Tuesday, August 30, 2011


In case you didn't make it to the BC Council "Special" meeting last Monday night, we thought we would give you an update. We won't bore you with a blow by blow; we'll give just the highlights in the form of a few exchanges.

1. Councilman Steve Davis pointed out (from the DEHEC Fact Sheet) that according to the new permit requirements, only 25% of the outfalls are required to be tested within the first 18 months. He pointed out that, "if you are only required to test 25% as opposed to 100%, that has to reflect a cost reduction right there". (An outfall is any place where water runs off of any area and into a 'receiving body of water'. It can range in size from a slue that drains your lawn to a 6 foot drainage pipe.)
Response. Weelll. You have to remember that the boundaries are that of the watersheds. (?)

2. Councilman Callanan: "I find this to be a complete waste of money Federal mandate. All I care about is that we meet the absolute bare minimum standards. I don't want an exceptional program. I just want to meet the standards. What does DEHEC look at (to determine) the standards?"
Answer: "Weelll, we haven't even mapped the outfalls yet. Say we test 25%. Then DEHEC goes out and tests and finds that an outfall is impaired. Guess what? We're non-compliant." (?)

3. Councilman Davis: "You already have folks from Roads and Bridges out there digging ditches, can't they dip out a water sample at the same time."
Answer: "No. There are ways of digging ditches and ways of taking water samples and they're not the same thing."

4. Councilman Davis: "How are you going to put a fee on the animals that are putting illicit discharges into the run-off?"
Answer: -------------------------------

5. Councilman Davis: "Is it not true, because of existing BC Ordinances, that BC employees already address most of the requirements of the SWMP?
Answer: "I don't know anything about that document you're looking at." (DEHEC Fact Sheet)

6. Mr. Callanan: (After a long explanation as to why the start-up requirements would need the $1.4 Million) "So, this program seems to be front loaded with expenses. After the first year which includes the start-up costs, we won't need the entire amount in the out years?"
Mr. Carson: "No, that's not what I'm saying. We'll need the entire amount for several years."

7. Statement of BC "Expert": "One big problem is that BC is causing pollution of the Cooper River."
Councilman Davis: "What kind of pollution are we talking about here?"
"Expert": "We won't know 'that' until we do the testing."
Mr. Davis: (in exasperation) "Then how do we know BC's doing it?"

8. After an hour and a half of this stupidity, Councilman Callanan said, "I've been sitting here thanking God we are holding this meeting in a one story building because I have a strong impulse to jump out of a window."

9. One member of the "presentation team" was a lawyer who was touted as being an expert on SWMP. She explained that the EPA had concluded that the majority of illicit discharge was generated by urban development. EPA, and in turn DEHEC, has imposed these requirements to encourage local governments to deter development that could negatively impact water quality . She stated emphatically that the program "didn't make any sense and may never work" because entities bound under a permit have no control over unmanaged or adjoining entities. "The fact is that it doesn't make any sense and it never will". Needless to say, this lady was unceremoniously cut off, never to be heard from again.

10. Mr. Schurlknight asked Mr. Carson to provide the itemized expenses for this program for the first physical year.

At a later point in the conversation, Mr. Davis let it slip that some of the funds generated "could be used for Capital Improvements" which may forward the goals of the SWMP. Ooopps.


1. The SWMP is basically unworkable, makes no sense, and probably never will.

2. The main areas of concern in our bodies of water are dissolved oxygen deficiency and fecal chloroform. One of the main culprits in producing dissolved oxygen deficiency is the presence of natural vegetation. The main culprit in the fecal chloroform issue (99.9999% of the time) is the presence of wildlife in the area.

3. An "expert" contractor who stands to benefit a boatload of money from this program was a member of the "presentation team" tasked with convincing County Council that this mess is a great idea and necessary.

4. People who live in the non-regulated incorporated areas like Bonneau, Jamestown and St Stephens will not be subject to the new fee unless they agree to pay it. But, Mr. Carson suggested that Council may have some leverage with these areas by saying, "don't expect us to maintain your roads or drainage or something like that. There are ways to encourage (compliance)".

