Search Results for: penny

Roads, Bridges, Intersections, Lights


While the General Assembly was unable to pass a “Roads Plan” (note: I voted for the plan that the House passed; but it didn’t make it out of the Senate), there is still alot of improvments happening around House District 71.

Below is an update from the SCDOT on the improvements going on in our community!

SC-6 @ Salem Church Road Intersection Improvement
The work on SC-6 is on-going, but utility conflicts have halted the pipe work. C.R. Jackson is actively working on other items until the utilities are relocated. C.R. Jackson plans to fine grade and pour curb and gutter this week and hopefully start back laying pipe August 24. City of Columbia plans to have a crew onsite this week to lower a 3” water main that is in conflict and SCE&G currently has a subcontractor onsite relocating a gas line. They plan to tap the line Thursday, August 20, and be out of the area by the Friday. There is also a meeting scheduled with AT&T to confirm the specific location of their lines for the installation of the remaining 2 signal pole foundations.

The expected completion date for this project is September 30, 2015. This should be attainable if no more utility conflicts are encountered and the current issues are resolved in a timely fashion.

S-40-216: Lowman Home Barn Road
The scope of this reclamation project was to grind up the existing roadway surface and base materials at least 8” in depth, add in cement, and remix while adding water. The result of this process produces a cement modified base course which is then overlaid with asphalt. This reconstruction method is very economical as compared to traditional patching and produces a structurally sound roadway which will last for many years to come.

The reclamation process has been completed and a temporary gravel riding surface has been installed. Milling and installation of traffic signal detection loops will be complete by end of week. The final asphalt surfacing is scheduled to begin at the end of this week or first of next week.

S-40-296 – A.J. Amick Road
Reclamation is also complete on this road, however, the final asphalt surface has not been placed yet. Surface will be placed once Lowman Home Barn is complete.

S-40-620: Captain Lowman Road
This road is under contract for single treatment – Contract ID 5190090. C. R. Jackson is the prime contractor. No work has been performed on this road to date. We anticipate that C. R. Jackson will full depth patch this winter and the single treatment will be placed in 2016 once seasonal restrictions have been lifted. The project has a completion date of September 30, 2016.

Richland County CTC Resurfacing
Shadowood Drive (S-1680), West Shady Grove Road (S-612) and Water Garden Court (S-1708) are part of this contract. Work has not started yet. The completion date is October 31, 2015.

Firetower Road Bridge Replacements
Local SCDOT bridge maintenance crews have completed the first bridge replacement on Firetower Road and are in the midst of replacing the second. We hope to have the project completed and the roadway reopened prior to October 1st.

Richland County Penny Project – Kennerly Road at Coogler Road
This is a Richland County Penny Project begin administered by ICA Engineering. Per my discussion with Project Manager Jennifer Bragg, the scope of the project is to install a roundabout at this intersection. It is one of six intersections included in a Design Build contract. They hope to award the contract by September with an 18-month window for completion of all intersections. For more information, you may contact Project Manager Jennifer Bragg at (803) 726-6146 or Richland County Transportation Director Rob Perry at (803) 576-1526.

I-26 Rehab
Several bridges along the I-26 corridor (89 MM to 101 MM) are scheduled to be combined in one large project in advance of the I-26 roadway rehabilitation project. These bridges will either be raised to provide for interstate clearance or replaced. The contract is tentatively set to be let late 2016. The roadway contract is expected to follow in 2017.

US-76 @ Johnson Marina Road Intersection Improvement
This is an intersection improvement project that will provide turn lanes on both US-76 and Johnson Marina Road. The initial project scoping meeting was held two weeks ago and currently the project is scheduled to be let Summer 2016.

Other notable projects in the Chapin area include
– Amicks Ferry Safety Improvement
– St. Peters Church Road Safety Improvement
– Murray Lindler Road @ Old Lexington Road Roundabout

Voting closer to home

precinct changes

The SC General Assembly adjourned sine die Thursday at 5pm; but will reconvene for at least one more week (probably more) during the summer. As I shared with Keven Cohen that afternoon; there really wasn’t much accomplished statewide (outside of Criminal Domestic Violence measures we passed). I’ll write more about “highs” and “lows” of the session in the coming weeks.

Locally though, I can report that many of you will get to vote closer to home than last time. Earlier this year, I shared that y’all let me know of changes you’d like to see regarding where you vote.

