2018-02-09 / Government / Neighborhood

Richland County Council chair and vice chair stay the same for 2018

By Mike Cox mwco423@gmail.com

On February 6, Richland County Council opened the meeting with the same leadership as 2017. Joyce Dickerson is council chair once again, and Bill Malinowski is the vice chair. Both were reelected to their respective positions in a special called meeting January 9.

A few council members changed seats which might confuse the thousands watching on television, but it won’t take the citizens long to figure things out.

During Citizen’s Input, several folks were on hand to voice their opinions about various concerns in the new year. Mark Tolbert, a former Lower Richland resident who has returned to Hopkins to live from the Northwest, asked the council to consider a proposal in the works to legalize medical marijuana.

Several council members were confused, since there is no current proposal addressing a change in cannabis law either on the books or in the immediate future for Richland County.

Tolbert told those in attendance that medical marijuana is a “really good idea” for both the revenue stream and the health benefits. He assured everyone marijuana is “not as bad as crack.”

Helen Taylor Bradley was there to ask for more information about the latest sewer project proposal. Bradley reminded the council that Hopkins Citizens United had asked for more detail from the council before moving forward on any new sewer legislation and asked them to stop the proposal until such information is received by their group.

Council member Dalhi Myers told the large group of concerned citizens from the Lower Richland area there was no new sewer proposal. A mistake was made during cut and pasting of old proposals and a motion to move forward with a water feasibility study erroneously included language mentioning sewer systems. (Not sure how many folks accepted that explanation).

Lottie Wesley, also from the Lower Richland area, admonished the council for holding secret meetings, voting on issues they don’t know the details of, and asked them all to do better research.

Steve Hinson asked the council to reject a rezoning ordinance on Huger Street. Hinson said he represented the Vista Neighborhood Association, and each of the residents there bought in that location to be in the area but not in a student housing neighborhood.

Hinson said the sale of property at 1400 Huger Street will result in student housing in their neighborhood and asked the council to vote against that.

Preceding the Blue Ribbon Ad Hoc Committee, Greg Pearce complimented the members of that group. “In all my years, I’ve never been involved with a group so dedicated and willing to help out.” Pearce then ushered six proposals through the Richland County Council to help more citizens, homeowners, and business owners to recover from the Flood of 2015.

During the Clerk of Council Report, it was noted a Richland Renaissance Public Involvement Meeting will take place February 13, at 5:30 p.m., at the Columbia Place Mall. A lot of information has been sent out about the improvement plans for Richland County. This is an opportunity for all county citizens to not only hear the plans but add some input.

In other actions, the council voted to add Richland County to the Statewide Court Case Management System supported by the SCJD. The council also added Michael B. Bailey to the Richland Memorial Hospital Board and introduced new Capital Project Manager Michael Niermeier, who came to the Midlands from the Baltimore area. He is a certified project manager and a 20- year Marine. (Still has the Marine haircut).

Council Chair Joyce Dickerson, Vice Chair Bill Malinowski, Calvin “Chip” Jackson, Norman Jackson, Gwendolyn Kennedy, Paul Livingston, Yvonne McBride, Dalhi Myers, Greg Pearce, and Seth Rose were present. Jim Manning was absent. More detailed information as well as complete agendas and minutes from past meetings can be found at the Richland County website: www.rcgov.us.

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