5. No matter how many intelligent arguments are put forward by County Council, Dan Davis is going to impose this new $1.4 MILLION tax, come hell or high water.

On the off chance that you are having difficulty understanding the new program, please allow us to clarify:

The EPA issued a NPDES through DEHEC to BC. As a result, BC has been designated to be a TMDL with SMS4s adjoining which requires BC to adopt a SWMP that uses BMP and BPJ. This is based on the CDP and will, conceivably, require the addition of a CEPSCI. The CFR, also, requires a COC. BC must send in an annual DMR complying with the ELG, issued by DEHEC. The proof of an ERP is, also, mandatory. In addition, BC must develop a LCP which must include an IDDE and a MCM to the MEP. In preparation, a NOI to request the MSGP is compulsory, and must include the PIS and the POC. The ultimate goal is for the WQS to remain within the WQBEL, complying with our WLA, by establishing WQMSs. The result is a TPOHS.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


The list of attempted justifications for a new SWMP FEE has proven to be as changeable as our low country weather. Each time one of the supporting statements made by one of Mr. Davis' administration is proven untrue, these folks miraculously come up with yet another. One would think that embarrassment alone would deter any further changes in tack. Apparently not.

When this issue first reared its ugly head several weeks ago, GE&P's first reaction was that "somebody's not telling us the truth". As the situation has developed, we are forced to consider an additional possibility, namely, many of the County employees tasked with getting this fee into place (come hell or high water) have not fully educated themselves as to the facts.

Early on, GE&P called for a fact-finding meeting with the Engineering Department. Our group was given many "facts" at that time that, upon investigation, turned out to be erroneous.

ALLEGED: BC is in danger of being fined for non-compliance with the SWMP.

TRUTH: As it turns out, we are in full compliance as we are operating under an extension of the old permit while the new one is being finalized. (Letters Dan Davis/Ann Clark, DEHEC dated 1/4/11, 1/12/11. and 1/14/11)

ALLEGED: The list of requirements contained in the new permit is extensive.

TRUTH: According to documents from DEHEC, Columbia, there are exactly 6 new requirements included in the new permit. 2 concern public education and involvement, 3 concern activities already being addressed by departments of BC government under existing BC Ordinances , and 1 concerns assurance to DEHEC that BC government, itself, is following the Rules.

ALEGED: The new requirements will impose a new heavy workload on BC.

TRUTH: BC already has Ordinances in place which address almost all of the requirements of the SWMP. Please consult BC Codes ( not limited to) Chapter 11, Article III, Chapter 26- Division 4- 26-61, Chapter 47, and Chapter 59.

ALLEGED: The SWMP would not require any additional employees.

TRUTH: NOW, it is contended that the program will require an additional engineer.

ALLEGED: Many BC employees involved in this issue will require extensive new training.

TRUTH: Being as these employees are already overseeing most of the issues connected to the requirements of the SWMP under BC Ordinance, they have been receiving regular required training.

ALEGED: Any training needed is VERY expensive.

TRUTH: BC employees now receive any needed training from the SC Institute of Governments at USC at a cost of $90 a course of study.

ALLEGED: BC is required to compile special expensive ariel photograph maps to comply with the requirements.

TRUTH: Under IDDE, ".......and, if possible, GPS and photograph."

ALLEGED: Additional funds will be required to pay for the man-hours required for compliance.

TRUTH: SWMP requirements parallel existing BC Ordinances. Compliance is already part of the job descriptions of existing employees.

This issue contains so many elements that it is very easy to get your eye off the ball. We must all endeavor to avoid allowing the superfluous components to cloud the main point which is, the new fee is not necessary. BC has salaried employees who are addressing the main issues of the SWMP at this time. The additional requirement is that BC sends an annual report of all the pertinent activities to DEHEC.

There is one additional fact that demands a mention. Under existing BC Ordinances, contractors must conform to an extensive list of requirements when they initiate a new project. Each step of this process requires a permit fee. The total sum of these fees is sizable. Also, following BC Ordinances, many of the fees cover elements included, in turn, in the SWMP. So, as we can clearly see, these elements of the SWMP impose no additional financial burden on BC government.

