Published Dec. 13, 2012
Tony McDonald was appointed as the Richland County administrator by County Council Tuesday.
After nearly six months as interim county administrator, McDonald received an 11-0 vote by County Council to become the county’s permanent chief executive.
McDonald became interim county administrator July 1, succeeding Milton Pope, who retired from the post.
In an interview today with the Columbia Regional Business Report, McDonald said one of his top priorities will be implementing the county transportation improvement plan that was approved last month by voters, along with a penny increase in the sales tax to pay for the work.
McDonald said the county is accepting applications now through the Clerk of County Council office to serve in seven seats on a citizens advisory committee to oversee the implementation of the $1 billon transportation plan. He said he hopes to see the committee appointed and at work in January. The county also must hire a transportation director. A job description has been drafted for the position, and McDonald said he aims to begin recruiting for that position within a week or two.
The timetable for the penny tax calls for the levy to go into effect May 1. The county plans to sell bonds to jump-start the construction work, and use the sales tax revenue to repay the bonds. McDonald said he can’t guarantee work on the transportation improvements will begin in 2013, but he said there’s a “good possibility” that could happen.
He said the transportation work could be a hedge for the county against the predicted negative impact of federal government spending cuts on the military, unemployment compensation benefits, and other federal job and spending cuts.
“There will be a lot of jobs generated by this work,” McDonald said. “It may not solve all our problems, but it will help.”
McDonald said another priority will be implementing the recommendations of a report on improving and making more efficient the service provided by the county to businesses, such as issuing permits for various business activities. The final report of the task force was presented to County Council within the past month. Some of the recommendations already have been incorporated into county practices, he said, and more will follow.
“This has been a real gut-check for Richland County to see where we stand in the eyes of the business community,” he said.