I don’t need to rehash how bad Richland County botched that election (during the “Penny Tax” referendum); but I did want you to know I had not forgotten. Even though I was able to make many changes two years ago to help reduce wait times in our area; I heard from the community that some voters wanted to be able to vote even closer to home. That led to me filing H.4142 in February. (Note: Special thanks to constituent Will Roberts, who is program manager for the mapping department of the S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office.)

As information: Spring Hill precinct votes at Spring Hill High School. Dutch Fork #1 precint votes at Dutch ForK High School. Dutch Fork #3 precinct votes at River Springs Church.

In the coming months, many of you will receive new voter registration cards. Be sure to notice these and see where you will vote during the next location. Hopefully you’ll save a little gas…and time!

House Roads Plan comes to the floor


Earlier this year, there were two bills filed that had several cosponsors and it appeared one of these would be the legislation used to begin the debate on roads/infrastructure.

One bill (H.3579) was the “House Ad-Hoc Committee” bill which came from months long work of a bi-partisan committee formed by House Speaker Jay Lucas. The House Transportation Infrastructure & Management Ad-Hoc Committee was chaired by Rep. Gary Simrill (R-York) and, considering the parameters given (“fix our roads”), the committee presented a thorough bill.

Another bill (H.3580) had a very important component that was outside the parameters given to the committee above: tax relief – massive tax relief that was outlined earlier this year in Governor Haley’s State of the State address. This bill was filed by Rep. Tommy Stringer (R-Greenville).

While there were several discussions between sponsors of both bills as well as the Governor’s Office and staff to reach a compromise ; a third bill (H.3878) was filed that would provide much smaller tax relief in hopes of moving forward and being added to H.3579 as filed by the House Ad-Hoc Committee.

The last week of of March, the House Ways and Means full committee voted to combine the Ad-Hoc Committee bill related to roads and Rep. White’s bill related to income tax and those bills now move to the whole House as “H.3579” Video of the committee can be viewed here.

Much has been written about the need to improve our state’s infrastructure system and every House member knows the importance of getting something passed sooner; rather than later. As I’ve shared at hundreds of meetings in my public service career, I believe you sent me to Columbia to “do something” rather than “do nothing”. Working with a total of 124 House members, 46 Senators, and 1 Governor means rarely will a bill ever be exactly like you or I would like to see it. With that in mind, I would like to hear your opinions on the House proposal. Please contact me directly through my website; email me at; or comment below. Through the floor debate and amendment process, this bill may experience changes; but I wanted to share information provided by the House Ways & Means Committee so that you know what the bill does:

1. Restructuring: There are two key components to restructuring in H. 3579. The first restructures the Department of Transportation and the second component restructures the State Infrastructure Bank.

A. Department of Transportation (DOT)

The Governor appoints Highway Commissioners (7 districts and 1 statewide) with a Joint Transportation Review Committee screening process approval. These commissioners serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The Highway Commission will then appoint a secretary with the advice and consent of the Senate. Commissioners hold no “terms” and may only serve a combined 12 years on the commission (retroactive).

B. State Transportation Infrastructure Bank (SIB)
The SIB Board expands from 7 to 13 members. It would consist of 7 district highway commissioners, 3 appointments from the Speaker of the House, and 3 appointments from the Senate President Pro Tempore. Of those appointments from legislative bodies, 1 of each must be an ex officio Representative and Senator. SIB members would have no terms and may only serve a combined 12 years (retroactive).

The SIB would lower its current $100 million project minimum to a $25 million project minimum and must follow project prioritization set forth by the South Carolina Department of Transportation in accordance with ACT 114. Only a Joint Resolution can override prioritization criteria requirements. However, only one project may be re-prioritized in a single Joint Resolution.

2. Transfer of Local Roads: Local governments that wish to take ownership of local roads (as identified by SCDOT) in their political subdivision may do so. In doing so, these local governments would be eligible for additional C-Funds. Should local governments opt in to take ownership of additional roads, they would receive transferred roads in three phases:

Phase 1: Local governments select 1/3 of identified roads in 2016.
Phase 2: Local governments select 1/3 of identified roads in 2018.
Phase 3: Local government select final 1/3 of identified roads in 2020.

As part of the phase-in process, the monies allocated to participating local governments would see an increased C-fund allocation of $1 million in year one followed by additional revenue increases in phase 2 and phase 3. Participants who opt in during phase 2 in 2018 would see a $500,000 annual increase in C-funds. Finally, participants who opt-in during the final phase would see a $250,000 annual increase in C-funds. C-funds would no longer come with a mandate requiring a percentage of funds be spent on state roads; this decision would rest with local decision makers.

