Lexington News Briefs

Former Lexington County Sheriff Due for Another Court Appearance

Plus, Town of Lexington Could Raise Franchise Fees

By Al Dozier
Friday, August 29, 2014
Former Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts is expected to make a public court appearance Sept. 3 for a pre-trial conference in federal court.

The pretrial conference in Columbia is a procedural hearing to determine any issues that need to be addressed before a trial. The court could consider any plea bargain agreements but so far none have been revealed.

Metts has pleaded not guilty to charges including bribery, conspiracy and wire fraud. Federal prosecutors say he allowed friends to buy favors, accepting cash in return for agreeing to assist people who were in the country illegally and who were being detained. He is now free on a $100,000 bond.

Jury selection for his trial is scheduled for Sept. 8, according to court officials.

Lexington Seeks to Boost Franchise Fees

At its Aug. 18 meeting, the Lexington Town Council voted to increase franchise fees charged to electric and gas utilities, a move expected to provide an additional $650,000 annually to the town’s revenues.

Town Council voted 6-1, with Councilman Ted Stambolitis in opposition, to pass first reading of an ordinance raising the franchise fee for electric and gas companies to the maximum amount of 5 percent. The current level is 3 percent.

A franchise fee is charged to companies for the use of public streets for their lines and cables. The increase could prompt utilities to absorb the cost by raising rates of their own customers.

Second and final reading of the measure is scheduled for September.

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