Tuesday, September 20, 2011

There are times when South Carolina deserves to be laughed at. Let’s face it. There are certain aspects of our state that are great as running punchlines.
We have so many, in fact, the folks at THE ONION gave us this little piece:
Obama Visits South-Carolina-Ravaged South Carolina
September 20, 2011
COLUMBIA, SC—Calling the devastation "heartbreaking and appalling," President Barack Obama toured South-Carolina-ravaged South Carolina Tuesday, vowing never to turn his back on the 4.6 million residents whose lives have been turned upside down by the horrors of South Carolina. "For decades, citizens from Columbia to Walterboro have suffered a kind of pain and anguish that most Americans could never fathom," said Obama, who later led a silent prayer for the countless victims of the Southern state. "But I'm confident you will rebound. Maybe not in a month. Maybe not in a year. But South Carolina will one day emerge from the ashes of this South-Carolina-torn land." Obama will reportedly be traveling to Charleston next, a city the president said has miraculously escaped the devastation of South Carolina.
It’s funny. It’s really funny, but there’s more to the story.
You see, South Carolina has a lot to be proud of, and that’s part of what our new project is about -- not just what's happening, but those things that make South Carolina a great place to live, work, play, vacation, rear a family, and just plain enjoy.
There’s more to come soon.
Until then, “Like” TMPR on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TMPRGA), or sign up (http://eepurl.com/e2xi2) and stay tuned to find out more.


Saturday, September 10, 2011


Contact: Taft Matney
Date: September 10, 2011
Phone: 864/505-8866

Tomorrow, September 11, 2011 the Boiling Springs Fire District (Greenville County, SC) will hold a brief 9/11 remembrance ceremony at its headquarters located at 5020 Pelham Road in Greenville to observe the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States.
The ceremony will begin at 8:00 a.m. and is expected to last approximately 20 minutes and will include participation by the BSFD Honor Guard and remarks from Chaplain Gary Rogers.
Members of neighboring fire departments are expected to attend, and the public is invited.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, two Boiling Springs Honor Guard detachments will leave the district’s headquarters to participate in other area observance ceremonies.
Officials from Boiling Springs Fire District say that they plan to hold a larger scale ceremony when construction is completed on the district’s privately-funded 9/11 memorial that features a steel beam from the World Trade Center as a centerpiece.

For planning purposes, directions to Boiling Springs’ headquarters are below.
From Greenville
  • Take I-85 North to Pelham Road
  • Bear right at the top of the exit ramp on to Pelham Road.
  • BSFD Headquarters is located on the right on the corner at the first traffic signal.
From Spartanburg
  • Take I-85 South to Pelham Road
  • Turn left at the top of the exit ramp on to Pelham Road.
  • After crossing back over I-85, BSFD Headquarters is located on the right on the corner at the intersection of Pelham and Garlington Roads.
About the Boiling Springs Fire District
Established in 1968 and located on Greenville County's Eastside, the Boiling Springs Fire District covers 15 square miles and serves over 26,000 residents. Governed by five commissioners recommended by county council and appointed by the governor, the Boiling Springs Fire District is a special purpose district responsible for addressing specific concerns and local issues among commercial and residential interests through 40 paid personnel and 20 volunteers operating out of 3 fire stations. The Boiling Springs Fire District is South Carolina's only ISO Class 1 fire department with a combination of paid and volunteer fire fighters.

For media inquiries, please contact Taft Matney by e-mail at taft@taftmatney.com or by phone at 864/505-8866.


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Wednesday, September 07, 2011


By Butch Kirven
Published Sunday, September 4, 2011
The Greenville News
Section 9A -- http://bit.ly/qDmZ98

Greenville County is notoriously tight­fisted with tax dol­lars. The last time County Council raised tax millage for the county’s general fund operations was 1993.

Since then County Council has consistently de­creased tax millage.

Aside from its own business, County Council is the approving fiscal authority for many, but not all, separate Special Purpose Tax Districts, a task complicated because the Council does not have operational control of these fire districts, rely­ing instead on the commis­sioners of each one.

Fire protection is not optional. Lives and proper­ty depend on the level of protection provided. Fire protection services are paid for directly by prop­erty taxes collected from the citizens who are the beneficiaries of the ser­vices. Needs for fire pro­tection services and the capabilities to provide them vary greatly throughout Greenville County.

That means funding levels for each fire dis­trict must be judged on the merits of each case, and not on a “no-tax in­crease” dogma that does not account for the actual situation in each fire dis­trict. Some increases may be justified, some may not, but each should be evaluated carefully and business-like decisions made for each one.

