Less than a half dozen residents came out Oct. 13 to learn more about the York County Facilities Bond Referendum voters will decide on Nov. 3.
County voters will be asked to approve $89.7 million in bond money for new buildings or renovations for the York County Sheriff’s Office, magistrates in Fort Mill and Clover, family court and public works items.
Kevin Brackett, 16th Circuit Solicitor, and councilmen Bruce Henderson and Chad Williams fielded questions during Brackett’s presentation at Oakridge Middle School.
“A sizable portion focuses on the courthouses,” Brackett said. “We needed this 10 years ago for the courts.”
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Brackett said the court offices are crowded and have no space to grow and the county’s population doubled in size in the past 20 years. He has to rent more office space at about $40,000 a year about a mile away from the main office, he said.
“Right now, I’m at the tipping point to meet demand,” he said of his offices. “If I can’t hire more, we’re not going to keep up.”
He said residents are invited to an open house 2-4 p.m. Oct. 18 at Moss Justice Center and Family Courts to see the facilities.
Brackett explained, for example, family court has a double-wide trailer attached to the building.
“Courts should command respect,” he said.
And, the recycling business should be “a money-making venture” by upgrading facilities.
Safety improvements is another concern as the county has doubled in size since Moss Justice Center was planned and opened in 1993.
“There will be security fixes and a host of other problems rectified,” he said.
Ray Williams of Lake Wylie asked, “Why do we have to move to a police state state today with more security?”
Brackett explained the need for improvements, citing an example that happened earlier that day when a York man who was in bond court on a charge of domestic violence allegedly threatened two prosecutors in court and lunged at them.
“People are getting worse,” he said of his 25-year career. “I live it every day, and I want to be safe and go home to my family.”
If approved, York County would raise taxes to pay back the debt. The increase on an average $100,000 home would be $2.30 monthly and $3.46 for non-owner homes and commercial properties.
Brackett said this doesn’t count the projected 12,000 new homes in York County in the next five years.
“The more houses, the lower overall obligation,” he said.
If voters approve the bond, Brackett said all projects will start at the same time.”
Williams, who with wife Mary is reviving the Lake Wylie Civic Association, asked what’s in it for Lake Wylie residents.
“You ask us to support this, to fund other parts of the county, but we can’t get fair treatment,” he said, referring to the overlay district and park plan. “I don’t get it guys.”
Brackett said the bond is needed for the foundation of the county and public safety.
“This is stuff happening in the community,” he said.
Kim Trainer of Lake Wylie and one of the leaders in the York County Sports Complex plan agreed the county needs to look at supporting all parts of the county, including Lake Wylie. But, she said, this bond “is well overdue.”
“We were hoping Lake Wylie could benefit a little more, but this is firmly needed,” she said.
Sue Mainhart of Lake Wylie and a Realtor for Re/Max also supports the bond.
“I think it will benefit the whole county,” she said. “It’s necessary.”
Catherine Muccigrosso: 803-831-8166, @LakeWyliePilot
The four areas for improvement as part of the York County Facilities Bond Referendum are:
▪ Moss Justice Center expansion, $38.5 million
▪ Government center offices upgrades (Heckle Boulevard), $26.3 million
▪ Public works expansion, including a new recycling center and other upgrades, $22.3 million
▪ Magistrate court offices in Fort Mill and Clover, $2.7 million.