Berkeley County Council considers pushing back date for change of government referendum

It has been over a year since the Berkeley County Council first discussed an ordinance that called for a countywide referendum that would give residents the chance to vote on whether or not the county should abandon its current elected supervisor form of government and replace it with an appointed or hired administrator.

The ordinance, which originally planned for the question to be posed in a referendum to be held in conjunction with a special election on March 28 of this year was later pushed back by county council to occur on or before the 2018 primary in June.

As one of the last four counties in the state to have an elected supervisor form of government, a majority of the council members were in agreement that it was time for a change when the referendum was first proposed. Although time has passed, that sentiment has not changed – but the time period scheduled to hold the election may again be altered.

At their regular meeting on Monday, March 19, county council voted 4-2 in a first reading to amend the bill to put the vote later in the year. If it passes two more readings, the date of the referendum will be changed from the primary election in June of this year to the November general election.

Council members Dennis Fish and Steve Davis voted in opposition at the March 19 session.

“I believe our current form of government works pretty well,” said Fish.

If residents do vote to change the form of government, it would not go into effect until after 2022, according to Public Information Officer for Berkeley County Hannah Moldenhauer.

Voters will also be asked to consider adding a ninth council member, elected from a single member district, if a change in the form of government is approved.

This would be the second time in ten years that the issue of changing the Berkeley County form of government is put before voters. In 2008, voters chose to keep the County-Supervisor system.

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