3. Funding Components: There are two funding components.

A. Gas Tax
1. Per Gallon Tax – Currently it is 16.75 cents per gallon of motor fuel (gasoline and
diesel). This proposal would drop it to 10.75 cents per gallon of motor fuel.
2. Excise Tax – A wholesale indexed excise tax of 6% would be applied to a 6-month
average of the wholesale price of motor fuel.

B. Auto Sales Tax – Currently the auto sales tax is 5% of total vehicle costs capped at $300. This proposal would raise that cap to $500. Currently the auto sales tax is broken down with 20% going to education, 40% to the DOT, and 40% to the General fund. Under this proposal, the 20% capped at $300 for education remains, the 40% of the $300 designated to the General Fund moves to DOT and all funds over the $300 also go to DOT.

4. Control Component: This proposal includes two controls designed to prevent dramatic changes to gas prices from affecting the revenues dedicated to infrastructure.

A. Penny Control
The wholesale excise tax would not fluctuate more than one penny in a 6-month period.
B. Lifetime Control
The combined gas tax (comprised of the per gallon AND excise) cannot exceed 26.75 cents/gallon.

5. Revenue Generated:

A. Estimated New Revenue: Under this proposal revenues generated would be $428 million annually. Approximately $100 million from the auto sales tax cap increase, and shift of remaining General Funds to DOT.The remaining $328 million from the gas tax increase.
B. Gas Tax Revenue Sources
Out-of-State motorists currently comprise 1/3 of the revenues from the gas tax. Under this proposal that would equal $109 million.The Average driver (driving 11,000 miles/year in a car receiving 22 miles per gallon) would pay an additional $50 annually.The remainder is paid by “high usage vehicles” to include citizen commuters and transportation related industry.

6. Income Tax Reduction: Under this proposal an income tax reduction would be phased in over a two-year span beginning with fiscal year 2015-2016. The relief is realized by increasing the amount of exempt income in each existing tax bracket by $140 in the first phase, and another $140 the second, for a combined total of $280.

A. Cost to the General Fund
2015-2016: $1,337,967
2016-2017: $25,510,778
2017-2018: $21,910,558

B. Average Savings: The average South Carolina taxpayer with this income tax reduction would save $48 annually.

Infrastructure Improvements coming to the area


The projects listed in the paragraphs below are scheduled for the DOT; they do not include projects that will be funded by the “penny” in Richland County . The two “penny projects” are: Widening of Broad River Road from Royal Tower up to I26 (Exit 97) with projected cost $29,000,000. Intersection improvement on Kennerly (Coogler/Steeple Ridge) with projected cost of $1,900,000.

DOT scheduled projects outside of the transportation penny projects above:

Sidewalk Improvement at Royal Tower Drive, S-1862 (Brickling Road)
Anticipated Project Cost: $42,100
Schedule: Letting is scheduled for May 2015

Intersection Improvement at US76 (Dutch Fork Road) and S-618 (Johnson Marina Road)
Anticipated Project Cost: $1,220,000
Schedule: Letting is scheduled for Fall 2016

Bridge Replacement over I26 2 miles East of Ballentine (Koon Road)
Anticipated Project Cost: $3,770,000
Schedule: RFP Opening is scheduled for Fall 2016

Bridge Replacement over I26 2 miles east of Ballentine (Shady Grove Road)
Anticipated Project Cost: $4,896,400
Schedule: RFP Opening is scheudled for Fall 2016

I26 Rehabilitation between mile marker 89 and mile mnarker 101 (I26 Eastbound)
Anticipated Project Cost: $505,900
Schedule RFP Opening is scheduled for Fall 2016

Richard Franklin Road improvements – update

2014 Richard Franklin

Photo credit: @StateHouseWife

You may recall earlier this year, I mentioned infrastructure improvements that were coming our way .

Today you should see one of the projects, that has been long overdue on Richard Franklin Road, begin. Bear with it a couple of weeks and it will definitely be worth it.

I’m in contact as well with Rob Penny (Richland County – Transportation) to check on some other projects that were a part of the “Penny Tax” that passed during a time most of us would rather forget. As I learn more about those projects, I’ll keep you informed.

