDOT added more information to their website so you can actually see how things will look.

The Peak Exit will look much different (as will others).

As you imagine and will read below, the entire project won’t happen “overnight”. Thanks for your patience as we continue to see infrastructure improvements now being implemented.

***

Mr. Ballentine,

Please see the Design Plans section at the link below where we have uploaded all three interchanges for the project. Work that may impact traffic at exit 97 will not begin until the fall of this year with the start of utility relocation on the outside shoulders. This interchange is scheduled to be complete in in the summer of 2023 and the entire project is expected to wrap up in the spring of 2024. One good thing about this interchange is that the new bridge will be constructed before the old structure is removed. It will not be closed like we had to do at exit 85 where both bridges are on the same alignment.

https://scdotmidlandsconnection.com/resources/

Let me know if you need any additional information about this location or any other.

Thank you,
Allen

Allen Thompson
Assistant District Construction Engineer
SCDOT – District 1

Road Work Continues: Exit 97 to Peak

Was asked tonight for an update on the (ongoing) issues with 176 (Broad River) and wanted to pass along what SCDOT shared with me earlier this evening:

“Good evening Nathan, we have started with asphalt repairs on Broad River Road. Based on recommendations from our Research & Materials, we h ave begun to tackle the 10 mile stretch up near the Chapin Rd to Newberry County line with our internal forces. The section from Chapin Rd to Ballentine (Chickfila) will require a more extensive reparid and we currently (are) seeking extensions to existing paving contracts in order to complete the repairs this year. We will keep you posted on this as we progress.”

When we finished a 10 hour budget debate today (no breaks), I came home on Exit 97 (which is the Exit I take everyday – but I go left across 26) and filmed the above video with similar comment as this post.

For background on this and other work in the area, you can search Nathans News or click here for a few posts.

Zoning UPDATE: County Council votes June 23rd

Even though the Richland County Planning Commission voted to NOT recommend the proposals for the “Broad River Road/Kennerly Road/Freshly Mill Road” parcels, County Council still has final say so whether to approve or not.

Here is previous article with that I know about the proposal.

As always, our vote on these matters is through County Councilman Bill Malinowski. Please let Bill (or other council members) know your thoughts.

Zoning request – not recommended

Last night the Richland County Planning Commission voted to NOT RECOMMEND the zoning change requested for the Kennerly Road/Broad River Road/Freshly Mill Road tracts of land.

The most recent proposal included a “Palmetto Roads” type of conveinence store (similar to the one at Wessinger Road four-way stop now) as well as an outdoor farmer’s market. No apartments or homes were presented with this request.

As always, keep your eyes and ears open and be sure to let your voice be heard or questions answered by contacting our local county councilman, Bill Malinowski. He is the only one with a vote in these matters.

You may also contact the members of the planning commission (click link above in article) as they are the first decision makers before any recommendation is sent to the full county council.

The Weekly Rewind – Week of March 10th

Nathan’s News readers are aware that I regularly share a “Week in Review” update which is prepared by legislative staff. It’s straight forward, no spin, not partisan…just the facts.

If you want a more personable read, be sure to read a similar update that I write each week in The New Irmo News. Representative Huggins and I rotate weeks throughout the session so that the entire Irmo/Chapin community can stay informed!

*To read the text of any bill mentioned below, please visit www.scstatehouse.gov and enter the bill number in the search box *

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
March 12, 2020

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.5201, the General Appropriation Bill, and H.5202, the joint resolution making appropriations from the Capital Reserve Fund, which together comprise the FISCAL YEAR 2020-2021 STATE GOVERNMENT BUDGET. The budget includes $9.6 billion in recurring state general fund revenue, after $629 million is transferred to the Tax Relief Trust Fund that provides for the residential property tax caps. The budget’s nonrecurring funds include $568 million in surplus funds estimated for Fiscal Year 2019-2020, $350 million in the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Contingency Reserve Fund, and $162 million in Capital Reserve Funds.

$128 million in nonrecurring funds is used for providing one-time income tax credits that amount to $100 for each filer, and $120 million in recurring funds is devoted income tax relief by reducing the top income tax bracket by 0.2%.

