The Van Wyck News

Volume 3 Number 5 The Web – Based Newspaper of the Van Wyck Community             23 April 2011
Rachel Graham
Easter Egg Hunt
    The annual Easter Egg Hunt, a project of the Van Wyck Women's Club, was held on Saturday 23 April 2011 at the Community Center. About 40 local children and their families came and had fun with games, rewards inside plastic eggs and the Easter bunny.
Community Development Club
    The Van Wyck Community Development Club plans a Spring Fling/Yard Sale on 28 May. Indoor and outdoor spaces  are available. Other activities include the following:
Rabies Clinic - 26 April (Faulkner Amimal Clinic)
Relay for Life - 6 May (held at USCL)
Brooklyn Springs School Outing - 20 May
Fireworks - 4 July 6:00 PM - Dark
Fall Festival - 10 September.
    The Van Wyck Community Center is available for rent at very reasonable prices and makes an ideal location for parties of all types. Rental Details.

Lancaster County Water
and Sewer District

    It is not possible to understand the role of county government in Lancaster County without understanding the role of the Lancaster County Water and Sewer District (LCWSD). LCWSD was formed in 1959  by Act 455 of the South Carolina Legislature under the SC Code of Laws Section 16-11-18. Its Board is recommended by the Lancaster County political delegation and appointed by the Governor. The charter from the state is to provide public water, sewerage and garbage service to the unincorporated area of Lancaster County. The District has the authority to set its own rates, require residents to use and pay for its services, acquire land and equipment, build water and sewer lines as it deems necessary, acquire a source of water, use County and State rights of way for its water and sewer lines, exercise the power of Eminent Domain, contract as it sees fit with or without competitive bidding, borrow money secured by its ability to raise rates and compel use of its service, and extend its service beyond the original service area whenever it seems feasible to do so. Act 455 was modified by the Legislature on 17 March 1960 to allow the creation of subdistricts and on 15 July 1973 to merge a number of smaller water districts into LCWSD.
    Although LCWSD has the authority to develop and implement garbage service, it has not done so, since Lancaster County has provided such service.
    The point to this is that Lancaster County government does not control the develpment of water and sewer services, nor does the cost of providing these services impact the county budget. Lancaster County residents pay for these improvements via water and sewerage fees, but the cost is not included in the cost of development.

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Greg Gregory Wins
Senate Seat
    Republican Greg Gregory won the SC Senate District 16 seat vacated by Mick Mulvaney. Gregory won with 77% of the 5400 votes cast. The seat is up for re-election in 2012; Gregory has indicated that he will run again.

County Strategic Plan
    A copy of the County Strategic Plan can be found here.
    Despite the disclaimer in the first paragraph of the Strategic Plan, this document was developed and adopted without input from the public. This single statement provides the insight required to understand the great difficulty with this document and current county government.
    In a democracy, government is supposed to flow up from the needs and desires of the people, not down from a sovereign authority. Reading the County Strategic Plan gives the overwhelming impression that the document was written by a sovereign authority bent on imposing its own vision of what Lancaster County ought to be like in the future on unsuspecting citizens. The fact that the document was developed without citizen input reinforces this impression.
    Individual County Council members have prioritized the various elements of the Strategic Plan and plan to vote to implement the prioritized list at their meeting on 26 April 2011. The prioritized list is available in three documents A, B and C.  It is instructive to note the top few  priorities as determined by the average priority rating; you can discover the priorities of your council representative by looking at the documents using the links provided above.
    Top priorities by average Commissioner rating:
1. Provide Council with detailed information with background and alternatives along with an Executive Overview to ensure quality decisions.
2. Begin the budgeting process sooner.
3. Implement a Capital Improvement Plan.
4. Maintain good checks and balances in the financial system.
5. Ensure there is an interdepartment evaluation of economic development programs before decisions are made.
6. Require new developments to pay their share of future infrastructure improvements.
7. Review the Strategic Plan annually.
8. Conduct a retroactive cost - benefit analysis to determine the actual performance of past economic development efforts.
9. Develop a dedicated funding source for road improvements.
10. Implement the US 521 - Rte. 9 Corridor Study.
    Number 6 (above) is of some interest, since County Council  showed last fall that it would not enforce a development (Sun City) to pay the fire district assessment implemented before the development was built in the face of a development full of angry, complaining voters. Numbers 1 - 5 and 7 would seem to be merely a matter of directing the appropriate County employee to do the required exercise and following up to make sure it got done. Number 8 is already done; development incentives as previously implemented are not worth what they cost, as reported last month. Numbers 9 and 10 seem to be the only real situations on the list.
    More next month.

Feeding the Hungry
Donations to Lancaster County food programs have fallen off recently. The recession increases the number of people facing hunger and the need for food.  The Van Wyck Press is happy to transport food to the agencies serving the needy in Lancaster.  If you have food that you would like to donate and would like us to transport it for you, let me know.

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