BC government has several Departments and Divisions of Departments that have historically addressed many of the issues involved with the SWMP: BCW&SA, Planning, Engineering, Flood Plans Review, Roads & Bridges, and Code Enforcement, to name a few. After reviewing official government documents and connecting the obvious dots, it is abundantly clear that Mr. Davis' ultimate plan is to transfer, from the General Fund and onto a new source of revenue, as much of the expense as possible that is involved in operating these Departments . Evidence that our conclusion is right on the mark is demonstrated in the administration's "Projected Cost Table". When the cost of the projected work is compared to the requirements of existing BC Ordinances, it is clear that these expenditures are being double billed or, at the very least, padded.

GE&P would encourage everyone to attend the SWMP Workshop on Monday evening, 8/29/11, at 6PM at the Supervisor's conference room. Being as Mr. Davis is so committed to compliance with the DEHEC mandate and that 1/3 of the new permit requirements are devoted to Public Education and Input, we are certain he will welcome your questions and comments. Ya think?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Since our last post, GE&P, and others, have done an immense amount of research and acquired a voluminous stack of documents on the new Storm Water Management Program fee. Today we would like to impart to the taxpayers of BC new and sometimes corrected information on the subject. So, fasten your seat belts because you're in for a bumpy ride. We will endeavor to include enough information for you to understand the issue without causing you to doze off from boredom. Believe us, most of the documents involved would not qualify for the best seller list.

First, despite the clumsy wording of the SC State Statute, the SWMP IS mandated by the State to, supposedly, assure that local governments adhere to the Clean Water Act. When you read the original Act, or the directives from SC DEHEC for that matter, you immediately notice how vague and nebulous the wording is. It's all Greeny "pie in the sky" prose. Wouldn't it be "lo-ver-ly". But, let's start at the beginning.

The ultimate goal of the Clean Water Act is to have "all waters of the US 'swimmable and fishable' ". Sounds good. But, when we get down to the fine print in the mandate from the Feds to the State and from the State to the local government, the particulars of the Rules and Requirements are quite murky. It reads like they're making it up as they go along, which they are. Many portions seem left to interpretation. Many portions are so convoluted with bureaucratic BS that they cause headaches.

The most important element is for us to get a full understanding of exactly how insidious this overall "Plan" really is. This plan is a clear example of the Feds' intrusion into State government and, following, the State's intrusion into local government. The plan encourages yet another expansion of an already bloated government system, providing a plausible excuse for local governments to increase taxes. It, also, provides an open door to the possibility, or probability, of the misappropriation of public funds. As we all know, at this time, we have no control over changing the base issue but we can address and, possible correct, the latter issues. So, let's get to these issues that concern us at the moment.

Under the SWMP, the counties and municipalities are, generally, required to reduce existing (and potential) pollution and flooding created from the runoff of storm water and to eliminate the possible dumping into the environment of hazardous substances by existing (and future) industry. Among the specific requirements are, but not limited to, overseeing construction projects to assure that drainage systems are adequate and properly installed; monitoring post construction to assure that these systems are working properly; assuring that these systems are maintained properly; testing water sources to assure waters meet EPA standards; educating the public as to the necessity for the "program"; and sending detailed reports to "the powers that be" on all such activities of the entity involved.

We will all agree that most of the goals itemized by the SWMP are not only laudable but necessary. There's only one hitch to organizing this "NEW" program. The counties and municipalities of SC ALREADY HAVE BUILDING CODES AND ZONING LAWS THAT ADDRESS ALL OF THE IMPORTANT ISSUES INVOLVED. Documents we obtained from SC DEHEC state this to be a fact. This leaves BC with two "administrative" projects to be completed in order to remain in compliance with the mandate; organizing some sort of effort to "educate the public" (brainwash the public) into accepting the necessity for this "new" program and compiling and sending in the "annual reports" to the Feds on every applicable element of our county business.