The budget provides for an accelerated statewide farm-to-market road paving program to allow for paving on an estimated statewide total of 240 miles of these farm-to-market secondary roads within the state highway system, with projects in every county of the state. The paving program includes $77 million in nonrecurring funds allocated through the Department of Transportation and $23 million in nonrecurring funds distributed among the County Transportation Committees.

$50 million in nonrecurring funds is appropriated to begin a Disaster Relief and Resilience Reserve Fund that is to be used for disaster relief assistance, hazard mitigation and infrastructure improvements, and statewide resilience planning.

$10 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for the state FEMA match for Hurricane Dorian.

To allow South Carolina to take advantage of measures approved by the U.S. Congress to combat the coronavirus, the budget includes authorization for state agencies to receive funds from the federal government to be expended for COVID-19 preparedness and response.

$42 million in recurring funds is provided for a state employee recruitment and retention initiative that affords agencies flexibility in providing merit-based pay raises and bonuses. Funding for the initiative is equivalent to a 2% salary increase.

$38.9 million in recurring funds is included to cover the increased costs of operating the state’s health and dental insurance plans and to provide coverage for adult well visits with no additional monthly premium costs.

A provision is included to revise retirement benefits after returning to covered employment under the South Carolina Retirement System and the Police Officers Retirement System to establish a protocol that allows retirees to return to covered employment without being subject to the ten thousand dollar earnings limitation.

A total of $32 million from the General Fund and $4 million in Education Improvement Act funds is devoted to the 1% increase in the employer contribution rates for the South Carolina Retirement System and the Police Officers Retirement System that is in keeping with the schedule for addressing the unfunded liability facing the state’s pensions established in Act 13 of 2017.

$213 million in recurring funds is used to provide a teacher salary increase of $3,000 per teacher. The increase allows the state’s teacher pay to exceed the Southeastern average by $2,456 and places South Carolina in the top half of states in the nation for average teacher salary.

$26 million in recurring funds is appropriated to increase the base student cost to $2,500 per pupil.

In order to receive the increased funding for the base student cost, a school district must implement a policy that prohibits the use of cellphones and other personal electronic communication devices by students during direct classroom instructional time.

$76 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for instructional materials.

The budget provides for a statewide expansion of full day 4K early childhood education which includes $37.6 million in Education Improvement Act funds through the State Department of Education, $15 million in EIA funds through the First Steps program, and $2 million in EIA funds for early childhood assessments.

$3 million in Education Improvement Act funds is allocated to First Steps for the enhancement or expansion or evidence-based programs that serve at-risk children and their families from birth to age three.

$60 million in nonrecurring funds is allocated for capital improvements in the most economically challenged school districts.

Eligibility is expanded for the Rural School District and Economic Development Closing Fund established within the Department of Commerce to facilitate economic development and infrastructure improvements.

$10 million in recurring funds is allocated for school resource officers.

$5.5 million in Education Improvement Act funds is included to address S.C. Public Charter School District growth.

$2.6 million in recurring funds is devoted to the SC Virtual Schools Program.

$3 million in recurring funds, $22.5 million in nonrecurring funds, and $500,000 in lottery funds is provided for school buses. $7.9 million in funds from the Volkswagen Environmental Trust is allocated for purchasing school buses.

The budget includes a higher education tuition mitigation initiative in which a total of $47.6 million in additional recurring funds is distributed among the state’s institutions of higher learning. In order to retain these appropriations, the institutions must comply with provisions for freezing in-state tuition and mandatory fees during the 2020-2021 academic year.

The Capital Reserve Fund is devoted to capital needs at the state’s colleges and universities, with a total of $160 million in these nonrecurring funds allocated among the institutions for repairs, renovations, and maintenance of various facilities.

A provision is included to require all public institutions of higher learning to prepare a report listing any fee increases assessed in the current fiscal year and the reason for the increase. The report must be submitted by November 30 to the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

The Commission on Higher Education is charged with determining which of the state’s public institutions of higher learning are in compliance with the statutory provisions for required instruction on the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers. A report on compliance with this instruction on American founding documents must be submitted to the Chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee and the Chairman of Senate Education Committee by November 1.

