Long Range Planning for Laurens County

A long-range strategic capital plan was presented to Laurens County Council last evening. County Administrator Jon Camie presented an introduction and the first version of the plan for consideration. He said “This is about $60,000,000 total but we are not asking for a referendum to fund this.” Caime said “Some of the parts of this plan may never be done, some will be done with current funding sources without any increase in taxes, and some will be done if we have new funding sources.” He explained that he put the plan together, with some assistance from county departments, but he is now seeking input from Council.

The Strategic Capital plan is in two parts, non-fixed assets such as vehicles and fixed assets, such as buildings. The plan considers three time-ranges for each. These include a 12-month plan, matters for 1 to 5 years and ideas for 6 or more years into the future. Jon Caime said “These large numbers can appear daunting to the point we back away, but if you look at the details of this long-range plan you can see accomplishing these goals is achievable.” He pointed out that not all the capital needs identified will be built, but that the county can achieve monumental tasks by planning ahead, and breaking them into phases.

The Administrator stressed that the sole emphasis of the plan is to smooth out the need for capital purchases so that Laurens County is consistently and regularly replacing capital equipment. He noted a deficiency of doing this has resulted in the need for a large flood of capital needs that require funding. Caime’s recommendation is to extend the current needs out a few years “to get out of this backlog, and to prevent a future flood of capital as the current wave of needs are replaced in the future.”

Immediate feedback from the Strategic Plan presented by Jon Caime last evening included a comment from Councilmember Diane Anderson, who said “We all have ideas, and should all be included in what we want for the county in the next few years.” Council Chair Joe Wood said, “We had great success when we had a county retreat, and we should do it again.”

Jon Caime noted that county administration is about to dive into the budget, with hopes of having it complete by March or April. And he said he’s working on capital plans for the new EMS headquarters and the 911 center, saying “It could be very costly, but that’s the purpose of long-range planning.”