Tri-County Gathering Focuses on Power of Collaboration for Rural Communities  

Counties working together to address issues like economic development, quality of life, and critical public safety services is key as our state grows—especially in rural areas. Leaders from Allendale, Bamberg and Barnwell counties joined together this week to brainstorm collaborative ways to tackle some of these challenges.  

From left: Bamberg County Council Member and SCAC Board Member Larry Haynes, Barnwell County Council Chairman Jerry Creech, SCAC President and Pickens County Council Vice Chairman Roy Costner, SCAC First Vice President and Allendale County Council Vice Chairman Bill Robinson, Barnwell County Council Member and SCAC Board Member Daniel Alexander, and Allendale County Council Chairman Matthew Connelly. The leaders participated in a tri-county meeting to discuss challenges and collaboration opportunities. 

Special thanks to SCAC First Vice President and Allendale County Council Vice Chairman Bill Robinson for organizing the tri-county meeting in Barnwell County. 

SCAC President Roy Costner III, vice chairman of Pickens County Council, facilitated the meeting and shared ways the Association can empower county leaders. 

“There are a lot of opportunities to make your voice heard,” he said. “When you feel like you are on an island, take advantage of the incredible resources SCAC offers in terms of the advocacy, education and collaboration components.” 

Barnwell County Council Chairman Jerry Creech and Administrator Tim Bennett were outstanding hosts to a room of more than 30 county officials who shared concerns, ideas and potential solutions.   

“Growth in South Carolina has been awesome, but what we have now is a rural-versus-urban problem,” said Barnwell County Council Member Daniel Alexander, who also serves on the SCAC board and helped plan the meeting. “We want the growth (in Barnwell County). How do we strike the balance? That’s going to be so important for South Carolina in the next 10 years.”  

Robinson encouraged attendees to study the SCAC 2024 Policy Positions and consider getting involved with policy steering committees in the future to make a collective difference.  

Costner plans to continue visiting counties across the state throughout 2024 as part of his tour to discuss challenges and opportunities.