Some of the biggest decisions impacting Lake Wylie come from volunteers. York County named several more Sept. 19.
Council approved three Lake Wylie residents to groups focusing on the lake, fire protection and hospitality tax spending. Ellen Goff is the newest Lake Wylie Marine Commission member. Ed Lindsey will serve on the Bethel Fire Tax District board, and Winston Martinez on the Hospitality Tax Advisory Committee.
Lindsey filled an unexpired term on the fire tax board starting in July. His new term is for four years.
“They asked me to stay on, and I said yes,” Lindsey said.
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Lindsey returns at a busy time for the fire tax board, which determines how money generated by a special tax district in Lake Wylie funds fire service. The board advertised a fire chief job Sept. 16 at sconfire.com/south-carolina-employment/, with applications accepted through Sept. 30. The position will pay $50,000 to $60,000 per year. The board expects to name a chief in November.
The hiring of chief has been a contentious issue. Many Bethel Volunteer Fire Department members say their long-time method of electing a volunteer chief from their membership is good enough, and at a cost savings for taxpayers. The tax board sees a growing area in need of more paid staff and consistency to lead.
Lindsey said the issue of a new chief and related decisions are important.
“We’re working through all of that,” he said. “We’re working with the volunteers.”
The past Lake Wylie Rotary Club president is a volunteer at heart, including work prepping taxes for seniors. With family who served in fire service elsewhere, he sees it as a good fit.
“Any way I can serve the community,” Lindsey said, “and the fire board was one of the first ones that opened up.”
Another long-time volunteer, and one with vast experience heading into her new role, is Goff. She is a board member with the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation and for many years served as Lake Wylie Lakekeeper, leader of the local water watchdog group through the larger foundation. In those roles she often worked with the marine commission, from providing monthly water testing or construction site inspection reports to organizing Riversweep.
“It certainly is an advantage to have the history and the experience of working together,” Goff said. “The lake really requires a cooperative effort.”
The commission also has plenty going on, with recent issues from coal ash deposits near the lake to water quality improvements at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. The commission hears requests for no wake zones, waterfront development proposals and related issues.
Goff replaces Ed Hull, commission vice chairman. The marine commission has three members from each of the three counties surrounding the lake.
Neil Brennan of Gaston County sees his term expire at the end of the month. He is eligible for a second term.
Goff said water quality, stewardship and education remain top concerns, but also issues more specific to the commission than the Riverkeeper Foundation, like water safety.
“I’m delighted the county has chosen me to represent their interests in dealing with the lake matters that come before it,” she said.
Martinez will replace former York County Councilman Tom Smith on the hospitality tax committee. The 11-member committee oversees the 2 percent charge on food and drink in unincorporated areas of the county like Lake Wylie. Lake Wylie restaurants are a major contributor countywide. The group, and then Council as a whole, approved $1 million for the water park at the aquatic center on Charlotte Highway opening next month. Another $2.45 million could come to Lake Wylie for a sports field complex on Crowders Creek, if voters approve a new special tax district in November.
John Marks: 803-831-8166