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ABBEVILLE — Abbeville County Council could help make a transportation system a reality.

Bill Boone, executive director with United Christian Ministries of Abbeville County, requested support for a resolution stating that the county is willing to let McCormick Transit System be a transportation provider. He said there will be no cost to the county.

Out of South Carolina’s 46 counties, seven don’t have a public transit system, he said at Monday’s council meeting. Abbeville is one of them.

That is a problem, he said. A survey conducted by UCMAC indicated that people wanted to attend the ministry’s free medical clinic but didn’t have transportation. Other organizations throughout the county also have expressed a need for transport.

Nearly 260 responses were returned. Up to 60% of respondents live in Abbeville, 21% live in Calhoun Falls, with the rest in Iva, Lowndesville and Due West. More than half of respondents cited a need for transport to doctor’s offices and to grocery stores. Up to 12% said they can’t get work because of a lack of transportation.

The McCormick system will write an application for a $100,000 grant that will fund a study of such a system, he said. If grant funding is secured, the McCormick system would supply vehicles to UCMAC for the transit system.

“Hopefully we would get the $100,000,” he said. “That would give us a year’s pilot study.”

The goal is to help as many people as possible, Boone said. Focus most likely will center on providing medical transportation services, along with providing transportation to grocery stores. Food issues can relate to medical issues.

There have been instances of people not getting a second COVID-19 vaccine because they lack transportation, Councilman John Calhoun noted during the meeting.

McCormick has a bus system type. UCMAC would like to look at a similar system, Boone said.

“It’s got to start small,” he said after the meeting. “If you make it massive, it’s probably doomed to fall, and then as you see the need, expand it.”

The grant has to be sent in soon, so the hope is the council will act soon, he said.

In other business:

Cases of COVID-19 have cropped up among county employees, County Director David Garner said. He urged people to get vaccinated as the disease remains a threat.

Council passed a resolution to establish requirements and procedures for historic property owners to apply for special property tax assessments.

Council passed a resolution to authorize Garner to enter into a contract with Thermal Resources Sales in Greenville to purchase a turbo-power gas water heater for the detention center. The amount is not to exceed $35,000.

Council approved a resolution authorizing Garner to enter into a contract with Election Systems & Software LLC for hardware maintenance, a software license and a maintenance and support services agreement from July 1 through June 20, 2024. The cost is not to exceed $57,780.

Council approved a resolution authorizing Garner to extend a contract with Smith Gardner of Columbia for engineering and environmental services at county landfills through June 20, 2022.

Council approved a resolution authorizing Garner to enter into a contract with Pickens Construction of Anderson for driveway improvements to the Abbeville County Fire Headquarters Access Road. The cost is $47,427.

Council member James McCord said that two officers with the sheriff’s department are to be sent to a school for grant writing.

McCord and Chairperson Billy Norris lauded the contributions of 911 workers for National Telecommunicators Week.

A budget workshop is scheduled for April 26, Garner said. County officials are about 95% finished with budget work.

Contact staff writer Robert Jordan at 864-943-5650.