Richland County is implementing changes to provide our community a more responsive and efficient government.
While I will leave County Council in January after choosing not to seek re-election for a second term, I remain excited about the future of this community. I am proud to be part of a body that is working to improve services for citizens and support for businesses. With the collaboration of a professional staff, we’re correcting long-standing problems and addressing concerns before they become problems, for individual neighborhoods or the county as a whole.
We’ve had spirited discussions and given considerable thought to how we can govern better — and the community is already reaping the benefits.
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For example, when staff alerted us about problems with the county’s Broad River wastewater treatment plant, we acted quickly to approve the necessary funding to upgrade the facility, averting what could have been a major problem. And when two storms threatened our state this year, the county responded proactively in areas prone to flooding, based on lessons we learned in last year’s floods. We’ve also implemented measures to ensure contracts are processed properly, and we’ve set a schedule to update more magistrate facilities.
The county also is forging stronger relationships with Columbia and other municipalities within our borders to share resources and ideas. After all, Richland County is a vibrant, diverse community that faces a growing population of young adults on one end and older residents on the other, each demanding different services. We must be ready. That is why the county also is:
▪ Implementing long-term planning and fiscal discipline by moving to a two-year budget cycle.
▪ Ensuring that state-mandated functions over which we have no administrative authority still are supported and funded properly, in order to serve our citizens.
▪ Making sure our wastewater treatment operations can meet current and future customer demands while protecting the environment.
The 11 members of County Council won’t always agree on every issue, priority or solution. But we are united in this: We want Richland County government to be an organization of integrity. We’re taking steps in the right direction, with priority-setting sessions, workshops on budgeting and more. We’re also preparing to start a new chapter in January with four new members who weren’t here a year ago.
While the new course we’re charting will have its share of detours and roadblocks, I remain extremely hopeful the destination will be well worth the trip for all of us who call Richland County home.
Richland County Council Chairman