The following are highlights from Richland County Government in February:
· Richland County will receive $23.5 million for flood recovery efforts, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced. The CDBG-Disaster Recovery funding is part of $157 million awarded to South Carolina to assist with unmet housing, economic development and infrastructure needs following the devastating October 2015 floods.
· The Richland Soil and Water Conservation District was named the 2015 Outstanding Conservation District of the Year by the SC Association of Conservation Districts.
· The United Way of the Midlands, in partnership with Richland County, Providence Hospitals, Lexington Medical Center, Palmetto Health and other community partners, expanded its free dental and eye clinic in Richland County. A ribbon-cutting was held for a newly renovated space at the Richland County Health Department. The space, leased to United Way for $1 a year, operates with donations from BlueCross BlueShield, Absolute Total Care and Aflac.
· For the 29th consecutive year, the Richland County Finance Department won the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association, which cited the staff for producing a budget document that is easy for the general public to understand.
· A group of Richland County residents began meeting with County officials to assist with a comprehensive plan for flood recovery efforts following the October 2015 flood event. The Blue Ribbon Committee will make recommendations to County Council on prioritizing recovery projects to help guide how best to use flood relief funds. Meetings are planned through April.
· County officials expect several of the County’s major building and renovation projects, including the Decker Center and Coroner’s Office, to reach completion in 2016.
· Dominion Resources Inc., the nation’s largest producer and transporter of energy, announced it will expand its operations to Richland County. The company is investing $10.9 million to relocate its Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission (DCGT) headquarters and operations to Columbia. Dominion’s new facility at 121 Moore Hopkins Lane near Greystone Boulevard will house operations and services for DCGT.
· Richland County Solid Waste & Recycling and the City of Forest Acres held a recycling and paper shredding event for residents. Nearly 300 cars came through and residents drop off all kinds of junk, including 1,260 pounds of metal, 8,000 pounds of electronics, 1,600 pounds of tires and 4,600 pounds of paper.
· Richland County and several community partners issued a call for nominations for the new Modjeska Monteith Simkins Award to recognize residents’ efforts in the areas of civil rights and social justice. The award honors the life of Simkins, a Richland County native who became one of the state’s leading civil rights activists from the 1930s until her death in 1992. The winner will be announced in April.