One of the county’s largest businessmen, who has moved into the role of a government watchdog, said he is going to “lay to rest” his criticism of county finances after 18 months of questioning unearthed much worse conditions than the the commissioner’s office would originally acknowledge.
Gary Copeland, who has overseen some of the largest developments in the county including the area where Piedmont Mountainside and adjacent doctors’ building sits, said when he first began attending public hearings for Pickens County, the general tale was that county finances were in great shape, very little debt and most could be paid off quickly.
But the further he pressed former county CFO Mechelle Champion and then sole commissioner Rob Jones, the more overspending showed up and the more debt. Ultimately it appeared that at the end of 2012 the county had a debt of $22 million and had overspent a total of $19 million in the past eight years. Figures released Tuesday by the county show just over $17 million in debt at the end of 2013.
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