Yesteray, I shared information those other projects (along with estimated cost and funding source). As I’m sure you have heard, roads ain’t cheap….but we need to find a way to improve them (and bridges) and figure it out soon. We can’t keep kicking the can down the road in the General Assembly.

Nathan’s News readers have seen a few of my infrastructure proposals over the years. Some have received bipartisan support from a handful of colleagues; but have not made it through the process to become law. I want to be sure we exhaust ALL possibilities before we raise the gas tax.

What are your thoughts?

Photo below is just one small section of the road. Those that drive it regularly know the entire road is like this – or worse. I took photo earlier this week before the repair work started.

2014 Richard Franklin 2

Road Improvements: Richard Franklin and more…

2014 Richard Franklin

For any pothole or resurfacing requests of Richland County Roads, please email or contact our local county councilman, Bill Malinowski. If the road is maintained by the SCDOT, then contact me directly.

Ever since I was elected, it seems “potholes, intersections and roads” are what most people seem to care most about. Over the years, we’ve seen several improvements in the area. Too many to post over. Here’s a post from the past from the past and another years ago , most importantly, here is the latest information on some “most talked about” areas in the district:

1) Kennerly Road/Coogler Road intersection. No timetable but this is one of the intersections slated to be funded by the “Penny Tax” in Richland County. Years back, Senator Courson and I worked to get “flashing signals/signage” but even today there are still accidents at this location.

2) There is NO ‘bridge’ being considered from our area to Blythewood across Broad River (aka a northern arterial/connector from I-77 to I-26 over the Broad River) It’s not in any 20 year plans but it seems the “myth” always comes up every few months or so.

3) Richard Franklin Road. Finally! Contracts are being let and a full depth reclamation/resurfacing is expected to be completed by the end of summer.

4) Traffic Light at intersection of Highway 6 and Farming Creek. Work should begin spring 2014.

5) Replacing Shady Grove Bridge (over I-26) with a new 2-lane bridge. Should occur in 2014.

Also slated for 2014:

* Broad River Road (I20 to Koon Road) slated for resurfacing
* Capers Chapel Road – Chipseal resurfacing
* Julius Richardson Road – Thin lift resurfacing
* Lykes Lane – Thin lift resurfacing. (While Lykes Lane is no longer in District 71 after reapportionment, I remember years ago everyone appreciating the traffic signal there and wanted to let them know I haven’t forgotten about them).

Be safe out there! And if you’re curious about funding for our roads. I have offered several proposals to my colleagues before voting to raise your taxes!



The biggest news our first month back this year was that Governor Haley signed the Department of
Administration bill
into law to a packed crowd in the Statehouse lobby. This marks another major step in making our state government more efficient. While the bill was not perfect, my House colleagues decided to accept the majority of items in the bill and concede the State Procurement structure to the will of the Senate. This journey was started by the late Governor Carroll Campbell, and his family was on hand for the bill signing.

Also last month, the Department of Workforce and Employment announced that our unemployment rate dropped to 6.6 percent. That’s below 7 percent for the first time since 2008, and below the national average for the first time since 2001. Nobody can take all of the credit for this, and surely a lot of people are trying. For more than a decade, my House Republican colleagues have made job creation a central plank in our agenda each year. We have lowered the tax rates small businesses pay, enacted sweeping lawsuit abuse reforms, and worked to eliminate undue regulatory burdens. Government can’t create jobs, but we can create an environment where it is easier for the private sector – notably small businesses – to create them. Despite the great news, 6.6 percent unemployment is still too high, and we need to continue working so everyone in our state who can work has a job. In my role on the House Labor, Commerce, and Industry committee; my focus is to be sure we are helping put South Carolina back to work every chance we get!

One more item of significance was the election for Supreme Court Chief Justice between current Chief Justice Jean Toal and Associate Justice Costa Pleicones. You may have seen stories or received emails about this race over the past few weeks as it became contentious on both sides. Toal won the election by 95-74. Both Toal and Pleicones were extremely professional after the election, hugged in the House gallery after the vote, and pledged that this will not affect their relationship on the court. Toal will have to retire in 2015, and Pleicones announced that he will run again when Toal retires.


The weather has lessened our time in the chamber this session,; but work behind the scenes in committees continues. This time of year the House Ways and Means committee carries the heaviest burden as they continue to draft this year’s budget proposal to be debated on the House Floor later in March. To see a calendar of key budget dates, click here. One of my more recent posts, which has received several views, shared some budget numbers/information that people apparently found interesting. Last June, after a close vote to pass the budget, this post received some attention as well.

