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CPW partners for county scholarship, adjusts for impact fees

Laurens , South Carolina – High School juniors and seniors across Laurens County have the opportunity to compete for one of two $2,500 scholarships offered through a new partnership between the City of Clinton, Laurens Commission of Public Works and their electric provider, Piedmont Municipal Power Agency.
“PMPA has funds available for scholarships, and we took advantage of it about 10 years ago,” CPW General Manager John Young told commissioners during their monthly meeting Monday evening. “I talked to Clinton City Manager Tom Brooks and we thought since we are both public power utilities with PMPA we could put this together and offer them again.”
Any qualified high school junior or senior from Laurens County may apply, and a $2.500 one-time scholarship will be awarded to one student living in District 55 and one student living in District 56.
The students don’t have to actually go to the District 55 or 56 high schools, Young clarified, but must live within that school district area of the county.
“The Laurens County Chamber of Commerce is handling the scholarship and students must submit a 1000-word essay explaining what is public power and why it’s important to our community,” Young said. “The deadline is Feb. 22 and the winner will be announced at the Chamber’s annual dinner on Feb. 29.”
Full instructions can be found on the Chamber’s website at https://www.laurenscounty.org/annual-dinner-recognition-applications/.
In other business, commissioners voted unanimously to approve a series of adjustments to its policies which outline the impact fees that will be required from new housing developers. The changes differ based on whether developers are planning multi-family housing, developments with all electric houses and those with electric and natural gas capabilities.
“We used to add incentives to help attract builders but that was when very few new houses were being built,” Young said. “We can’t afford to absorb these costs now that there’s such an increase in development.”
He specified that these changes only apply to developers who have not yet broken ground.
“This does not apply to Gibson Grove developers off Highway 76 because they have already started work,” Young said.
He explained that passing these costs on to developers has become much more common since underground electric, water and sewer infrastructure components have drastically increased in costs in recent years.
These changes will help CPW better cover the costs of the needed infrastructure required by new housing, Young said.
Commissioners also heard a request for funding from John Farmer of United Ministries in Clinton and Will Ferguson of the United Ministries Food Pantry. Farmer explained that United Ministries provides utility assistance to Laurens County residents and many of them are actually CPW customers.
The commissioners said they would make a decision and let Farmer know about funding the CPW could provide.

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