Georgetown City Council formalizes revocation of behavioral health center’s business license

Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 5:18 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2022 at 4:24 AM EDT
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GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Georgetown has approved a written order involving a behavioral health center that lost its license to operate in a vote last week.

Georgetown City Council voted 4-1 to formalize revoking Broadstep Behavioral Health Center’s business license. Last week, the center’s business license was revoked by a 6-1 vote citing public nuisance.

“I know our police chief; I know the city reached out,” Councilmember Al Joseph said. “I know the city did everything in our power to try to mitigate these issues that we’re having with Broadstep. It’s unfortunate that it got to the point, but it seemed to us – it seemed to me, I’ll say personally – that Broadstep didn’t reach out to us until the business license had been revoked.”

City Police Chief William Pierce said he asked the center’s license not to be renewed because they had received around 150 calls for service and 70 incident reports related to the facility in the past two years.

Pierce said these incidents included fights, disturbances and a sexual assault.

“I really just thought the evidence was overwhelming,” Joseph said about last week’s hearing. “It’s unfortunate. We’re talking about kids. That’s the main thing: to make sure the kids are taken care of, but the city’s case was strong.”

The South Carolina Department of Social Services said the children who live at the facility are victims of abuse or neglect by their families or caregivers.

Councilmember Hobson Milton was the sole vote against revoking the business license last week and Thursday’s written order.

“I think this is the price they’re making them pay,” Milton said. “I think what we should have done when we allowed them to come to the City of Georgetown, we should have done our homework. I don’t think the City of Georgetown did their homework. You know, you’re bringing kids that – troubled kids – you’re going to have problems. You’re going to have some trouble with them, but all the kids are not bad.”

Broadstep attorney Lewis Gossett said over the phone the children are still living at the 32-bed facility off Highmarket Street, but they are not adding any more to the facility because of the business license revocation.

Gossett said the children’s daily lives are continuing as normal for now as the process moves forward.

“I think on both sides, the city and Broadstep, there was a lack of communication,” Milton said. “I think of what’s fair for the kids, so that’s why I voted against it.”

When asked about the children’s future, DSS said “the agency is currently formulating a plan with involved parties and has no further comment.”

“I hope the kids are able to be relocated and relocated very quickly,” Joseph said. “I hope they will be relocated to a facility that will put their needs first and make sure they’re taken care of in all ways, which is what we would have hoped for with this facility, as well.”

Following Thursday’s vote, the city attorney said the written order will be served to Broadstep over the coming days.

Gossett said his client is still undecided on a potential appeal to the circuit court. If they do not appeal, he said DSS will start finding new licensed facilities for the children who currently live at the center.

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