There are some 30 separate Fire Districts, Special Purpose Fire Dis­tricts and Fire Service Areas in Greenville Coun­ty. Thirteen were created by County Council, and 17 were created by the state Legislature, eight with statutory budget limits, and nine with full autono­my and unlimited taxing authority. Only the first group and those with lim­ited autonomy require County Council’s approval for millage adjustments.

Each Fire District contains a specific array of demographic and eco­nomic characteristics determining how fire protection is provided and funded. Consider both ends of the spectrum: Boiling Springs Fire De­partment serves a densely populated 15-square mile area with a mix of resi­dential, commercial, and industrial properties.

Dunklin Fire Department serves a 28-square mile largely rural-residential area, including large amounts of agricultural or undeveloped land that produces little tax reve­nue. It is obvious that these differences deter­mine how each depart­ment is manned, equipped, trained and how much it all costs. Comparing them would be like comparing apples to oranges.

In the case of Boiling Springs Fire Department, the facts and circum­stances support their request for County Coun­cil’s approval for a bond to pay for a strategically located new station to serve their densely pop­ulated area and diverse mix of property types. In the case of Dunklin Fire Department, the circum­stances and facts support their request for a very modest increase in reve­nue just to maintain the basic capabilities which the citizens currently rely on.

Despite the archaic arrangement of so many fire and other special purpose tax districts, no local service does more to protect life and property than the fire departments. They do much more than put out fires. Firefighters are usually first to arrive when anyone has a stroke or a heart attack. When a traffic accident occurs, the rescue vehicle from the local fire station is usually the first to arrive on the scene. When corpo­rations and industries look for places to locate, a top priority is the quality of fire protection and ISO ratings.

Fire departments and firefighters are essential; they save lives, support economic development, give us peace of mind, and are taken for granted.

Changes in state law a few years ago limited tax millage increases to a combination of population increase plus a cost-of­living index. That led local government entities to review their budgets ev­ery year and to ask for the allowed small millage increase maintain ser­vices.

However, the new state tax law also created a problem by having so many subdivisions of local government asking for the allowable adjustment in millage, which appeared to those not thinking through the matter that County Council was on a tax increasing binge.

Having so many sep­arate tax districts is not an ideal system, but it is the one we have, and we have to make it work. The high level of cooperation among the fire depart­ments is amazing and saves money. They have a preplanned system to back-up engaged units. They share training re­sources and equipment. Many firefighters are volunteers who spend enormous amounts of time learning and honing the skills that can make the difference between life and death.

In order to provide the level of resources essen­tial to maintaining readi­ness County Council and citizens must fully appre­ciate all that fire depart­ments do in serving the community.

Without adequate re­sources, readiness will deteriorate, training will be reduced, outdated equipment will not be replaced, and facilities not maintained.

If public safety is im­portant, money has to be spent to keep fire depart­ments capable of perform­ing their missions. Citi­zens seem to understand this and County Council should.

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By Anna Lee
Staff Writer
September 7, 2011
Section B2 -- http://bit.ly/poakca
Business owners and residents who came to Greenville County Square on Tuesday night all had one agenda: to support the Boiling Springs Fire District.
Each had three minutes or less to ask County Council to consider issuing a $2 million bond that would allow the fire district to buy a former church building on 208 Blacks Drive and renovate it into a fire station.

Some, including Milton Murphy, general manager of Speedway Packaging and Distribution, said a new fire station would help Boiling Springs keep its ISO rating of 1, the highest a department can achieve.

“If it were to drop, it would mean our insurance costs would go up, and we would have, basically, some choices to make,” Murphy said. “We can reduce our personnel at the site, or we have to raise our prices to our customers. Either way, it’s not good for us or the economy.” Claire Sizemore and Tim Greaves, a former firefighter, said the station’s proximity to heavily traveled Pelham Road and Interstate 85 would shave crucial minutes off emergency response times.

“The bottom line of this whole issue is life or death,” Sizemore said.

At issue is a fire district that spans 15 square miles across Greenville’s growing Eastside area. Its ISO rating will drop to 3 if a fourth station isn’t built soon, said Fire Chief Steve Graham.

“It was a godsend to find this piece of property with an existing building that we can renovate for about $2 million,” Graham said.

The general obligation bond would increase property taxes by $4.35 on a $100,000 owner-occupied home.

County Council members were divided on the issue during a Finance Committee meeting earlier this year.

Meadows and Councilman Sid Cates voted against the proposal, while Butch Kirven and Jim Burns voted in favor. Councilman Bob Taylor was absent but later cast the deciding 3-2 vote to allow the bond issuance to move forward.

A public hearing and second reading will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 4.

■ Staff writer Nathaniel Cary contributed to this report.

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