Mitchelville supporters say they'll try again for state money after Haley veto

tbarton@islandpacket.comJuly 19, 2012 

  • Three other gubernatorial vetoes affecting Beaufort and Jasper counties were addressed Wednesday by the S.C. Senate.

    The Senate, at the urging of Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, voted to sustain Gov. Nikki Haley's two vetoes involving the proposed Jasper Ocean Terminal on the Savannah River.

    Haley had vetoed a proviso that would have decreased funding to the terminal's Joint Project Office, citing a desire to "quickly move the development of (the terminal) forward."

    The Senate sustained that veto 11-25.

    The Senate also sustained a related veto -- by a 7-29 vote -- of a proviso giving the S.C. Savannah River Maritime Commission powers Haley said would violate a previous intergovernmental agreement between South Carolina and Georgia.

    In lobbying fellow senators to sustain the vetoes -- both of which had been overridden by the House of Representatives -- Davis said the provisos would have critically damaged the port's prospects.

    He said he cut short a vacation to Italy with his wife to attend the veto session, which had originally been scheduled for mid-September.

    "It was critical that someone with a thorough understanding of the Jasper port be there to explain how the provisos would kill it," he said.

    The Senate also joined the House in overriding a veto that would have cut off funding for the certificate of need program operated by the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control.

    The program is at the heart of an ongoing dispute between Hilton Head Hospital and St. Joseph's/Candler Health System over an outpatient center the island hospital hopes to build in Bluffton.

    -- Staff writer Grant Martin

After losing $200,000 to Gov. Nikki Haley's veto, supporters of a plan to preserve Mitchelville vowed to try again next year.

Supporters of the Mitchelville Preservation Project said Thursday they intend to ask legislators to funnel money through state agencies rather than an earmark in the state budget.

"There's no question the state investment would pay for itself with the increased tourism that site will bring to the Lowcountry," Rep. Bill Herbkersman, R-Bluffton, said.

Attempts Thursday to reach Randy Dolyniuk, chairman of the Mitchelville Preservation Project, were unsuccessful.

The S.C. House of Representatives on Tuesday voted 49-62, sustaining Haley's line-item veto.

"We need to send a clear message now that we have learned from our past of pork-barrel spending," Haley said, according to The (Columbia) State newspaper.

Herbkersman objected Thursday to Haley's characterization of Mitchelville as pork-barrel spending.

"This is a state treasure, not a pet project," he said of the 150-year-old site on Hilton Head Island that was one of the first planned communities in the country for freed slaves. "I think she needed to drill a little bit further and find out what it was."

Herbkersman, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, believes supporters will have better luck next year pursuing the money through the Department of Archives and History or the Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism. That money would be set aside as part of overall spending by either agency as opposed to a separate item in the state budget, he said.

All of Beaufort County's House members voted to override Haley's veto.

Rep. Andy Patrick, R-Hilton Head, could not be reached for comment Thursday, but has said in the past he opposed Haley's veto and characterization of it as pork.

A two-thirds majority vote in both the House and Senate is required to override vetoes. Since the House failed to override, a vote in the S.C. Senate was unnecessary.

Related content

  1. Mitchelville Preservation Project
  2. Haley's vetoes cut state funding for Mitchelville project: July 6,2012
  3. Some vexed by Mitchelville's slow progress; group points to limited money: July 10, 2012

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