Full funding is provided for the LIFE, HOPE, and Palmetto Fellows higher education scholarship programs through $326 million in Education Lottery funds.

The Commission on Higher Education is afforded $28.4 million in lottery funds for need-based grants, representing an approximate 40% increase from last year.

$51 million in lottery funds is provided for tuition assistance through the Commission on Higher Education and the Board of Technical and Comprehensive Education

The Board of Technical and Comprehensive Education is afforded $17 million in lottery funds for SC Workforce Industry Needs scholarships that help provide full tuition at technical colleges for SC WINS recipients seeking degrees in industry sectors with critical workforce needs.

The Board of Technical and Comprehensive Education is provided $11 million in lottery funds for workforce scholarships and grants, $12.5 million in unclaimed prize money for high demand job skill training equipment.

$8 million in nonrecurring funds and $2.5 million in capital reserve funds is allocated to the Ready SC Program which provides worker training at the state’s technical colleges that is customized to the needs of new and expanding business and industry.

$10 million in recurring funds is provided for instructional programs at the state’s technical colleges.

$10 million in nonrecurring funds is appropriated for career and technology education centers which will assist school districts, two- and four-year colleges, and the business community in creating a new model for delivering career and technical education and dual enrollment opportunities.

The budget includes a provision establishing the Workforce and Education Data Oversight Committee to support the mission of the Coordinating Council for Workforce Development by collecting data from various state government agencies and institutions and analyzing the compiled data to improve the effectiveness of the state’s educational delivery system in providing economic opportunities.

The Department of Social Services, Vocational Rehabilitation Department, Denmark Technical College, and the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education are charged with exploring the feasibility of developing and implementing a residential workforce development program for foster and disabled youth at least 18 years of age to provide higher educational and transitional employment opportunities.

$3.7 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for the Deal Closing Fund that the Department of Commerce uses to recruit new business to the state. The Department of Commerce is afforded $4 million in nonrecurring funds for the Locate SC Site Inventory, $1.5 million in nonrecurring funds for the SC Association for Community Economic Development, and $9 million in nonrecurring funds for the SC Technology and Aviation Center.

The Rural Infrastructure Authority is afforded $2 million in recurring funds for the Rural Infrastructure Fund and $4.3 million in nonrecurring funds for the Water and Sewer Regionalization Fund.

The Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism receives $1 million in recurring funds for tourism recovery advertising, $2 million in recurring funds and $1 million in nonrecurring funds for destination specific tourism marketing, $10 million in nonrecurring funds for film incentives, $1.1 million in nonrecurring funds for SC Association of Tourism Regions, $3 million in nonrecurring funds for state parks revitalization, $1.7 million in nonrecurring funds for the SC Aquarium, and $10 million in nonrecurring funds to rebuild the state’s welcome centers.

The Department of Transportation receives $10 million in nonrecurring funds for upgrades to the state’s rest areas.

The State Ports Authority is afforded $1 million in nonrecurring funds for the Jasper Ocean Terminal Port Facility Infrastructure Fund and $200, 00 in nonrecurring funds for a Port of Georgetown engineering study.

The Division of Aeronautics receives $2 million for airport improvement projects.

The Department of Archives and History receives $3.7 million in nonrecurring funds for community development grants, $1.5 million in nonrecurring funds for historic preservation, $1 million in nonrecurring funds for the SC Revolutionary Wary Sestercentennial Commission, $100,000 in nonrecurring funds for the African American Heritage Commission’s Greenbook of SC.

The State Museum is provided $3.7 million to begin the second phase of its exhibit renovations.

The Arts Commission is afforded $1 million in recurring funds for community arts development, $1 million in nonrecurring funds for arts organization facilities upgrades, and $500,000 in nonrecurring funds for community arts development and education grants.

The Department of Agriculture is appropriated $1.1 million in recurring funds for federal hemp farming compliance and $630,000 in nonrecurring funds for hemp testing laboratory equipment.

Clemson PSA receives $1.1 million in recurring funds and SC State receives $802,600 in recurring funds for their extension programs.

