Coroner speaks of county's wastefullness

Hampton County Coroner discusses expense overages during Hampton County Council meeting.

During a Nov. 7 Hampton County Council meeting, Hampton County Coroner Ernie Washington, Sr., spoke to council as requested by council members due to his department’s budget overage of $13,136. According Washington, the overages could have easily been avoided if Hampton County Council would allow him to utilize a county-owned coroner transport van.

According to Washington, the county is withholding his use of a county corner van because of an ongoing legal matter between his office and the county over placement of a county seal upon his county-purchased Dodge Durango.

The lack of a van has caused Washington to hire an outside contractor to transport remains to MUSC in Charleston and back to Hampton, a $300 round trip. All tallied, the lack of a transport van has cost his department, and the county, $6,050, says Washington. The coroner also detailed an extremely expensive morgue unit he was provided by the county, which goes unused inside a storage unit due to a lack of a building being offered by the county to place the morgue.

The coroner’s 2016-17 budget was set at $19,000. Washington said an increase in murders locally, as well as an increase in MUSC rates and autopsy fees, have also added to the budget overage.

 

In other Hampton County Council news:

  • SouthernCarolina Alliance’s Kay Maxwell gave council an update of the work of the SCA. So far this year, the SCA has accrued $128 million in private capital investments and 411 jobs created regionally. In the county, 12 active projects are considering Hampton County. The SCA will soon announce two new projects coming to Hampton County, Maxwell added.
  • First reading of the Hampton County Unified Land Development Ordinance passed a council vote.
  • Second reading of the Hampton County Personnel Policy passed by a 3-2 council vote.
  • The third reading of the name change of the county-owned airport passed with a 3-1-1 vote, with Winn voting no and Williams abstaining. The former Hampton/Varnville airport will be renamed the Hampton County Airport.