Laurens County Council last week moved along two industries, accepted a grant for more than $100,000, and set a framework for redistricting itself during its first of two regular meetings in January.

The council gave final reading approval to an ordinance authorizing the fee for Shamrock Technologies, locating in The Connexial Center, I-385 near Gray Court, investing $19.4 million and employing 18 people, and gave second reading approval to the fee for Project Mikro, a $15 million investment employing 92 people at the former Shaw Lumber/Anderson Hardwoods plant on Torrington Road, Clinton - final reading will be at the first meeting in February (the company has not yet been named).

The Laurens County Sheriff’s Office received a $101,343 grant for a School Resource Officer for the Ware Shoals school in western Laurens County. The money covers salary and benefits, vehicle and equipment for 3 years. The grant also includes a provision for training for all SROs in Laurens County schools, the council was told.

Council appointed its attorney, Sandy Cruickchanks, as liaison with a state agency that will assist with reapportionment of council seats. District 1 in Fountain Inn needs the most adjustment - based on the 2020 Census - because it has gained the most population. Laws require that the council maintain a racial balance (proportionate to its population), but these matters no longer have to go to the U.S. Justice Department for pre-approval.

Dealing with his fourth reapportionment at the county level, Cruickshanks said public meetings will be required in Gray Court, Clinton-Joanna, and Laurens.

The Laurens meeting likely will be in Council Chambers, the Historic Courthouse in Downtown Laurens. Tuesdays and/or Thursdays are the most likely days. The meetings must be announced in paid advertisements in local media.

The council’s longest serving member, Diane Anderson, expressed concerns about population plus-minus in individual districts, racial representation, and the overall population number listed for Laurens County.

Cruickshanks said he agrees the number seems low, but he doubted it would be adjusted at this late date. Reapportionment needs to be completed in March, for primary elections to go forward on schedule.

State House and Senate seats, and the U.S. Congress also are undergoing reapportionment.

One person will be authorized from each county to travel to Columbia to work with mappers; others interested in the mapping - Anderson said she is definitely interested - can meet by Zoom with the mappers.

Council accepted the donation of 6.5 acres adjoining Bolt Drive from a local family.  

The land could be used to connect the Administrative Wing of Hillcrest Square to the former Winn Dixie building which will be renovated to house the Voter Registration and Veterans Affairs offices.

But, Cruickshanks said, the donated lot is “a bog” so work would have to be done to reclaim it for a road. It could be a future county project.

Cruickchanks and County Administrator Thomas Higgs will work on a donation letter, listing what would be a market value, so the family can claim a tax break for the land donation.

Council also conducted a closed session to discuss a human resources employment matter and receive a legal briefing. The next Laurens County Council meeting is Jan. 25.