If you have suggestions or questions about this upcoming budget debate, please contact me here or call my State House Office at 734-2969.

NOTE: The week of February 11-13 will the House’s first furlough week. Each week the House is on furlough saves the taxpayers $50,000 (at least). Not a huge amount in a $7 Billion Budget (General Fund) but a savings, nonetheless. We have a few furlough weeks scheduled this year and it continues to lead to the debate of how long should our session actually be every year ?


The Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce next membership luncheon will be February 12th at St. Andrews Presbyterian. This month it will be a Speed Networking event hosted by BB&T Insurance. Plan to be there at 11:30 am to maximum your opportunities to meet and learn about other businesses in our community!

The Greater Chapin Chamber of Commerce February Membership Breakfast – Feb. 18 at Chapin Town Hall. Sponsored by Lexington Medical Center. Join us for an informative breakfast meeting as we will learn about ways to improve our heart health with the Take 5 Initiative. Lisa Minges with Healthy Directions will be our guest speaker and she will also cover employee wellness programs, too. We will also get an update on the Penny for Progress campaign and learn about two important events coming up for the Chamber this spring – the annual golf tournament and a silent auction fundraiser for the Chamber House. To register online, click here or call 345-1100.

Community Open House: Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge: Six years after I first mentioned it to Nathan’s News readers and just over a year after the “Topping Off” ceremony , our community will finally see the inside of our newest hospital! Come joine me and see firsthand how the wait was worth it! Palmetto Health is inviting the community to an open house at its newest hospital, Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge, Saturday, March 1, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. At the open house, Palmetto Health will offer hospital tours; samples of the fresh, local food that will be served at the hospital; musical entertainment; a personal gift to remember the event and more. In addition, Palmetto Health has planned a special celebration to start the day that highlights its strong commitment to the community. Starting at 10 a.m., approximately 900 community members from churches, schools, local businesses and the Palmetto Health team, will join together to form a “Circle of Health” around the building as a show of unity. Interested in participating in the “Circle of Health”? Contact Ali Walker, Parkridge Community Advocates Coordinator, at 803-434-4482.

Saluda Shoals Foundation’s Annual Oyster Roast Fundraiser Shuckin’ on the Shoals is a annual event at the Environmental Center at Sauluda Shoals Park. Bring your oyster knife and gloves to enjoy delicious oysters, smoked chicken gumbo, beer & wine. The event will be Sunday, February 23 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. Foundation member tickers are $45 per person or $75 per couple, non-member tickets will be $50 per person or $90 per couple. Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information call 213-2035.

Ballentine-Dutch Fork Civic Association : Next meeting will be March 3rd at 6:30pm at Ballentine Park. For more information about the association, click here.


Dutch Fork Football State Champion Seniors visit the State House I was pleased to be joined by Representative Huggins as we welcomed Coach Tom Knotts and his outstanding senior class to the chamber of the SC House of Representatives last month! To read the House Resolution about this great accomplishment, click here.

Chapin High School Principal Dr. Akil Ross, featured on television special. Lexington-Richland School District Five administrator Dr. Akil Ross was highlighted in a local television special, aired on Feb. 2 and again on Feb. 3. Officials with WACH FOX say the Chapin High School principal was chosen for the segment on pioneering African-Americans in the Midlands because of his leadership and positive influence in the community. To watch the video, click here.

Dutch Fork High School dubbed ‘Cool School’: A Lexington-Richland School District Five high school has been dubbed a ‘cool school’ and featured on a local television station’s morning show. Dutch Fork High School was profiled on WIS-TV’s Cool Schools segment on Feb. 7. The feature, which spotlights Midlands area schools, included a prerecord segment on the school and live show. Dozens of students and staff with the school’s band, STEM program, Teacher Cadet program, football team, pep squad, cheer team, and Dazzlers dance team showed up for the early morning taping. To watch the video, click here.

District Five Snow Day Make-Up Date Monday, February 17 will be used as Lexington-Richland School District Five’s snow day make-up date. This day was previously scheduled as a student holiday and one of several planned make-up days on our published school calendar. Students should report to school as normal on that day. As of this COMMUNITY UPDATE’s posting (Sunday 2/9) the Joint Resolution to waive snow days had not passed the Senate and it’s not known what (if any) impact that will have on the district’s schedule of 2/17.