The Forestry Commission is provided $1 million in nonrecurring funds for firefighting equipment.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control receives $1 million in recurring funds for the additional newborn screenings of Dylan’s Law, $5 million in recurring funds for salary increases for critical position retention, $997,000 in recurring funds for vaccine funding for disease control response, $1 million in recurring funds for hazardous waste emergency response, $1.95 million in recurring funds for the air quality program, $1 million in recurring funds for ocean outfalls, and $2.2 million in nonrecurring funds for its nursing program expansion.

The Department of Health and Human Services is afforded $47.3 million in recurring funds for Medicaid maintenance of effort to address program cost growth, $13.9 million in recurring funds for the community long term care census and assistance to the CLTC program that allows aging and disabled individuals to receive care in their communities instead of nursing homes and other institutional settings, $7.9 million in recurring funds for healthcare provider reimbursement rates, $6.7 million in recurring funds for disproportionate share hospital allotment increase, $492,000 in recurring funds for the SC Office of Rural Health, $150,000 in nonrecurring funds for cervical cancer awareness, $7.4 million in nonrecurring funds for the Medicaid Management Information System, and $1.7 million in nonrecurring for medical contracts.

The budget includes a provision for the Department of Health and Human Services to transfer $1 million to the Medical University of South Carolina Hospital Authority to develop a comprehensive approach to advancing the awareness, detection, treatment, and scientific knowledge of sickle cell disease and trait within South Carolina. The MUSC Hospital Authority is authorized to partner with independent research entities to advance curative therapies for sickle cell disease and trait and is authorized to endow one or more nationally leading academic research centers with a research chair named the “Rena N. Grant Endowed Chair for Hematology” in furtherance of this goal. Additionally, to improve the quality of care provided to sickle cell patients, the authority is charged with performing statewide cultural competency training in all hospitals, including urgent care centers, in this state in order to educate and increase the awareness of health care professionals that are most likely to treat sickle cell patients on the symptoms and stigma associated with sickle cell disease and trait, especially pain relief.

Funding is continued for the Rural Health Initiative partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine which includes an emphasis on rural residency placement and infrastructure improvements in underserved areas. $2 million in recurring funds is provided to enhance Telemedicine operations and $5 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for infrastructure.

As part of the Rural Health Initiative, the South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare is charged with studying how to develop a coordinating system for mobile health clinics operating within the state to ensure that they are serving the entire state, including rural and underserved areas.

The Department of Mental Health is afforded $5 million in recurring funds for inpatient services, $7.98 million in recurring funds for workforce sustainability initiatives, $600,000 in recurring funds for school mental health services, $625,897 in recurring funds for the sexually violent predator treatment program, $46.8 million in nonrecurring funds for VA nursing homes certification state match, and $400,000 in recurring funds for emergency department telepsychiatry.

The budget includes a mental health crisis stabilization initiative which provides for the Department of Mental Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Health and Environmental Control, Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, and all other relevant agencies coordinate their efforts to ensure that the statewide system for the delivery of mental health services

The Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services is charged with creating pilot programs with rural community-based nonprofits to provide counseling services to combat the opioid crisis. DAODAS is authorized to create a trust fund, which may receive donations from public and private sources, that is to be used to award grants to rural community-based nonprofits.

The Department of Social Services receives $14 million for child welfare efforts which includes staff equity increases, case worker staffing, increased Group Home Board Payments, and increased Foster Family Board Payments. $2.6 million is provided for adult advocacy staff and emergency stabilization beds.

The Department of Disabilities and Special Needs is afforded $10.1 million for various rate increases and $2 million for the Greenwood Genetic Center for Autism Research.

The Department of Corrections receives $100 million in nonrecurring funds for security and prison safety equipment upgrades, $7.5 million for fire alarm replacement, $9 million in recurring funds for recruitment and retention, $9 million in recurring funds for critical need health services positions, $5 million in recurring funds for the Hepatitis C treatment program, $3 million in recurring funds for the expansion of the gang enforcement security team, and $3 million in recurring funds and $1 million in nonrecurring funds for long term programming and reentry needs.

