Although the General Assembly has been on furlough for the past two weeks, your Berkeley County Legislative Delegation remained diligent and took advantage of the time not in Columbia to hold a public meeting and two meetings with local business and industry leaders.
During the first week of the break, the Delegation held a public hearing at Goose Creek City Hall.
At the meeting, we heard public comments and concerns, approved a purchase by the Department of Natural Resources, reappointed two Delegation members to the CHATS Policy Committee, and appointed seven citizens to the Trident Regional Education Center.
During the public portion of the meeting, Goose Creek City Council Member Kimo Esary asked if the delegation could request that the Court of Appeals forward the Roper St. Francis and Trident Hospital case to the State Supreme Court for a speedier conclusion.
Because of separation of powers in the legislative process, the delegation will ask the Attorney General for the appropriate process to take.
Also during the public portion of the meeting, there was discussion about funding in next year’s budget to support the Guardian-ad-Litem program.
Mr. Terry Hardesty explained how important the volunteer program was to protecting the children of this state. Since the budget is currently in the Senate, Senator Campbell acknowledged the importance of the program and said he would look specifically at that portion of the budget to ensure the funding was there to support the program.
The delegation also met with the National Association of Independent Businesses. The purpose was to hear from the local chapter of their concerns and needs that are impeding their businesses.
One major stumbling block to business in Berkeley County is the Impact Fee. In order to open a new business or expand an existing business, the owner must pay a Berkeley County Impact Fee, which supports funding for certain transportation infrastructure. The fee is considerable and could deter businesses from coming to Berkeley County.
One business could not open due to a $33,000 fee before they invested the first dollar. Another discussion with the business owners was the regulations from the state and length of time to get permits.
The delegation informed the business owners that there is a determined effort in the state to reduce regulations and to make the process more streamlined.
This week the delegation met with the Board of Directors of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce. The chamber is interested in improving the water, sewer and transportation infrastructure and also regulations.
The delegation announced that there are additional funds in the new budget to help with transportation infrastructure.
These two weeks off were not all about business. Easter was a great day in the Daning family. After church with the whole family we enjoyed a wonderful day at the park watching the children and grandchildren and eating great food.
I appreciate the opportunity you have given me to represent you in the House of Representatives. If you have a comment or opinion, or if I may be of assistance to you, please feel free to call me at home at 553-9288 or at the State House at (803) 734-2951 or email me at email@example.com.