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
House of Representatives, District 71
Richland-Lexington Counties
320B Blatt Building
Columbia, SC 29201

Five years later…Kennerly Road/Coogler Road Intersection

Five years ago, I posted this article . Today, The State reports improvements are coming – as a result of the “Penny Tax”.

From The State…

Drivers in Richland County could see the first road improvement projects funded by a local sales tax completed by year’s end.

Meeting in Clemson for a two-day planning retreat, Richland County Council members seemed eager to get started on six intersection improvement projects outlined by transportation director Rob Perry.

The $15 million in construction could involve enhancements for pedestrians and cyclists at the intersections as well, said Perry and his deputy, Chris Gossett.

“I’m ready,” several members chimed in after Perry asked for an endorsement.

First, the county must resolve a protest over the hiring of a project management firm brought by the second-place finisher. Chairman Norman Jackson said he’s hopeful there will be a resolution soon.

The six intersection improvements would be the first tangible sign of progress after voters approved a penny-on-the-dollar sales tax for transportation improvements to roads, bus service and trails.

Until now, Perry has said unidentified dirt-road paving and suburban resurfacing projects probably would be the first projects completed. Thursday, he said it looks like those projects will proceed alongside the intersection improvements.

He’s also moving forward on a list of sidewalk improvements in coordination with the S.C. Department of Transportation.

He said the county’s project management firm, ICA Engineering, had suggested moving forward on the intersections as well.

Perry said each intersection will be studied to settle on the changes needed, but they would include such things as adding turns lanes, straightening or widening lanes, adding bike lanes and sidewalks, or putting in pedestrian signals.“We would expect at least one of the six to be completed by the end of the year,” Perry said.The intersections are:

To read more, click here

Lexington County sales tax to aid Irmo?

While Richland County residents in the Irmo/Chapin area were basically left “high and dry” with lack of “their share” of projects on the Richland County “Penny Tax” Referendum (and even earlier on the Richland County Recreation Bond Referendum), it looks like Irmo town leaders may be trying to avoid a shut out from Lexington County too.

From The State

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC — Irmo leaders may change their minds and submit projects that could get aid from a proposed penny-on-the-dollar sales tax in Lexington County.

The new look comes after county leaders suggested that abstention is shortsighted.

Town leaders are developing a package of drainage and road intersection improvements for inclusion in the plan that would go to voters countywide for approval Nov. 4.

Irmo is the only one of the county’s 15 communities refusing to recommend projects for the tax plan.

Its omission would raise questions on whether the northeast corner of the county would benefit much from the tax, County Councilman Johnny Jeffcoat of Irmo said.

Irmo’s holdout is practical and political, town leaders said.

Projects first suggested like a new public works building and sidewalks are minor steps that wouldn’t qualify for the plan, Mayor Hardy King said.“What we had was not major but things we can do on our own,” he said.

A new set of improvements in drainage along with widening and adding signals at two intersections are a better fit, he said.

Read more from The State by clicking here



After narrowly passing the budget in the House (54-52) earlier in June, the House and Senate returned last week to vote (override/sustain) 81 gubernatorial budget vetoes. That is usually the last bit of work we do for the year; therefore after we voted on the vetoes, we adjourned this 1st regular session of the 120th General Assembly.

We will return Tuesday, January 14, 2014 to finish the last year of our two-year session.

As I wrote earlier on the website, no budget is ever perfect . Almost every member has something in the budget he/she doesn’t like and the gubernatorial vetoes are the last chance for us to have impact on the state’s spending priorities. In the years I’ve served, it seems we have sustained more vetoes this year than in years past. A good sign that some things can slowly change in Columbia.

In the coming weeks, I’ll update you on major legislation that became law this year and other legislation that fell short. All bills are “alive” until next year’s session ends so while it’s frustrating important items like Ethics Reform and Department of Adminsitration have not passed both chambers, I do expect them to be debated next year in hopes for passage of the best possible legislation the House, Senate and Governor can agree upon.


I’m tired of having to write about the Richland Election Fiasco; but feel a duty to keep everyone informed – especially since local taxpayers are paying $100,000 for the mess (not counting our share of the one-billion dollar tax increase that passed in November – after failing the previous time it was on the ballot).

Hopefully, the billion dollars will be spent wisely and with the most impact for our citizens and business community. Frankly, there are only a few items on the list that are in our area and I will work to see those come to fruition ( the intersection at Kennerly Road and Coogler Road being one of the most needed for safety ).

