By Chris Sokoloski
Georgetown County Council approved the $62.52 million budget for Fiscal Year 2013 and a $1.5 million contract to design and build a new Murrells Inlet Community Center at its meeting on Tuesday.
The new budget contains no tax increases or cuts to services.
One addition to the budget was the position of a Public Information Officer (PIO).
The idea of adding a PIO has been kicking around for about two years, County Administrator Sel Hemingway said.
Some of the responsibilities of the new position will include: disseminating information through social media and press releases; covering county events; assisting with department newsletters; and monitoring and updating the county’s website.
Hemingway said the county is looking for someone with practical journalism experience and knowledge of photography.
Advertising for the position should start within the next two weeks.
The new community center will be designed by Tych & Walker Architects of Murrells Inlet and built by Coastal Structures of Georgetown.
In order to speed up the process, the county opted to go with a design/build contract. Instead of sending out a request for bids, the county sent requests for qualifications.
Twelve pairs of companies responded with their qualifications and sealed bids for the work. A committee then ranked the top four companies, based solely on qualifications.
Tych & Walker and Coastal Structures were the top ranked pair, so the county opened their bid and negotiated the $1.5 million deal.
By state law, the other 11 bids remained sealed.
Tych & Walker designed the Georgetown County Judicial Center and Midway Fire Rescue’s headquarters in Litchfield, and is currently working on the new Waccamaw Neck library branch.
Coastal Structures built the Georgetown County Airport Terminal, Holy Cross-Faith Memorial Church and St. Paul’s Waccamaw United Methodist Church.
In other business
• An ordinance authorizing a referendum on a one-cent sales tax was given first reading by title only.
There was no discussion on the matter.
The county’s sales tax commission should wrap up its work on the wording for the referendum on Wednesday, and Council is expected to give it second reading on July 10 and final approval on Aug. 14. The referendum would be on the ballot in the November General Election.
• Council approved spending $105,978 for data cabling upgrades to the Emergency Preparedness and 911 Call Center.
Mercom Corp. of Pawleys Island will perform the work, which is part of the expansion of the county’s Emergency Operations Center.
Kyle Prufer, the county’s purchasing officer, said Mercom found “a rat’s nest of wiring” in the building’s old consoles.
By Chris Sokoloski
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