Marlboro County Council took action this week to establish an EMS task force and proceed with an unidentified economic development project.
This happened at a called meeting Tuesday, January 30, in council chambers.
First on the agenda was an executive (closed to the public) session to discuss legal/contractual issues and an economic development project. These are legitimate topics for executive session according to the S.C. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Following the executive session, the council unanimously approved a motion to proceed with the economic development project called “Project Phoenix.”
County Administrator Ron Munnerlyn said it involves the rehabilitation of an existing property and that it will be “very positive” for the county. Specific information will be disclosed as the process moves forward.
The motion approved by council authorized three actions:
-proceeding with legal action to obtain clear title to the property
-entering a voluntary cleanup contract with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)
-amending the budget to allow $200,000 out of the county’s economic development fund to be used to accomplish these tasks.
The second item approved by council was the creation of a task force to examine issues and future strategies for providing emergency medical services (EMS) in the county.
This is in light of the closure of Marlboro Park Hospital in 2015, which has put a strain on EMS. For example, all patients must now be transported out of county, resulting in longer wait and response times and more hours on the road for ambulances.
Munnerlyn said Marlboro County Rescue Squad has “done a great job” under these circumstances and the task force is seen as a positive effort.
“We’re trying to stay on top of the situation and adjust now that we’re seeing problems from the lack of a hospital start to manifest,” he said.
Marlboro County, Marlboro Rescue, and the Marlboro General Hospital Charities Trust will all be represented on the task force. Members will be: the county council chair and vice chair and the county administrator; the chair, treasurer and one other member of the trust board; and three members of the rescue squad board.
As a final note at Tuesday’s meeting, Munnerlyn reported that Bennettsville City Council recently voted to cancel its contract with the county for magistrate judge services in municipal court.
He said the county and city have other shared service agreements as well.