Group of Richland, Lexington citizens want to form new county - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Group of Richland, Lexington citizens want to form new county

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CHAPIN, SC (WIS) -

A group of citizens in Richland and Lexington counties are looking to break off from the counties and create a county of their own.

According to an advertisement placed in the Irmo News, a community newspaper for Irmo residents, the group, Citizens for Birch County, wants to form the new county.

Why?

"Freedom," says the ad, "freedom from government that taxes too much and listens too little."

The group wants to form a new county government in hopes of "doing away with the waste, inefficiency, and corruption plaguing some Midlands counties."

As for the name, members of the group say Birch comes from a combination of Ballentine, Irmo, and Chapin.

Among those intrigued is former state GOP Executive Director Scott Malyerck.

Malyerck says it's been a while, but people in other parts of the state have successfully formed their own counties. But this effort, which he says has a few dozen supporters, is so new that no one has yet come up with proposed boundaries.

It has drawn the attention of at least one state lawmaker. On his web site, Rep. Nathan Ballentine notes a number of steps that would have to be taken to establish Birch County. They include getting a third of the registered voters within the boundaries to sign a petition. The governor would have to call a special election, and the proposal would have to gain approval of two thirds of registered voters and the Justice Department.

The group is looking to hold public meetings in the coming months to gauge interest.

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