Every time I see the video of hundreds of you waiting in line , it bothers me more and more how our local Elections Office totally mismanaged the process. I have continued since then to offer solutions and keep voters informed so that future fiascos can be avoided.

Earlier this year, you may recall that the House passed my bill to reduce our precinct sizes in our House District . In the last few weeks of this session, other Richland colleagues wanted their precinct sizes reduced as well, and so we joined together on one county-wide bill that has now become law . With the recent Supreme Court ruling that South Carolina no longer has to get any changes “blessed by Washington”, look for your new voter registration information in early 2014. I will also work with the local Election Office to find additional voting places for these precincts OR may have voting precincts share a facility (example: one precinct votes in cafeteria of school, while another votes in the gymnasium). Obviously, having less people vote at each location (gym, cafeteria, etc) should help reduce the wait times…as well as having an Election Office send the appropriate number of machines out to the voters this time.


This year’s COMMUNITY COOKOUT is set for August 13th again at the Quarterdeck/Rusty Anchor from 6pm to 7:30 pm. Ever since I was elected, I’ve worked to bring national, state, and local elected officials together for our community to meet and talk with in a casual setting. Be sure to RSVP for this year’s event. BBQ and drinks will be served and music will be provided by Jim LeBlanc! Bring the whole family!

By now, you’ve probably heard about the “Wendover Project” that is applying for tax-credit, low-income housing in the Ballentine area. I will continue to keep you informed and have been working with other elected officials, community leaders, and concerned neighbors to be sure your feedback is heard at the SC State Housing Authority. For the latest update here on my website click here . I believe by the end of the month we will know for sure if tax credits were awarded to the project or not.

Two weeks ago, The Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce announced their board members for the 2013-2014 year. If you’d like to meet them and other chamber members, plan on attending the next Membership Meeting,Wednesday, July 10th, 11:30 a.m. St. Andrews Presbyterian or signing up for the 2013 Purple Martin Cruise (with Palmetto Health Parkridge and the Spirit of Lake Murray). This annual summer event is set for Monday, July 29th and will set sail at 7:00pm.

The Greater Chapin Chamber of Commerce has their Monthly Membership After Hours & New Member Reception July 16th at Ava’s Copper Pot Bistro from 5:30 – 7:30 pm . They will be welcoming all the new members who have joined the Chamber since last summer so this will be a great opportunity to meet them and learn about their products or services!

Turning to other organizational meetings in the area this month: the Ballentine-Dutch Fork Civic Association has no meetings during the summer.

MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR : Please be sure to email me news of accomplishments of your friends and neighbors in the community! Recent neighbors I’m proud to share with you are: Miriam Atria and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. I try to regularly update the website with people around town who are doing great things right here in Ballentine, Irmo, Chapin and White Rock. I’m willing to help promote their work/cause and simply need you to let me know what’s going on!


As I watched 2 of our 3 high schools’ commencement ceremonies, I was again reminded of how good we have it in Lexington/Richland Five. (Missed Irmo’s due to work obligation I couldn’t get away from). I was also pleased to see the recognition of graduates who will be serving our country’s armed forces next year and also seeing one of the ceremonies end with a benediction.

From the District’s website : Lexington-Richland School District Five’s graduating classes of 2013 earned a record number of scholarship offers. The amount totaling more than $125 million includes academic and athletic scholarships for students from Chapin High School, Dutch Fork High School and Irmo High School. More than 1000 District Five students graduated during ceremonies on Friday, June 7.

Chapin High School graduates were offered more than $32 million in college scholarships, said Annette Moore, the school’s guidance director. “This is over $6 million more than last year’s scholarships, and there were three students from this class who were offered full tuition scholarships. Congratulations to all students in the class of 2013!”

At Dutch Fork High, the number of scholarships offered totaled more than $51.7 million. That’s a $2 million increase over 2012 and almost double the school’s scholarship totals in 2011.

Irmo High School’s 2013 graduating students were offered more than $41.8 million in college scholarships, said Robert Taylor, the school’s guidance director.

The scholarship amounts represent awards at four-year, two-year and technical colleges and universities in South Carolina and other states. Scholarships were earned based on several criteria including academic performance, athletics and community service.


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
House of Representatives, District 71
Richland-Lexington Counties
320B Blatt Building
Columbia, SC 29201