BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
UPPER SAVANNAH COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS
SUITE 200, THE EXCHANGE
GREENWOOD, SOUTH CAROLINA
MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2010
MEMBERS PRESENT: Welborn Adams, Diane Anderson, Willie Bright, Robert Douglas Butler, John
Carter, Edith Childs, Jim Coleman, King Dixon, Rhett Dominick, Ken Durham, Charlie Henry, Hardee
Horne, Charles Jennings, Monroe Kneece, Willie Neal Norman, Watson Rhodes, David Sawyer, Spencer
Sorrow, Johnny Williams.
MEMBERS ABSENT: Greg Alexander, Gonza Bryant, John Calhoun, Obie Combs, Brad Evans, Dr.
William Gilcrhrist, Shirley Jenkins, Rep. Shane Massey, Wes McAllister, Marian Miller, Senator Floyd
Nicholson, Representative Anne Parks, Willie Joe Perrin, Roy Smith Jr., Keith Tollison, Senator Danny
STAFF PRESENT: Patricia Hartung, Sam Leaman, Sandra Johnson, Vanessa Wideman, Pam Davenport,
Kathy Dickerson, Barbara Wright, Kathi Culbreath, Susu Wallace, Melissa Phillips, David Hays.
GUESTS PRESENT: Piedmont Technical College President Dr. Ray Brooks, Edgefield County
Administrator Alton Brown.
Chairman Hardee Horne called the meeting to order and minutes from the Feb. 22, 2010, meeting were
Piedmont Technical College President Dr. Ray Brooks made a presentation to the Board called “A Strategic
Plan for PTC.” He says he sees lives transformed by technical school education and that PTC’s graduates
form the backbone of the Upper Savannah region’s workforce, especially in health care. Brooks gave
overview of the school’s 2008-2009 Annual Report, which provides breakdowns of the age of students, their
county of residency, semester head counts of full-time and part-time students, etc., and strategic directions
and goals for the coming years. Brooks said he wants the school to relentlessly pursue success for its
students. He said PTC will be renovating and moving into a new facility in McCormick County, and will be
developing a new campus master plan in Greenwood. He said the school presently has an all-time record
enrollment and expects the student population to continue to grow due to the pursuit of fulfilling careers.
Aging staff gave report on Area Agency on Aging activities. Aging Director Vanessa Wideman focused on
one of the newer programs, Minor Home Repair. She said the program typically provides $500 to $1,500 for
home modifications to help low-income seniors remain in their homes, including ramps, hand rails,
bathroom grab bars, and expanded doorways for wheelchair access. She said the AAA is pushing home and
community-based services with consumer choice. She also talked about the Legal Assistance Program,
which helps provide seniors with legal fees for issues such as wills, powers of attorney, guardianship and
public benefits. Wideman told the Board that the Upper Savannah AAA will begin marketing itself as an
Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC). The ADRC is a collaborative effort of the Administration
on Aging (AoA) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and is designed to streamline access to
long-term care services and support for consumers of all ages, incomes and disabilities, and their families.
Regional State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) Director Kathy Dickerson gave the Board new
information about federal health care reform and how it will affect Medicare. She said pre-existing
conditions will no longer adversely affect one’s ability to acquire health insurance and that young adults will
be able to stay under their parents’ health insurance until the age of 26. She said Medicare preventative care
co-payments and deductibles will soon not be required under the health care reform. Medicare patients will
be able to choose their own primary doctors, she said. The Medicare gap, or doughnut hole, will be eased
with quarterly $250 rebate checks. Pharmaceutical companies will be required to offer brand-name
discounts of 50 percent or more for seniors who enter the doughnut hole, she said. Beginning in 2011, the
Medicare Prescription Drug program registration period will be moved from Nov. 15-Dec. 31 to Oct. 1 –
Dec. 1, and will be effective Jan. 1 of the following year. She updated the Board on extra-help programs to
assist low-income seniors with their prescription drug purchases. The income qualifications for extra help
are $16,245 and below annually for a single person and $21,855 and below per couple. She said the free
medical exams for new Medicare recipients will no longer require co-payments and deductibles due to
health care reform. She said a major focus of health care reform is to eliminate Medicare fraud and abuse,
concentrating on durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs and scooters, and diabetes supplies. She
said Medicare recipients need to watch for fraudulent claims such as getting billed for more than they
needed or received, costing taxpayer money.
