By David Meade
During their first meeting of 2012, Williamston Town Council approved a bid for the Brookdale Park Restroom project, gave the go ahead for a barbecue cookoff festival and announced plans for a new tax credit for businesses that improve their facade.
Before doing any business, Council went into executive session to discuss a personel issue and a possible contract, according to Mayor Carthel Crout.
Upon returning to regular session, Crout said no action was taken.
Council then opened and approved the lone bid for the Brookdale Park restroom project.
Councilman David Harvell opened the only bid received by the Dec. 31 deadline set by the town at the last council meeting. A second bid which was received after the stated deadline was not considered.
The bid of $44,800 by Martin Builders, Inc. of Williamston was approved with a 5-0 vote. (Note: See Correction Above)
Council also approved a motion by Mayor Crout to bid out a security camera system for Mineral Spring Park and other areas of town. The vote was 4-1 with Looper opposed. Council received information during an indepth presentation on a camera system and wi-fi at their December meeting. Specs from that system will be used in the bid process, according to Crout.
Council unanimously approved a request by W. L. Cantrell to allow the third Pig in the Park Barbecue Festival to be held May 18 and 19 in Mineral Spring Park. Crout said $5,000 funding request was in the current budget.
Council unanimously approved a change in a portion of the trash ordinance to eliminate curbside pickup for recycleables. Crout said the town no longer provides the service and the ordinance should be amended to reflect this. The town now provides a recycle bin for town residents who wish to recycle. The bin is located behind the Municipal Center.
Mayor Crout announced the town is in the process of looking at an economic development program that will allow local businesses who upgrade their facade to receive a tax break. Crout said that attorneys are working on wording for a document explaining how the credit will work. He said the credit will be local and federal. The program is expected to be considered at the next meeting of council.
During public comments, Phillip Clardy raised two issues involving what he said is a conflict of interest and improper use of grant funds.
Clardy said that there is a conflict of interest with the town election commission chairman, Rocky Burgess serving in that position and on the town’s planning commission and his company being paid to install electronics communication equipment for the town.
According to Clardy, Burgess’ business, Autec, has been paid $10,500, of which $7,000 was from a grant which he said was to purchase 20 walkie-talkies. Clardy also accussed the town of not taking bids on the purchase.
Pamela Owens requested the town consider purchasing a swing and slide for children ages 2 to 5 years for the Gray Drive Park.
Williamston Police Chief Jay Grubbs announced that Officer Tim Striss had been promoted to Lieutenant and will serve as the night shift command supervisor for the Wililamston Police Department. He also introduced Jesse Harris who has been named as the town’s codes enforement officer. Harris’ position will be temporary while Sgt. Brewer is on active duty with the military according to Mayor Crout.
Mayor Crout also took the liberty of responding to concerns brought up during public comments.
According to the mayor, the town spent the grant money in question for radios but did not use all of the money. He said a letter was sent to the grant source requesting that the balance of the money be used for a recording device for incoming phone calls at the police department.
No bids were taken on the radios because they were purchased through a state contract. Crout said no bids were taken on the recording equipment because the price was less than the $10,000 limit in the town’s purchasing policy at which bids are required.
Concerning the conflict of interest involivng the election commission chair, Crout said that the town attorney advised that there is no conflict of interest because the position held by Burgess is not an elected office position and if not a paid position and does not conflict with work his company may do for the town.