News Briefs

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SC Forestry Commission bans outdoor burning statewide

The South Carolina Forestry Commission issued a statewide outdoor burning ban that went into effect Tuesday, April 7.

The ban prohibits yard debris burns; forestry, wildlife or agricultural burns (also known as prescribed, or controlled, burns); and campfires and other types of recreational open burning.

After consulting with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, State Forester Scott Phillips ordered the statewide burning ban in the interest of public safety amid the current public health threat posed by the COVID-19 virus.

Not only can smoke exacerbate the symptoms of those who have contracted the virus, but it also can trigger underlying respiratory issues in otherwise unaffected individuals, which could result in symptoms similar to those the COVID-19 virus is known to cause, according to the Forestry Commission.

The ban will stay in effect until further notice from the South Carolina Forestry Commission.

County Auditor adjusts deadlines 

The Beaufort County Auditor has announced that because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and following guidance from the South Carolina Department of Revenue, deadlines have been extended for the following:

Business personal property returns for furniture, fixtures, and equipment and rentals are now due no later than June 1.

Motor vehicle bills will be sent out as normal; however the South Carolina DMV has waived all late fees for non-commercial vehicles with registrations that expire in March through May. The new due date is July 1.

Watercraft and motor bills (not documented vessels) that are due in May will have a due date of June 30. Bills due in June will have a due date of July 30.

Bills from the Beaufort County Auditor’s Office are mailed 45 days before they’re due, which gives taxpayers more than 60 days to pay without any late fees. For more information, please contact the Beaufort County Auditor’s Office at auditor@bcgov.net or 843-255-2500.

Cunningham introduces Pandemic Hazard Pay Expansion Act

Rep. Joe Cunningham (SC-1) introduced the Pandemic Hazard Pay Expansion Act, critical legislation that would expand hazard duty pay to uniformed servicemembers whose duties put them at risk of exposure to a pandemic disease in a Public Health Emergency, including COVID-19 response. Currently, hazard pay is available to servicemembers if the service secretary determines their duty is inherently dangerous and risks physical injury. Cunningham’s bill would expand hazard pay to servicemembers whose duties involve frequent exposure to a cause of a public health emergency.

Convenience Centers close for Easter

All Convenience Centers will be closed Sunday, April 12, in observance of Easter Sunday, but will resume regular schedules Monday, April 13. Residents are encouraged to check their local center for official operating hours and should plan accordingly. For more information, please contact the County’s Solid Waste and Recycling Section at 843-255-2736 or visit www.beaufortcountysc.gov/recycle.

LRTA elects Bluffton’s Zellman as chair

The Board of Directors of the Lowcountry Regional Transportation Authority (LRTA), operators of Palmetto Breeze Transit and The Breeze Trolley, recently elected Susan Zellman of Bluffton as Chairman for 2020-2022. Zellman, who resides in Sun City, is one of three representatives on the LRTA Board from Beaufort County. She has served on the LRTA Board since 2016. 

SC LLR extends renewal deadlines

Effective immediately, the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR) is extending the license renewal deadline for licenses, registrations, and permits scheduled to renew during the months of April, May, June, July, and August. The new renewal deadline is extended to Sept. 30, 2020.

“We recognize the toll that this virus is taking on South Carolinians, and we are committed to doing all that we can to support them during these challenging times,” Gov. Henry McMaster said.