The Department of Juvenile Justice is afforded $5 million in nonrecurring funds for safety and security upgrades and $9.8 million in nonrecurring funds for security updates and renovations at the Broad River facility.

The Judicial Department is afforded $5 million in nonrecurring funds for case management modernization and $1.4 million in nonrecurring funds for its digital courtroom recorder project.

The Attorney General’s Office is provided $1.6 million for crime victim compensation funding.

$1 million in recurring funds and $2.5 million in nonrecurring funds is appropriated for Circuit Solicitor Prosecution Case Management System and IT infrastructure.

Indigent Defense is afforded $2.8 million for Criminal Justice System Workload Parity.

The budget emphasizes salary increases for law enforcement officers across multiple agencies.

The State Law Enforcement Division is afforded $1.8 million in recurring and $1.5 million in nonrecurring funds for technology equipment.

$2.3 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for local law enforcement grants through the Department of Public Safety. $1 million in recurring funds is provided for DPS vehicle replacement.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is afforded $5 million to modernize its database and $5 million for salary adjustments and other employee retention initiatives.

The budget includes an $11.6 million increase in recurring funds for the Local Government Fund that is consistent with the revised approach for sending revenue to political subdivisions established in Act 84 of 2019.

A budget provision precludes counties from obtaining the tax relief offered for solar panels and other renewable energy equipment by excluding this renewable energy resource property from county property tax collection.

$2 million in recurring and $5 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for Conservation Bank Trust grants.

The State Library is afforded $1 million in recurring funds for Aid to County Libraries, increasing the per capita distribution from $2.00 to $2.25.

The State Election Commission receives $9.3 million in nonrecurring funds for completion of the new voting system.

The Adjutant General is afforded $2 million for armory revitalization and $7.5 million for the Aiken Readiness Center.

The Department of Administration is appropriated $1.5 million for statewide employee recruiting and retention initiatives, $2.5 million recurring and $8.1 million nonrecurring for the SC Enterprise Information System, and $5 million for state-owned building capital needs.

The budget enhances funding for the constitutional reserve accounts that the state uses to cope with revenue shortfalls. An additional $13.6 million is used to fully fund the Capital Reserve Fund. $122 million is provided for the General Reserve Fund, which exceeds the constitutionally-required $34 million contribution.

The House made appointments to a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on S.601, a bill SUBJECTING EMPLOYEES OF RESIDENTIAL CHILD CARE FACILITIES TO CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK REQUIREMENTS.

The House made appointments to a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on S.76, a bill that makes provisions for EXTENDING THE ENERGY EFFICIENT MANUFACTURED HOMES INCENTIVE PROGRAM for five additional years.

Zoning Request – wanted you to be aware

Last week, I was tagged on Facebook and started making calls to find out more about this. When I spoke to our local County Councilman, Bill Malinowski, he said wasn’t sure of the request either but would be finding out more.

While I don’t have a vote on these matters, I do want to keep you informed and ask that you call both Councilman Malinowski and other members of Richland County Council.

Please note these hearings are the PLANNING COMMISSION and they present an approval or disapproval recommendation to council to ultimately vote. From what I have noticed in years past, the council pretty much accepts whatever recommendation the planning commission gives.

From WLTX website:

CHAPIN, S.C. — An official notice sign from the Richland County Planning Commission has raised concern among Chapin citizens.

“We don’t know what’s going on,” community member Phyllis Bickley told Street Squad, “We can’t find out anything, we haven’t been told anything. We just don’t know and that’s what’s bothering everybody, what everybody is upset about… we can’t find out anything.”
The sign gives notice of a proposed zoning change for two properties off of Broad River Rd. at Freshly Mill Rd. and Canterfield Rd.

One piece of property (Case #19-047MA) is 17.79 acres currently listed as “RU” which stands for rural district. It is slated to be changed to “GC” meaning general commercial.

The second piece of property (Case #19-046MA) is 12 acres listed as “RU” to be changed to residential multi family high density- “RM-HD.”

At this point in the process, the applicant for these properties does not have to state what they intend to do with the land. The zoning applications were submitted by Vicki Brooks, a realtor in the area.

