Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds addressed the Laurens County Council at its regular meeting Tuesday night, saying that it is past time to invest in his department’s nearly 50-year-old headquarters.
Reynolds was on the meeting agenda under the heading “long term capital plan” in response to council’s decision to not hire a consultant to begin plans for either a new law enforcement center or improvements to the existing center on West Main Street in Laurens.
The vote to hire an architectural consulting firm for $25,000 failed due to a 3-3 tie at council’s Sept. 10 meeting. Council then voted 4-2 to take identical steps to hire a consultant for a new emergency services facility, which has been in the planning stage for several years.
“I will always strive for the betterment of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office,” Reynolds said in a text Monday afternoon. “My dedicated deputies and all the taxpayers of Laurens County shouldn’t have to settle for less.”
He expressed the same sentiments Tuesday night to county council.
The current law enforcement center is shared by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and the Laurens County Coroner’s Office and employees have said the aging facility has structural issues and is at least in need of repairs and renovations.
The consulting firm would have been hired to determine needs for the facility by speaking with employees there and then plot the course for the county going forward. In voting against the expenditure, council members said with no clear date for funding the project, the consulting contract would be moot.
Newly installed councilman Brown Patterson, who was elected on Sept. 10 and not part of the previous meeting, made a motion to approve the contract but the motion was ruled out of order. Procedurally, one of the three council members who voted against the previous motion – David Pitts, Joe Wood and Garrett McDaniel – would have to reintroduce the motion, and they declined to do so.
In other action Tuesday night, Laurens County Fire Services Director Greg Lindley requested three full-time positions for his department, which would replace nine part-time positions. Lindley said he is having trouble retaining that many part-time fire fighters for the same $110,000 price tag.
Council members also discussed the re-institution of the Laurens County Animal Control Advisory Committee and heard a report from animal control director Geoff Brown. Brown said his department is averaging 25-30 calls concerning animals per day. He also reported that new protocols within the department have improved functions at the shelter.
Members also heard a report on emergency repairs needed at the Historic County Courthouse.
Council members also discussed committee appointments for an upcoming referendum on a proposed Capital Sales Tax, but announced following executive session that they would not make their three selections until after three selections were made from local municipalities.
Clinton has announced its selection but Laurens has yet to do so. The last selection will come from Gray Court, Cross Hill, Fountain Inn and Waterloo.