Lexington County Councilmen Tolar, Yarborough issue statement as Chapin B&T Park controversy intensifies

On Friday evening Lexington County Council Chairman Todd Cullum issued a press release. He responded to criticism over the pace of progress at which the Chapin Business and Technology Park is being built.

Link to Lexington County Council Chairman Todd Cullum’s statement

Saturday night, two Lexington County Council members responded. Their statements are included below:

Statement from Lexington County Councilman Ned Tolar:

“On Friday, the County Council chairman criticized me – apparently for simply answering a reporter’s question about delay at the Chapin business park — via a news release which was sent on official letterhead by the county’s public information office.

“While I understand his sensitivity over the business park fiasco, I hope that in the future the Chairman will refrain from using county employees and other taxpayer resources in this manner. The public information office exists to convey important information to citizens, not for political one-upmanship.

Photo: Councilmen Tolar, Yarborough (LCC Photo)

“For the record, I do believe the business park project has been badly mismanaged. All evidence indicates that the county administration made promises that went unfulfilled. Taxpayers have spent millions on a business park that now sits vacant when it should be attracting new economic investment. Even worse, there appears to be a lack of straight answers. Lexington County government is falling short of our citizens’ expectations.

“Whatever the reasons for the delay, we owe it to the taxpayers to get that entrance road open, and to be candid with the public about any problems at the park. No one is well-served when county leaders attempt to pass the buck, or shoot the messenger, or conceal details from the public.”

Statement from Lexington County Councilman Phil Yarborough:

“It’s embarrassing that nearly three years after the promised completion date, the entrance road to the park remains closed – especially after nearly $14 million in taxpayer money has been invested in it.

“This is a failure on the part of the county administrator, and the consequences are real: While other counties’ business parks are enjoying much success in recruiting new businesses, ours sits unused. Economic development opportunities are passing us by in favor of other areas.

“Competent project management is one of the basic job requirement of a county administrator. In a county such as ours, there’s simply no excuse for our administrator to so badly mismanage such a straight-forward project. Frankly, if he had worked for me he’d have been let go a long time ago. This kind of mismanagement wouldn’t fly in the business world, and it shouldn’t be acceptable for county government.”