By Al Dozier
Lexington County Council has canceled an agreement that goes back some 40 years to maintain roads and drainage in municipalities within the county.
That action, taken at the Dec. 6 council meeting, could pose hardships on municipalities that do not have the resources to address problems Lexington County has always handled.
Officials in Cayce and West Columbia have expressed serious concerns about the cancellation.
In Irmo, it’s uncertain what lies ahead, according to Town Administrator Courtney Dennis.
“I don’t see that it will have any impact,” he said. “A new agreement could be reached.”
The cancellation of an agreement that was first adopted in 1978 was approved by a majority vote at the Dec. 6 council meeting but was harshly criticized by Councilman Todd Cullum during the meeting. Cullum said the municipalities deserved the road maintenance assistance because they pay taxes for such services.
He called the action an “extortion.”
Cayce Mayor Elise Partin issued the following statement on the cancellation.
“I am disappointed that this was not handled collegially from the outset. It is very concerning for the taxpayers of Cayce. Cayce citizens pay taxes to the county for maintenance of roads, so it’s not fair to them for the county to abdicate that duty in any form, or any other responsibility they have. This is not a task the City can take on because we do not collect taxes for road maintenance. The county does. I would also note that this is not development or business friendly and if growth is the real concern, there are other ways to address that than by penalizing the municipalities that have been doing this properly and wisely, like Cayce has.”
In a letter sent to municipalities, Lexington County states the council intends to terminate the 1978 agreement regarding Lexington County maintaining the roads and drainage for future subdivisions within municipal boundaries. The letter further states that “Lexington County intends to discuss developing a new agreement” with municipalities. But in that agreement, the county reserves the right to accept or deny requests for road maintenance.
Dennis said he expects to have further communications with Lexington County officials on what lies ahead for Irmo.