Details of $60M bond referendum to become public Wednesday

Posted July 14, 2014 10:02 pm | Filed under Featured, Local News

This week, the details of a $60 million bond referendum that could come before York County voters this November will become public.

York County Council will discuss the referendum plans Wednesday in a public workshop that will likely glean attention from the City of Rock Hill, local law enforcement and the voting public.

In June, county council passed the first reading of an ordinance that, would put the measure before voters on the November ballot. All York County ordinances must go before council for three “readings,” including at least one public hearing.

Most notably, the plan includes vague details on the county’s intention to build an Eastern York County Government Center near the Riverwalk development on the north end of Cherry Road.

That plan has received harsh criticism following published media reports after the council’s Jule 16 decision, York County Council chairman Britt Blackwell said. Those reports described the facility as solely a jail.

“It would be beautiful, it would be complementary, it would be stately,” Blackwell said. “People cannot see past that four-letter word… The damage done by the word ‘jail’ is so much to overcome.”

The government center would also house additional courtroom space, some county offices and possibly the headquarters for the York County Economic Development Board, Blackwell said.

York County councilman William “Bump” Roddey has yet to decide on whether the county should build on land in Rock Hill. He said he plans to wait for county staff’s full recommendations Wednesday before casting judgment on the project.

“We definitely want to make sure the public fully knows and is aware of what’s going on so they can make an informed decision,” Roddey said. While the Riverwalk property has been publicly named as on possibility for site, Roddey believes there are alternate sites — like across the Catawba River in Fort Mill — that may work as well.

“It’s not a done deal right now,” Roddey said. “But we’ve taken the necessary steps right now to be able to offer [the ballot measure] come November.”

York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant and 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett have been vocal supporters of a plan to increase courtroom space in York County. Bryant says his deputies and other agencies’ officers waste too much time taking prisoners to the Moss Justice Center in York. Time, Bryant said, that could be better spent protecting the citizens of York County.

“We’re tying up manpower in prisoner transport,” Bryant said, adding that an officer who makes an arrest in Lake Wylie may spend up to three hours driving and booking that prisoner into the York County Detention Center.

Wednesday’s meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in York County’s Heckle Blvd. office complex.