A new bill would address private infrastructure affected by the - DatelineCarolina

A new bill would help rebuild roads and dams destroyed by last fall's floods

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Bill sponsor Jimmy Bales says he is just trying to help the citizens. Bill sponsor Jimmy Bales says he is just trying to help the citizens.
Water is replaced with dirt on Cary Lake due to a failed privately owned dam. Water is replaced with dirt on Cary Lake due to a failed privately owned dam.

By Avery Bofinger

It's been five months since South Carolina's thousand-year-flood, and "road closed" signs are still scattered around the state. In South Carolina, over 20 roads running across failed privately owned dams are still not repaired.

Five of these roads are in Richland County's town of Arcadia Lakes.

Two privately owned dams breached and another was damaged during the October flood in Arcadia Lakes. Not only are roads closed, but Lake Cary is now dirt instead of water.

Neither the state's road budget nor South Carolina's Department of Transportation will fund repairs of those failed privately owned dams, so the question remains as to who will pay for repairs. A bill introduced in the State House would create special tax districts to address public and private infrastructure affected by the flood. This special tax district will include the homeowners of Arcadia Lakes.

Bill sponsor Rep. Jimmy Bales, D-Richland, says they're just trying to help people with a loan.

"No one ever dreamed that we would have a flood that would break this many dams, but I think we owe it to the tax payers and the citizens of this group to give them as much help as we can. If we give them 15 years to pay back what they get to pay for the dams it would make it a lot easier," Bale said.

Arcadia Lakes homeowner Kim Coleman does not think should she should be responsible for repairing a dam she does not own.

"I don't think that's really fair because I don't own that property and I already pay property taxes. So I don't think it's fair to tax people that don't own that property," Coleman says.

Arcadia Lakes mayor Mark Huguley thinks the repairs would benefit the whole town.

"We're all in this community together, it would make sense for everyone to be willing to contribute their fair share," the mayor said.

The faster the dam and roads are repaired, the faster people would be able to enjoy Cary Lake.

"The reason we're doing it is to help citizens around the lakes, that's the reason we're doing it," Bale said.

The next decision of the bill will be made by the Committee on Ways and Means.

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