Berkeley Chamber of Commerce welcomes new County Supervisor Johnny Cribb
It’s been just over two months since Hanahan resident Johnny Cribb took office as Berkeley County’s newest supervisor. And he’s hit the ground running.
Cribb was the guest speaker at an event hosted by the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce at the Daniel Island Club last week. The purpose of the gathering was to officially welcome Cribb to his new post. The supervisor used his time at the podium to outline his priorities and objectives for the country’s 17th fastest growing county.
“There are 3,007 counties in the country,” he said to his audience. “Which puts us in the top one percent…Anybody that tries to tell you that’s all great and just perfect, they don’t understand the struggles of trying to prepare for that. It’s really quite an opportunity and quite a challenge that we’re trying to deal with.”
Cribb admitted the job is vastly different than it was even just a few years ago, when many companies were focused on keeping their people and trying to stay afloat. Today, growth is pushing in at a rapid pace – and Berkeley County is trying to keep up. According to Cribb, about 220,000 people live in the county now, but by 2025 that number is expected to rise to 253,000 and to 308,000 by 2035.
“That takes a lot of planning and effort,” Cribb said. “We’re not just randomly going to end up in a certain place. It’s got to be planned and it’s got to be guided, with a lot of partnerships and a lot of really good communication.”
And in his short time at the helm of Berkeley County, he and his team have made good progress, he said. For starters, they’re working diligently – and much earlier - with new companies seeking to expand or relocate to the county. Larger developments and corporations must offer their fair share when it comes to investment in the county and infrastructure.
“It’s a totally different environment now,” said Cribb. “We’re very strategic. FILOs (Fees in Lieu of) aren’t just handed out like candy. You gotta bring something to the table.”
News of business expansions and investments is “the new normal” in the county, he said.
“It’s like if you’re playing poker in Berkeley County, you’re not holding 10 deuce anymore. You’ve got a good hand to play. We’ve got value.”
Cribb said he plans to operate a “lean and mean” budget, but will advocate for additional funding for needed services such as EMS, the Sheriff’s department, and fire departments. When it comes to roads, between $35 million and $40 million continues to funnel in annually from the county’s penny sales tax revenues. The county plans to go back to citizens in 2023 for another roads’ referendum to keep the critically-needed funding stream coming.
“Hopefully they will anxiously want to pass that referendum, because we’re going to complete every single one of these projects and they’re going to be underway prior to that next referendum,” said Cribb. “That’s the demand that’s been given to the staff and that’s what we’re going to do. We know this is really, really important.”
Cribb also plans to create a capital improvement plan, something he noted he was surprised to learn didn’t exist prior to him taking office.
“We’ll get that list and bring it to County Council,” he said. “And figure out what the priorities are.”
And Cribb plans to involve County Council every step of the way on this and other projects.
“One of my big goals is to work with County Council, not against County Council…We’re trying to involve them in the process much sooner and get their input.”
Working closely with the Berkeley County School District is another goal, said Cribb, and so far, his efforts have not gone unnoticed.
“This is my 38th year in public education and I’ve been in a lot of communities, about 10 different school districts,” said BCSD Superintendent Eddie Ingram, who was in attendance at the chamber event. “And I have never seen this level of cooperation between a county entity and the school board in my career. And that’s something that is very refreshing.”
For Cribb, the feelings of admiration are mutual.
“People have asked me, how have you liked it so far?’” he told the audience. “And genuinely I have loved it. I’ve never been more sure and enthusiastic about anything in my life. This has been a great job and I am just excited and motivated about the next three years and 10 months. I look forward to working with the people in this room, and others, to do great things for Berkeley County.”