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Roddey: Council doesn't care about York Co. residents

What should York County should do about Blackmon Road, a neighborhood that has endured poor or no water or sewer services for decades?

Councilman Bump Roddey raised that question Tuesday night at the York County Council meeting in York during discussions about the county's $81.4 million budget and personnel policies.

The council voted to move forward with a change in the budget that will result in a tax cut for county taxpayers of about $5 on every $100,000 in property value. The change resulted from county staff finding more savings in expiring debts.

But before the vote, the council shot down Roddey's proposal to give $10,000 to A Place for Hope - a nonprofit organization that serves the Blackmon Road community.

"This council doesn't give a damn about York County," Roddey said. "We're going to spend more than $10,000 on an audit for the museum...but we're going to turn our backs on (A Place for Hope) and fund other organizations in the community."

The county is working out a plan to audit a foundation that supports the county's museums. County officials have said it could cost about $10,000.

A Place for Hope is one of about 20 agencies that has received annual county support. In an effort to reduce their dependency on the county, the council reduced most of those organizations' support for this year - with plans to phase it out in coming years.

But when the County Council approved its 2011-12 budget earlier this year, it did not allocate any dollars to A Place for Hope, which had asked for a $25,000 matching grant to help pay to extend water and sewer to the neighborhood where many live without it.

Later, the agency asked for $10,000 in operating support.

Tuesday night Roddey's motion failed for lack of any support from other council members.

Their reasons ranged from not thinking the money is really helping solve any of Blackmon Road's problems to wishing Roddey had given the council a heads-up.

Some said if A Place for Hope ever receives an infrastructure grant, the council might consider matching the grant, but not if they give $10,000 now.

A board member for A Place for Hope also asked the council to reconsider Tuesday night.

Roddey returned to the topic during a discussion of whether the county should continue requiring department heads to live in York County. All but Roddey supported ending the requirement.

The county faces a "dilemma" when department head positions open up. In the past, talented, trained staff are the best candidates for the positions but they can't be promoted if they live outside York County, County Manager Jim Baker said.

Roddey criticized the council for wanting to "open up our borders to people who aren't paying taxes in York County."

"They're great people, good staff members, do anything you ask of them," he said. "But my philosophy coming to council is, we need to take care of home, we need to take care of York County."

NAACP challenges redistricting plan

Two leaders of the NAACP asked the council to reject a plan to redraw the county's seven council districts.

The plan does not accurately reflect York County's minority population, argued Melvin Poole, president of the Rock Hill chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Minorities make up about 25.2 percent of the population of York County, U.S. Census data shows - up from nearly 22.8 percent in 2000.

"Your plan will worsen the position of minority voters and create barriers for voter participation," Poole said, recommending that the council add two districts, making one a minority district. That's what other growing counties have done, he said.

And with 37 percent growth in the last decade, he said, the county should add more districts and more representatives.

Federal law requires that minority districts, including York County's District 4, maintain the same percentage of minorities when redrawing district lines. The county's plan increases the minorities in district 4 by almost one percent.

The council will consider final approval of the plan when it meets Sept. 19.