JANUARY 6, 2011 2:08 p.m. (0)
Greenville County Council Chairman H.G. “Butch” Kirven and Vice Chairman Bob Taylor were re-elected to the top spots on council by acclamation during Tuesday night’s organizational meeting.
The first meeting following an election year traditionally consists of swearing in ceremonies for re-elected and newly elected council members. This year Dan Rawls took a seat on council for the first time. He replaces Judy Gilstrap who stepped down from her council seat to run for the state House.
She lost that election.
Joe Dill, District 17; Willis Meadows, District 19; Xanthene Norris, District 23; and Fred Payne, District 28, were sworn in after winning in November.
All are to serve four-year terms.
Judge Charles B. Simmons, Jr., administered the oath of office.
After the ceremonies Kirven said the council faces some thorny issues in the coming year with redistricting on tap for council seats; the two-year budget for 2011 through 2013 promises to present problems in a down economy; working on jobs and industrial recruitment along with handling the ever growing needs of infrastructure development.
Kirven said redistricting will likely come up soon in the coming year. There is talk about cutting the number of council seats from 12 to nine and making more seats at-large.
State lawmakers will be taking up the issue as soon as the Census Bureau releases their official county population figures sometime between February and March. Those figures will be the basis for drawing everything from congressional districts to local representation.
The state grew by 613,352 residents to 4,625,364, according to official Census results released in late December. Greenville County has grown by about 71,000 between 2000 and 2009 according to estimates.
As the local economy claws its way out of the recession revenues for things like building permits should start to rebound, but the issue of state funding is likely to be both a near-term and long-term problem. This year the state is expected to come up $800 to $900 million short on income.
That will likely mean more cuts in funding to counties. Just how much more those revenues will be pared back and how Greenville County will deal with it will take up a great deal of council’s time as officials prepare the bi-annual budget.
Council’s first business session of the New Year will be held at 6 p.m. on Jan. 18 in council chambers at County Square.
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