GE&P is in possession of letters from Dan Davis to Ann Clark, DEHEC Columbia, and from Ms. Clark to Dan Davis, which firmly establish that BC is in complete compliance with the permit we have been operating under for the last 5 years. Also, BC has successfully obtained an extension of that permit which will protect the County from any fines until the new 5 year permit is complete. REPEAT: BC IS IN COMPLETE COMPLIANCE WITH THE MANDATE.

DEHEC recommends that the entity involved, county or municipality, should create a Storm Water Management Program "department". They recommend hiring people to staff this new department. They recommend passing an Ordinance that imposes a "fee" to finance this new department. Do we all recognize the "expansion of government and increase in taxes" referred to earlier? We, the taxpayers, are being "told" we have to accept increased taxes (the fee) to support the organization of a new department to conduct business that, on the whole, is already being done by BC government employees.

From the facts established from the official documents on this subject, it is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that the imposition of an additional fee to support the SWMP is unreasonable and unnecessary. Mr. Davis is being disingenuous when he insists otherwise but what's news worthy about that statement? Mr. Davis sees this situation as an opportunity to collect additional revenue under the guise of complying with a Federal mandate. Could all this have anything to do with Mr. Davis' pet Sheep Island Project? Just asking. After all, he IS a bit short on funding there.

In support of GE&P's contention that the whole "Plan" is a bit more than questionable, allow us to provide some direct quotes from an inner office document from DEHEC:

1. "Establish a "SWMP Manual which can be amended without having to go to Council".

2. "When you collect a bunch of data, know how you're going to use it".

3. "Zoning and building codes (already) include a lot of the components needed to comply with Stormwater management permit requirements".

4. "Develop joint workshop with neighboring MS4s to encourage consistency and cohesion".

5. "Be as "Green" as possible".

6. "It is important to have a good funding source so that you may have funds to hire the staff needed to fulfill program requirements".

7. "Be flexible to allow for change".

8. "....try new things then use what works and discard what doesn't".

9. " If you have a good working relationship with the entities around your MS4 area then cooperating on the permit will save you a lot of work and money". (Reduce the fee? NOT)

10. "An educated public is involved and generally wants to do the right thing".

11. "Don't be afraid to copy what other people have found successful. Take proven ordinances and tweak them to local needs".

12. Stats from Horry County: "Average annual fee of typical gas station= $250: annual fee of typical shopping mall= $10K". (If you will notice, BC has only made public the intended fee for small individual properties with buildings. There has been no mention of the intended fee for gas stations or shopping centers or fast food places. If the final annual fee for these properties is going to be based on the amount of impervious area involved on the properties, hang on to your wallets and get ready for a $10 Big Mac.)

It is common knowledge that GE&P has a long history of being anti-Big Government. It is, also, true that Big Government entities are seldom as careless in divulging damaging information on themselves as is the case with EPA/SCDEHEC concerning this SWMP. Please ask yourselves: When you drive down I-26 and see the 70MPH speed limit, is that just a suggestion? Or is it a well defined LAW? Does the sign really mean that you can drive 90MPH if the 70MPH limit doesn't work for you? Are you allowed to "try something different"? If you buddy up with 10 additional cars and a few big rigs, is it then OK to drive 90MPH simply because "everybody's doing it"? Is it OK for this convoy to run over the County Mounty to avoid arrest?

Our analogy, admittedly, is a bunch of silliness but, upon review, so is the SWMP. If this program is on the level, wouldn't there be a set of established and well defined Rules? If the County has the responsibility of developing their own Rules, wouldn't there, at least be a set of Guidelines instead of telling the entity to "make it up as you go along"? And, why is the entity encouraged to develop a Manual that can be expanded or amended without the approval of Council?

The bottom line is simple:

1. The lion's share of the requirements of this "mandate" has historically been addressed by existing County government departments.

2. In the new permit, the County has two additional requirements that must be met: brainwashing, sorry about that, educating the public into accepting the need for the "Program" and sending in a more detailed annual report to DEHEC.

