County Action Council, Inc. has used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain a number of documents relating to
the abortive attempt by County Council to implement a municipal solid waste landfill over the last
year. A timeline has been constructed, which is available here.
This timeline is supported by copies of documents and emails received
from the County via the FOIA; these documents and emails are available here.
The timeline is also supported by audio recordings of Planning
Commission and County Council meetings received from the County via the
FOIA. These recordings are available here with a word of caution in the form of a README file.
Thanks are due to Michael Greene for making sense of the morass
received from the County in response to the FOIA request.
Members of County Council are taking the position that they were misled
by the landfill operation and that they have restored the original
situation, so everything should be OK. LCAC is providing this FOIA
information to the public so that people can make up their own minds
concerning the matter. LCAC intends to host a discussion of the matter
in the near term with the objective of developing recommendations for
Individuals should use the resources provided by LCAC to satisfy
themselves, but it seems clear that County staff knew of the nature of
the landfill project very early in the program. Despite protestations
to the contrary, it seems clear that County Council members knew or
should have known what was going on as well. No one seems to have
undertaken the obligation to be sure that the citizenry, especially
those immediately impacted by the project, was aware of what was
going on. This failure to bring the citizenry on board is a clear
failing of County Council; it is County Council that is responsible to
the citizens (voters). Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the
situation is the refusal of County Council to look past the correction
of the immediate situation regarding the landfill to the underlying
problems with the way county government functions.
County Council is well on the way to repealing the change in the
set-back requirement that made the landfill project possible, thus
restoring the status quo to where it was a year ago. County Council has
not, however, addressed the ethical problems associated with accepting
a dinner as a group, itself a violation of the Sunshine Law, from an
organization with business interests coming before County Council, with
accepting a trip in a company airplane from the same organization, and
with accepting representation from a law firm with lawyers registered
as lobbyists on behalf of the same commercial organization with
business before County Council. For the trip on the company airplane
the County Council group was divided into two groups specifically to avoid
Sunshine Law violations. Two other recent
behaviors by County Council may serve to illustrate the difficulty. The first of
these is the adoption of the County Strategic Plan,
which was developed essentially without input from the public, sprung
on the public by surprise in February and adopted without discussion.
This document, which is supposed to guide all decisions by County
Government, deserves to be investigated by every citizen.
The second is the complete revision of the County zoning law (the
"UDO") which is proceeding apace in the offices of the Planning
Department well outside the public view. Public input is sought at
"Open House" functions in the County Office Building on 21 May 9AM - 5
PM and 26 May 5 - 9 PM. Public hearings are planned,
but only after the new law has been completely developed and any
changes will be minor. This new law will affect every square inch of
property in the unincorporated area of Lancaster County and thus every
present and future taxpayer; it would seem that involvement by the
public at every step along the way is both desirable and necessary.
The ability to do something about these situations depends entirely on
the willingness of the public to get involved on a continuing basis. When an individual or
organization seeks some change from County government, there are four
groups with separate interests, the individual or organization seeking the change,
the county administration, County Council and the public. These groups
have disparate interests, and the public, which has the most to lose, is usually left out because it
is unwilling to get involved and stay involved in sufficient numbers to
influence County Council, which has the authority to get things done.
Ollie Bass, Quamaine Hayden, Joshua Bishop,
Rev. Jimmy Fox
CDC Meeting 3 May 2011
The Van Wyck Community Development Club presented its Outstanding Young
Citizens Awards for 2011 to Quamaine Marquis Hayden and Joshua David
Bishop. Both young men are seniors at Indian Land High School.
Quamaine is a member of the Beta Club, Treasurer of the Junior
Civitans, and was on the football and track and field teams. He is an
active member of White Oak A. M. E. Zion Church, serving as Vice
President of the Lancaster District Youth in the Pee Dee Conference.
Quamaine serves on the Indian Land High School Improvement Council,
sings in the choir and is employed at TacoBell/Long John Silvers. He is
an Eagle Scout and plans to attend Virginia State University to major
in business and political science.
World Certification as a first degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do and is
a 2nd Lieuenant in JROTC, where he received the H.L. Hunley Award for
showing honor, courage and commitment. He is a volunteer at Andrew
Jackson State Park , the Van Wyck Community Center and Celebrate Van
Wyck and at Panther Stadium, where he has been top seller seven times.
Joshua is active in youth activities at the Church of Christ on Gold
Hill road in Fort Mill. He plans to attend Freed Hardeman University
and major in Biology.
These young men join a
long list of outstanding young citizens honored by the Community
Development Club. Each received a certificate, a $250 scholarship and
our best wishes for continued success. Our thanks to Rev. Jimmy Fox for
his work in chairing the committee that handles these awards.
In other matters. the schedule of events is as follows:
Brooklyn Springs School Outing - 20 May
Spring Fling/Yard sale - 28 May (Poster)
Fireworks - 4 July 6:00 PM - Dark
Fall Festival/Car Show - 10 September.
County Council Budget Meetings County
Council has scheduled Budget Planning Meetings for 16, 19 and 24 May.
Each meeting will begin at 6:30 PM in the County Council chamber in the
County Office Building. These meetings are open to the public and
public comment on the budget is expected. County Council is planning to
raise taxes again and provide salary increases to County employees.
The rationale for the salary increases is the "Archer Study", a salary
comparison study commissioned by County Council a couple of years ago.
The study purports to show that salaries paid by other nearby
governments are more than those paid by Lancaster County for comparable
work. County managers assert that "morale is very low" and "We are
training people for jobs in other govenments because as soon as we get
them trained they leave for higher paying jobs."
Implementation of the Archer Study is one of the objectives in the County Strategic Plan. Inquiries as to the cost of implementing the Archer study have met with no response from County officials.
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
you would like to donate and would like us to transport it for you, let me know.