Workforce Development Administrator Sandra Johnson updated Board members about the 14th Upper
Savannah Regional Job Fair to be held Wednesday at Greenwood Mall. Sixty-four employers who are hiring
or will be hiring in the next four months have signed up for the Job Fair. Other job fairs in the state have
been canceled due to lack of available jobs, she said. She said jobs available range from registered nurses and
engineers to entry-level positions. She said the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)
will be providing H1N1 flu shots at the fair. She also said workshops will also be available for job seekers.
She updated the Board on changes with the Employment Security Commission, which was made into a
state government cabinet level agency. The new name will be the South Carolina Department of
Employment and Workforce (DEW). The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) will also be moved from the
S.C. Department of Commerce to DEW. Johnson said she is looking forward to opportunities to strengthen
the workforce development system.
Community Development Coordinator Pam Davenport updated the Board on Community Development
Block Grant (CDBG) applications recently submitted to the State. She said “ready to go” applications, for
projects that are ready to bid out upon grant award, are a City of Greenwood water upgrade and a City of
Laurens Mill Village water upgrade. The Town of Ridge Spring is considering a sewer upgrade application.
In the competitive water and sewer infrastructure round, Davenport said the COG recently submitted
applications for City of Clinton Lydia Mill Phase II water upgrade, Laurens County Tractor Road water line
for area approximately five miles west of Gray Court, Town of Ninety Six Mill Village water upgrade, Town
of Edgefield sewer upgrade, Greenwood County Phase III sewer upgrade in Seaboard Avenue area of the
City of Greenwood, and Town of Saluda Phase II sewer upgrade. Grant award announcements will be made
around July, she said.
Assistant Director Sam Leaman informed the Board that the COG’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) is meeting
its Economic Development Administration (EDA) requirements in cost per job and private sector
leveraging. The RLF is required by EDA to leverage $2 in investment for every $1 in RLF funding and
Upper Savannah’s RLF is leveraging $7.41 per dollar. The cost per job ratio requirement is one job for every
$10,000 loaned, and Upper Savannah’s RLF loans are creating one job per every $6,557.70 loaned. Board
member Jim Coleman made the motion that the Upper Savannah RLF was meeting its requirements and
Charles Jennings seconded the motion. The certification was passed unanimously.
Executive Director Patricia Hartung gave the director’s report. She provided the Board with a map showing
air quality non-attainment areas in South Carolina, which included four of the Upper Savannah counties.
She reported that all S.C. COGs have been briefed on this subject and that we will be discussing this at a
future meeting with the Air Quality Bureau Chief.
Hartung reported on energy grants that were recently awarded. The South Carolina Energy Office was
allocated $760,267 in stimulus funds for local government projects in the Upper Savannah region. Cities,
towns and counties could apply for this money to update lighting fixtures, purchase rooms sensors to
improve energy efficiency, or modernized HVAC operations in government facilities. Due to the diligent
work of the COG and the state energy office, an extra $94,080 was awarded in the region bringing the total
to $854,347 in grant awards. Nine were awarded in the region, including the cities of Clinton, Greenwood
and Laurens, towns of Ware Shoals and Ninety Six, and Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens and McCormick
Hartung’s next topic was SCDOT Mass Transit funding and she discussed mass transit allocations for FY
2010-2011 that included the Edgefield and McCormick senior centers, Senior Options in Laurens, Piedmont
Agency on Aging, Burton Center and the Laurens County Disabilities and Special Needs. She said any
funding requests must come through Upper Savannah COG or they will only be considered for alternative
funding. Hartung said USCOG was considering e-mailing its Region Review newsletter in PDF format
rather than mailing it out, saving the COG paper and postage costs. She polled Board members about their
e-mail accessibility and said Upper Savannah would mail a hard copy of the Review for anyone who
Hartung said that at a recent SCARC Board meeting, members discussed ways to engage their Board
members. As a result, Hartung said she will consider allowing USCOG Board members to make brief
reports of positive happenings in their counties during meetings.
Hartung updated the Board on Upper Savannah COG’s building project. She said the COG is slowing
down its building program to look into a funding opportunity with the RDA’s Community Facilities Loan
Program. Senator Lindsey Graham is including a special provision asking for the ability to borrow from the
program, which offers attractive terms and interest rates. She said the appropriations bill won’t likely be
approved until late fall. The COG, however, has selected an architect.
Being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:50 p.m.
Patricia C. Hartung