LETTER: Why the Gray Court EMS Station should not be moved
We should all be concerned in District Five as taxpayers of Laurens County that we don’t have a representative on the Laurens County Council, and have not had one for the past 5 months or more.
It’s evident that the voters of our District 5, which would include approximately 7,000 residents, have no voice in their government. I understand that our council member has missed 9 of 10 meetings due to employment in another state.
He has refused to resign, which would be the honorable and proper action considering the fact his employment has taken him into another state. His selfish release from the obligation is the concern of the cost of a special election the taxpayers would bear. I understand the council members receive compensation of $11,757 per year for their participation in county government. I’m sure our council member, who has been AWOL from this duties as our representative of District 5, has cashed his compensation checks along with his travel allowance, accepted his state insurance and added to his state retirement fund without any thought to the cost of the taxpayer. I highly recommend he resign without hesitation and reimburse the county taxpayers for all the obligations he has not fulfilled through no fault of the taxpayers.
One of the reasons that has generated such animosity toward his refusal to resign is that I have quietly watched our 6 county council members plan and vote to move the Gray Court EMS station away from the Gray Court Owings Grammar/Middle School, which has an enrollment of over 600 students (4 being my great-grandsons), and the Town of Gray Court, which consists mainly of African-Americans and the poorer citizens of Laurens County.
This Gray Court station has a service area with the greatest rural population and the demographics are the poorer citizens of Laurens County. We should not allow those with greater financial assets to penalize those who do not have the same means and will suffer quietly. This EMS unit also has the responsibility to back up the Laurens Unit when it’s on call.
Council also recommends the station be moved another 3 miles away from my neighbors and my personal residence. The taxpayers’ TAXES, whether state or county, are being used to build this new station, pay for the equipment housed there and the continual yearly operational expense.
In the meantime, you’re adding another 1,200 ZF employees to the already over-burdened system, with no consideration for the welfare of the taxpaying public.
The citizens of Laurens County invested millions of dollars and its EMS was recognized as the #1 EMS service in South Carolina in 2016. Why would the public allow 6 members of the council, who very seldom understand their responsibility, make decisions that are not in the best interest of the entire county’s citizens’ ability to gain quick response to medical emergencies?
This decision affects the citizens of Clinton, Joanna, Cross Hill and Mountville in EMS response times, also.
Having been the first chairman of the Laurens economics corporation from its inception, and instrumental in developing the Owings industrial park, I would have never considered giving up our EMS box unit for growth, at the expense of the citizens who had no input or knowledge of this action. Every citizen of Laurens County, whether they be rich or poor deserves the same capability to access medical treatment in an emergency. I have negotiated educational programs with Michelin Tire Co., JP Stevens and other large industrial companies in the upper part of South Carolina. Never once did I give away the citizens’ interest or overlook the needs of our community! There was a better deal on the table which would have benefitted all parties.