3. The majority of the information needed for the annual report is readily available from County records. BCW&SA, Engineering, Code Enforcement, and Roads and Bridges address the majority of the issues involved. All that is required here is having the existing employees collate the collected information to the report form. Over the last 5 years of the old permit, compliance with the SWMP has, according to the Finance Department, cost the County between $43,000 and $73,000 annually. The only requirement of the new permit that has not been mentioned so far in this post is that BC government has to assure DEHEC that BC government, itself, is not violating any of the DEHEC Regulations already in place to prevent pollution.

4. Of the 6 "expanded" requirements of the new permit, only 1 has to be met by the end of the first year. For others, the County has 3 years to comply. All of these requirements are administrative.

GE&P will be the first to admit that this SWMP is an imposition on BC government. It is intrusive, burdensome, and, quite frankly, a useless waste of time. It requires that unnecessarily redundant paperwork be done and it detracts County employees from other County business. BUT, for Mr. Davis to use this situation as an excuse to pad the County coffers is egregious. But, you have to admit that, on this occasion, Mr. Davis is being completely transparent. A fee (new tax) will be imposed on the taxpayers; salaries to certain existing employees will be paid with this new revenue; a dubious private contract situation will be developed (at inflated prices, of course)to perform work usually done by other employees; and then the newly created excess money can be funneled to his wasteful spending. This situation is beyond the perimeters of acceptable government behavior. Simply put, IT'S CROOKED AND CORRUPT.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


GE&P attended the "Redistricting Forum" at Council Chambers on Saturday morning. The meeting was sponsored by the Berkeley County Chapter of the South Carolina Coalition for Voters' Participation. We were greeted at the door by the President of the group, Ms. Madelin Gibson- Guy.

There were several BC elected officials in attendance, Supervisor, Dan Davis, Councilmen, Pinckney, Schurlknight, and Davis and School Board member, Moore. State Rep. Joe Jefferson was introduced as an organizer of the event. Mr. Jefferson was the first to speak and briefly explained the redistricting process and, then, went on to inform the assemblage about the new Voter ID Law. It was unfortunate that Mr. Jefferson's explanation left the audience with the impression that, according to the new Law, a birth certificate would be necessary in order for a person to vote. Understandably so, this information was very distressing to many. Thankfully, Mrs. Nancy Corbin came to the rescue and explained that simply presenting a driver's license was all that was required. Upon hearing this, the crowd seemed relieved and more comfortable with the new Law.

Several people in the audience had questions on other topics and a very interesting and lively discussion ensued. Everyone who wished to voice an opinion or ask a question was given full latitude. Ms. Gibson-Guy oversaw the meeting with grace and expertise. GE&P commends her for her efforts.

By now, you have concluded there has to be a "BUT". And, you would be correct.

GE&P asked Mr. Pinckney why he was satisfied with District 7 having a deficit of 800 citizens instead of having its full compliment of 1/8th of the total BC population as the redistricting guidelines indicate. Mr. Pinckney would not discuss his reasoning on the matter. He would only parrot the worn talking point, "The District needs equity". Well, GE&P doesn't know what that means. Mr. Pinckney said the District may even lose more people(?), if he has his way.

GE&P made every effort to explain to Mr. Pinckney that we are no longer living in the 1930s. We get our proof from the fact that Congressional District 1, which is 80% White, just elected a Black man to the House of Representatives and the State of SC just elected a female of ethnic background to our highest office. Mr. Pinckney's reply to our statement, "You're bringing politics into this discussion".

Well, Mr. Pinckney, if you will, please allow GE&P to bring a few more pertinent facts to this discussion. The Voting Rights Act and the Rules and Regulations of the DOJ are in place to assure that minorities have a "fair opportunity" to achieve elected office. When it comes to redistricting, even the VRA and the DOJ will not allow "race" to be the "only factor" supporting a proposed plan. Race can be "a factor" but not the sole reason. Judging from the results of the SC 2010 elections, race doesn't seem to be a factor at all. AND, there is no protection in any of the guidelines to assure the election of a particular political party and, certainly, no provisions to guarantee the re-election of incumbents.

