NEWBERRY — Newberry County Council promised at its meeting last Wednesday to look into inclement weather plans and make sure farmers and small businesses in the county have the services they need should we have another severe weather event like Winter Storm Pax.
During public comment time, residents asked about road clearing practices, particularly as related to poultry businesses so feed trucks could reach farms.
Turkey farmer Larry Dehart said there have been issues in Pomaria with the road washing out at Francis Road and Suber Road. He also expressed concern that feed trucks could not make deliveries in the snow and that the rigs risked flipping over due to road conditions. He pointed out motor grading equipment he noticed sitting idle on Thursday, both county and DOT equipment, when roads needed clearing.
“If we have resources (and there is need) we need to use them,” Councilman Les Hipp said. “But we need to question about the best way to facilitate where we need to use the resources.”
Hipp suggested the county talk with the sheriff’s office to see where problem areas are.
Chairman Buddy Livingston and Councilman Scott Cain also said the county needs to look at the issue and develop a plan to help out agribusiness in the future if there is inclement weather.
The Pomaria and Little Mountain rescue squads pitched in to clear roads of debris.
“It’s been about 10 years since we had to get out with four-wheel drive vehicles and use chainsaws to clear roadways,” said Newberry County Emergency Road Services Coordinator Tommy Long.
In other business, the Central SC Alliance gave an update to the county and summed up a 20-year partnership with Newberry County and other contiguous counties in the region to attract jobs from sites worldwide.
In the past 14 months the alliance made four trips to Europe, two trips to the west coast and traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with congressmen and senators. Scott Cain accompanied the alliance representatives to D.C.
Central SC Alliance CEO Mike Briggs reminded council how the alliance allows the counties to reach more potential vendors and businesses than they could do so alone. Ten counties, the city of Columbia and around 120 private sector investors make up the alliance.
The area includes about 1 million people, and has an estimated workforce of half a million.
Newberry County was a founding member of the alliance in 1994, and during that time a projected $336 million and 3,500 jobs have been created thanks to the partnership.
The alliance submitted 140 project applications on behalf of the county and currently seven active projects are under consideration which could benefit the county.
Re-shoring, including bringing outsourced jobs back to the United States and recruiting new firms to move to the United States, due to the safety of investing in this country’s market, is another goal of the alliance.
Briggs said infrastructure and product development are two focal points of the alliance and he believes as a region this area is must stronger than if the groups would work individually.
Council announces events
Councilman Les Hipp, chairman of the economic development committee, gave an economic development update in lieu of County Director of Economic Development Teresa Powers who was representing the county at an automotive industry function.
Hipp said the spec building is nearing completion with a March date for it to be ready to market.
He said the spec building in the Mid-Carolina Industrial Park on Highway 773 continues to be aggressively marketed, as does the mega-industrial site.
The Newberry Career Center, Newberry County Economic Development and Piedmont Technical College are partnering for a March 5 Newberry Workforce Opportunity Summit from 8 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. at PTC.
Emphasis is on ways to develop home grown talent to be the workforce of tomorrow.
Industry appreciation event has been tentatively set for April 10. Hipp said the economic ambassador to Newberry will be announced there.