Here is a breakdown of the process for how rezoning land works according to Geonald Price, Planner for Richland County:

First, there is the submission of the application to rezone. That goes to the Richland County planning department,which then prepares a report based on multiple things such as its part in the county’s comprehensive plan, traffic studies and so on.

These recommendations go to the Richland County Planning Commission – a group of nine members appointed by county council.

They will then have a public meeting and come up with a recommendation that will go on to county council.

To read more click here.

The fix for Malfunction Junction (and more) coming our way

We’ve been seeing road improvements in the area for years, and soon, the biggest improvement of them all is coming our way. Not just the fix for Malfunction Junction, improvements on out towards the Peak, Little Mountain and Newberry area.

From The State

Overshadowed by the S.C. Department of Transportation’s massive $1.5 billion effort to untangle Columbia’s notorious “Malfunction Junction” interchange at I-20, I-26 and I-126 is another big highway improvement project.

Beginning in 2020 and ending fours years later, workers will widen I-26 for 16 miles from Broad River Road northwest to Little Mountain. That widening project would link with the Malfunction Junction project — officially called Carolina Crossroads — at Exit 101, Broad River Road.

Both projects are expected to begin in 2020.

Although public hearings have been held on the extended I-26 widening project, many folks who regularly roll up to Greenville and Spartanburg from the capital city, or vice versa, probably don’t know that their trek is going to be more difficult for a long time before it gets a lot better.

“We’re flying under the radar a little,” project manager Michael Hood said.

The $530 million project begins at Exit 101, which is U.S. 176., in Irmo. That’s where the Malfunction Junction project will end.

The existing two lanes on each side of the highway will be widened to four lanes for a total eight-lane section of highway to Broad River Road, which is the Peak exit.

The road will be widened to six lanes for the remaining 12 miles from U.S. 176 to S.C. 202 at Little Mountain. Future plans envision a widened highway all the way to Newberry.

Read more here

You can make a difference!

One of the great things about being a public servant is being able to help others.

In order to be the best elected officials we can be, we need to constantly stay in contact with our constituents and we need to encourage them to reach out to us and be our eyes and ears around town.

NathansNews readers are always willing to share their advice about legislation and also letting me know where our community needs help!

Whether it’s traffic/safety improvements , housing development issues , potholes , new neighbors in the community ,helping elderly lady keep electricty on, saving an abandoned, malnoursished dog, or all sorts of other issues, it’s YOU that help make a difference by bringing to my attention.

In the past few weeks, residents of Wescott Ridge have come to me about their concerns. And those concerns are now being looked into.

Thanks to Wescott Ridge residents Chris Dornburg and Mark Hendrick bringing to my attention the neighborhood’s concerns, I’ve contacted SCDOT about possible sound barriers as well as safety improvements:

“Representative Ballentine – Thank you for forwarding Mr. Dornburg’s concerns regarding the traffic and speed along Broad River Road near Wescott Ridge subdivision just off the Peak Exit. I have assigned this study to our District One Traffic Engineering staff to complete. Typically, these studies take 45 to 60 days to complete. We will respond with our results once complete.

Additionally, the original encroachment permit for the subdivision stated that an updated traffic impact study would be performed once they had full build-out of the subdivision to determine if a traffic signal would be warranted. If the study shows the signal would meet engineering warrants, this signal installation would be at the developers cost. Our District Permit staff will be following up on this as well.

Please feel free to contact me should you need additional information regarding this request.”

Also “the noise study will be starting next month. If the noise study comes back at a certain level, we are required to put up sound barriers according to federal law”

If you or your HOA needs assistance anytime, please continue to let me know. I’m happy to point you in the right direction, make some calls, and get results for you! Since I was elected back in 2005, I continue to send regular COMMUNITY UPDATES, mailings, and calls about issues important to us here in Irmo/Chapin and at the State House. If you aren’t receiving those updates, please let me know so I can add you to the distribution list so you can stay in touch – and help me stay informed too!

As a friend once told me, “Elected Officials that stay in touch year round are better able to do their job than those politicians that are just around during election time.”