Mr. Pinckney is playing a very risky game with his gerrymandered redistricting plan and, more importantly, his attitude in general. He is attempting to pitt BC citizen against BC citizen for his own benefit. GE&P is realistic enough to admit that there are racists and bigots, both Black and White, living in BC and elsewhere, BUT, Thank God, their numbers are few. We firmly believe, from what we witness on a daily basis and from the meeting Saturday, the vast majority of people of every color who live in BC are good, moral people who respect their neighbors. And more than a few of this number are sick to their very souls of the race-baiting perpetrated by politicians and "leaders" who can't seem to acknowledge that a new social reality has developed. Here in BC, we will no longer accept being referred to as "the White Community" or "the Black Community". We are the "BC Community", the "SC Community", and the "Community of the United Staes of America". PERIOD.

NOTE: It would "behove" Mr. Pinckney to do some research on the former rulings of the DOJ on this subject. Historically, there are cases where one single letter of complaint has caused a redistricting plan to be rejected.

Now, did you really think this post would conclude without a report of a conflict between GE&P and our esteemed leader, Supervisor Davis? Silly you.

A gentleman in the audience asked Supervisor Davis about the possibility of getting a waterline on Hwy. 59. Everyone on the first row almost fell off their chairs when Mr. Davis told the gentleman that water lines to the entire county were not "economically feasible". Mr. Davis made this statement knowing he had allowed a $2.4 MILLION waterline (servicing less than 10 households) to be installed on Hwy. 311 solely to secure Mr. Pinckney's supporting vote on County Council. GE&P interpreted Mr. Davis' statement as waving a red flag in the face of a raging bull. GE&P took the opportunity to briefly refer to this reckless spending.

In rebuttal, Mr. Davis pointed out that "no taxpayer dollars were spent on the Hwy. 311 waterline". Mr. Davis stated that every dollar had come from "fees" paid to BCW&SA by customers. GE&P would like to thank Mr. Davis for this clarification and we would like to pass along a detailed explanation to the taxpayers of BC.

The activities of BCW&SA are funded by Customer Fees for service and Impact Fees charged to new construction. These Impact Fees are passed along to buyers of the houses or products of these businesses. So, here it is simply put. When you pay your "taxes" to BC government, you take the money from your right pocket. When you pay your "fees" to BC government, you take the money from your left pocket.

As you can see, these are two totally different situations. We hope everyone understands. If you have any further questions, please contact Mr. Davis.

Monday, August 8, 2011


It is a crying shame that one spokesman for Charleston DEHEC is so confused. He actually thinks that this new Storm Water Management Program that Dan Davis wants to charge the Berkeley County taxpayers $1.4 MILLION to implement is really not a state issued mandate to Berkeley County. According to this misinformed state official, the only way for this DEHEC responsibility to be transferred to a County or municipality is for said County or municipality to request same. The "totally inaccurate" official account of the process is as follows:

1. The County or municipality applies to DEHEC for permission to take over this responsibility. (whatever that is)

2. DEHEC, after approval, issues a permit to the County or municipality.

3. The County or municipality pays $2000 to DEHEC for the permit.

4. DEHEC has no input or control over the County or municipal fees imposed.

5. A CASH COW is firmly tethered to the hitching post in front of the BC Administration Building.

As it seems the DEHEC office is much akin to those of the IRS and Social Security, answers to questions vary as to the person with whom you speak. Another "official" at DEHEC insists the Storm Water Management Program IS mandated by the State. So, GE&P decided to go to the horse's mouth for a definitive answer. We referred to SC Statute. Here is the applicable quote:


D. The Commission encourages the implementation of the Stormwater Management and Sediment Reduction Act on a watershed basis by local governments.

As to the financing of this program, we learned that the statute provides choices. BC can either institute a county wide annual fee, payable by every property owner in the unincorporated areas, or impose a one time fee to all new construction.


A (1) If the delegated jurisdiction has a source of funding that is provided through local revenues, then the implementation of the delegated component will not necessitate the imposition of a permit fee to cover the cost of the delegated program component.

