Lexington Mayor, County Council Chairman Present What's Next for Roads, Lights, and More
Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougall and Lexington County Council Chairman Johnny Jeffcoat each addressed the audience at the Greater Lexington Chamber’s breakfast Tuesday morning, giving updates on various projects and initiatives in Lexington.
MacDougall updated the progress on the $5.1 million adaptive computerized traffic signalization project. Phase One, which includes 19 signals, is underway and expected to be fully operational by the end of 2015.
“The high-tech system will let the lights communicate with each other to alleviate congestion and open green light tunnels,” according to MacDougall, who noted a projection for a 30% reduction in congestion throughout town. “They use it in Augusta, Georgia during Masters week, and we felt like it was a perfect fit for Lexington.”
The traffic lights will be equipped with Bluetooth technology that will track any cars traveling through the intersections with Bluetooth. This allows the system to monitor how long it takes to get through town and thus make the necessary adjustments to ease congestion.
MacDougall also pointed to an increase in business licenses and permits, which currently makes up about 40% of the town’s general fund. There were more than 3,400 business licenses in the town in 2014, and that number has increased this year.
Four brand new subdivisions, encompassing 700 new homes, annexed just a month ago into the town of Lexington. There have been construction permits for 82 new homes and 18 commercial buildings, equaling $33 million in construction value. The growth also includes 78 acres with approximately $3 million of taxable value.
“At this pace, construction value will increase by about $40 million for this fiscal year,” MacDougall said. “We’re pretty excited about.”
The mayor also commended the police department on its accomplishments, including gaining accreditation through CALEA for the third straight year. The department was also named 2014 Agency of the Year by the SC Department of Public Safety for excelling in the area of DUI arrests, DUI victim services and underage drinking programs in SC.
MacDougall also praised Chief Terrence Green for his work on body cameras for the town’s traffic officers.
“I commend him on that, because he’s been working on that way before body cameras were a problem. We try to stay a step ahead in our police department,” MacDougall said. “Hopefully in about three months, we’ll have body cameras on every traffic officer on every shift.”
Jeffcoat praised Lexington County’s fire service and the progress that has been made in recent years.
“For years, Lexington County was a protection class 7, which is a pretty good protection class. About eight or ten years now, we went down to a class 5,” Jeffcoat said. “Recently, through the hard work of our fire service, we were able to obtain a protection class 3, which is almost unheard of with a county as widespread as we are and with as much rural area as we have.” Get the visuals with Chairman Jeffcoat's full PowerPoint Presentation
The classification determines how much it costs to insure a particular property, which means Lexington County residents should experience a reduction in those expenses, according to Jeffcoat, who suggested contacting your insurance agent for a check on your protection class.
The Lexington County Blowfish are set to open the new baseball stadium on Ball Park Road on May 27.
“It’s beautiful out there,” Jeffcoat said. “I think you’ll be impressed with what you see.”
Jeffcoat also announced that Lexington was the only county in the state that achieved the goal that DHEC set at 40% or more of recycling goods. Lexington achieved a recycling rate of 40.5%.
Lexington is also a leader in the state’s Work Ready Communities program, becoming the first large county in S.C. to achieve the certification.
“If a company is looking to come into SC, the employers in this county have agreed to meet certain criteria,” said Jeffcoat, who also talked about several business parks in the county.
Saxe Gotha Industrial Park, which is home to Amazon, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, and the SCANA headquarters, is in the expansion process. A 120,000 square foot building is being built and should be ready by the end of 2015. This is a speculative building for an incoming business.
The Batesburg-Leesville Industrial Park is about 14 years old will finally have the infrastructure it needs, as the town is going take care of water and sewer for the park.
“It’s kind of like if you build it, we’ll come. Well we built part of it, and they didn’t come,” Jeffcoat said. “We learned if you buy a property and don’t have the infrastructure, you’re not getting very far.”
Jeffcoat expects that to change once the infrastructure is in place, hopefully by the end of the year.
Phase One of the Chapin Business and Technology Park is complete, and work is being done to complete Phase Two with the anticipation of marketing the location beginning in August or September.
MacDougall also talked about several other topics, including sidewalk improvements, a waterline improvement project, Paw Park, Gibson Pond Park, and the Old Mill Pond trail, which should be completed by the spring of 2016.