County council members unanimously approved a funding request to expand the MARTi service to the Wallace area at their meeting on Tuesday.
Council member Willie Gladden was absent from the meeting.
County Administrator Ron Munnerlyn said there has been a fair amount of success with the MARTi bus route.
“There is a need for it in the Wallace area,” he said.
To move in that direction, a proposal was made to expand there with the on-demand or the requested service so someone can call to schedule an appointment.
Munnerlyn said it will be a full bus but a smaller one.
“We hope this is a start of another route and maybe a connection to Chesterfield County,” he said.
It will cost $2,000 a year for three years with the funds coming out of the economic development budget.
Vice-chairman Jason Steen said he was excited that they can expand in the Wallace area.
“This program is working and expanding,” said Dr. Carolyn Prince, county council chairman.
Riders can also call for a free ride 24 hours in advance at 843-665-227, option 2.
In other business, Emergency Medical Director Brian Watts updated council members on how the office has been doing in the past quarter. Through Sept. 20, there have been 1,404 responses and 971 transports to hospitals.
Response types range from a sick person and traffic accident to heart problems and other types.
Scotland Memorial Hospital and McLeod Cheraw are where most of the transports go while McLeod Dillon, McLeod Florence, and others receive transports too.
Watts talked about response times which are measured from dispatch to arrival on the scene. In the past, the EMS Task force Report in December of 2018 showed the average time was 11 minutes and 14 seconds. In September, it was nine minutes and 33 seconds.
Watts talked about some continuing issues faced by EMS, which include having four open paramedic positions.
“Paramedics are hard to find,” he said.
Officials are continuing to recruit while using a combination of part-time and overtime.
During Watts’ update in July, EMS had lost unit hours because of problems with one spare unit. Since then, another spare unit has been purchased, which will be in service by mid-October.
Council members also learned staff had sent all county residents a letter regarding the new county trash service, which will take place beginning February 2020. This was to answer questions about the new service and to avoid any confusion when residents receive their tax notices and see Roll-Cart Trash Collection fees on their bills.
Before the meeting, a work session was held at 5 p.m. Representatives from the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault provided updates on the New Beginnings Transitional Shelter in Wallace and Alternatives to Violence program, which is a diversion sentencing program for domestic violence offenders.
Council members met in executive session with representatives from Northeastern Technical College. Once back in open session, Prince directed Munnerlyn to draft a letter of support for Project Wild Turkey as presented by Dr. Kyle Wagner, president of NETC.
In other business, county council members:
— approved second reading of ordinance #788 to amend the building codes ordinance to adopt the latest and future editions of the building, fire, plumbing, mechanical, gas, electrical, energy, and residential codes as mandated by the South Carolina Building Codes Council.
— approved second reading of ordinance #3B-789 to establish Marlboro County Personnel Policies and Procedure. It will be one of the items discussed at a work session on Oct. 28 at 4:30 p.m. Council members received a draft copy of it to review.
— approved first reading in title only of Ordinance #790 authorizing the execution and delivery of a fee-in-lieu of ad valorem taxes and special source revenue credit agreement by and between Marlboro County and a project to be named with respect to certain economic development property in the county, whereby such property will be subject to certain fees-in-lieu of ad valorem taxes including the provision of certain special source revenue credits; and other matters related thereto.
— learned county employees and council representatives would serve lunch at the Community Kitchen on Wednesday. It is the county’s fourth-month serving.
— learned the Industry Appreciation Day event was scheduled for Oct. 30 at the Arris Manufacturing site in Clio. There will be a Happy Hour beginning at 4:30 p.m. with plant tours and a barbecue dinner at 6 p.m.
— learned the Veterans Affairs annual dinner party and dance is from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Nov. 22 at the Bennettsville Community Center. Veterans planning to attend are asked to RSVP by calling Amber Goings at 843-479-5622.
— learned the City of Bennettsville Trunk or Treat is from 2-4 p.m. Oct. 26 on the courthouse square. Trunk or treating will take place from 2-4 p.m. and end with a costume contest at 4 p.m.
— learned auditors had finished preliminary work and will finalize their findings over the coming month. Munnerlyn said initial findings were good with a continued reduction in spending that officials believe will bring the county under budget.
Munnerlyn recognized the following employees with five or more years of service to the county through September: Kaye Liner, 17 years; Lee McQueen, 19 years; Ray Kelly, 17 years; D.T. Turner, seven years; Hosea Lemon, 12 years; and Candis Pate, eight years.