(2) In the event that one component of an overall stormwater management and sediment control program is not funded through the use of general or special funds, a non-refundable permit fee may be collected at the time that the stormwater management and sediment control plan or application for waiver or variance is submitted or approved. The permit fee will provide for the unfunded costs of plan review, administration and management of the permitting office, construction review, maintenance inspection, and education and training.

This seems pretty simple. The County can opt to either charge a fee to the entities who are actually causing the proposed "damage" to the environment or they can just charge everybody. You might be asking,"Why in the world would the County want to charge everybody?" That wouldn't make much sense now would it? Well, think again. There is one more little insignificant part of the statute.


B. Where the Commission is the implementing agency, the Commission may assess a fee not to exceed $100.00 per disturbed acre up to a maximum of $2000.00. No fee will be charged for land disturbing activities which disturb two acres or less. A fee of $100.00 will be charged for permit modifications.

Well, looky there. When the responsibility for this "program" is transferred from the Commission (State) to the County, the same Rules and one time fee limits would apply. If the County decides to pick the "one time fee" to contractors, they would be boxed into a limited revenue situation. When there is a $2000 limit on individual fees, exactly how many new construction projects would we have to secure in one year to match the proposed overall countywide fee total of $1.4 MILLION? (In many people's opinions, there may be a lot of derogatory adjectives that rightfully apply to Dan Davis but "stupid" is not one of them. Unlike Councilman Pinckney, who seemed to have trouble with his financial disclosure forms to Ethics differentiating between $250 and $2.4 MILLION in personal benefit from a municipal project, Mr. Davis has no trouble comparing the sums involved in this situation.)

Then, another question as to who should be paying for this boondoggle comes to mind. The SC Statute seems to be pretty clear, to a non-lawyer that is.


A. The financing of a stormwater utility with a user charge system must be reasonable and equitable so that each user of the stormwater system pays to the extent to which the user contributes to the need for the stormwater system, and that the charges bear a substantial relationship to the cost of the service.

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Frank Carson told a small group of concerned taxpayers that an "interim" annual fee was going to be imposed on all property owners in the unincorporated areas. (Later, in the Berkeley Independent, he indicated that this "interim" fee would be spent trying to determine what the "actual" annual fee will be.) It is our understanding that Mr. Carson indicated the fee would be based on the roof area of the buildings and the amount of paved area on the property. This combined figure would determine the impact on the environment and, therefore, the amount of the annual fee. When asked if the amount of undeveloped acreage surrounding the buildings would have any positive impact on reducing the fee he said, "NO".

When asked if the "Program" would require any new employees, facilities, or equipment, Mr. Carson said, "NO". (Having read the Rules & Regs, it is obvious that 95% of this "Program" is administrative and well within the abilities of existing employees.) HOWEVER, Mr. Carson delivered a presentation to Council last Monday night itemizing all the new expenditures that justify the taking of the $1.4 MILLION.

We need to remember that this "Program", with slight deviations, has existed in BC since 1993. Even as Mr. Carson was listing the extensive expenditures required for the upcoming years for this "Program", the Finance Department of BC government, at the same meeting, listed the past expenditures as being from $49,000 to $73,000 annually. These funds were comfortably provided by the general fund. The requirements of the "new" permit do not measurably deviate from those of the past so there is no way to justify the imposition of a $1.4 MILLION new tax burden on the property owners of BC.

So, here we have it in a nutshell. Mr. Davis is hellbent on taking $1.4 MILLION more from the taxpayers of BC. He has his 4 "paid for" members of County Council who will vote for anything he wants. This arrangement is additionally egregious due to the fact that 2 of these Councilmen represent areas populated with a substantial number of people who simply cannot afford any addition expenses.

One of the biggest arguments for this new "Program" is that surrounding Counties and municipalities already have it in place. To GE&P, this is not a valid argument. If something is unfair and, simply put, WRONG, it doesn't matter if everyone is doing it. It's still WRONG.

NOTE: On the surface, there would seem to be some doubt that these fees are enforceable as the "official" documents of BC government show a built-in 20% non-complience factor.