About three dozen Van Wyck residents were seen but not heard in Columbia.
But they aren’t making plans to go quietly.
“We were pretty disappointed that we weren't able to be heard,” said Rosa Sansbury, one of many who made the trip to a special called state legislative committee meeting on incorporation Jan. 12.
“We learned a lot. We have come back and we're tweaking our package to make it more legislator friendly, and waiting to be called back.”
Both Van Wyck and Rembert, a community between Camden and Sumter, are past the community petition portion of their incorporation efforts. Both arrived to make their cases for becoming towns. Only Rembert got the chance.
“They decided to hear Rembert first,” Sansbury said. “They told us we're going to have to reschedule, and we'll be in touch.”
The committee is called only when incorporation cases arise, so there isn’t a set schedule for meetings. Van Wyck residents weren’t told when they could return. What they did get is a front row seat at the process, from detailed questioning from the governor’s office to concerns brought up by legislators.
“It was a good experience to see the depth of their questions,” Sansbury said. “It's very serious, and they want to make sure the taxpayers are not overburdened. It’s really to protect the individual homeowners.”
Which is the whole idea behind Van Wyck incorporating.
The idea and following petition arose when residents there learned they were part of a larger incorporation effort by Indian Land residents. Van Wyck residents didn’t want to be part of a new Indian Land, so they raced their neighbors to the state level.
“We're looking strictly for protection, and to keep the lifestyle we have now,” Sansbury said. “We hope to beat them there.”
The Indian Land group recently announced they gained enough signatures to submit and incorporation proposal to the state. As neighbors in Van Wyck are learning, there is plenty to the process before bringing incorporation to a public referendum. Detailed budget presentations and outlines for public services offered are needed.
Neither Indian Land nor Van Wyck has a date yet for when they can make the case for incorporation to the legislative committee. Sansbury is hopeful Van Wyck will get to go first, given how much further along they are. Neither community has a date set for a public referendum.