Williamston Town Council approves $3.99 million budget

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By David Meade

Williamston Town Council approved the 2013-2014 budget Monday, this time with funding for the Main St. SC revitalization program. The budget passed on second reading with a 3-2 vote after Mayor Mack Durham made a motion to pass it including $78,043 for the revitalization program. Mayor Durham, Councilman Tony Hagood and Councilman Rockey Burgess were in favor. Councilmen David Harvell and Otis Scott were opposed (See separate story). First reading on the budget was unanimously approved at the last meeting of council after Scott made a motion to remove the funding, a point he wanted clarified in the minutes at the start of the June 2 meeting.

No one spoke during a public hearing held prior to the vote.

In addition to the Main St. revitalization program (see separate story), the budget also allows for new equipment including three new vehicles for the Police Dept.; a brush truck for the Fire Department; a backhoe for the Sewer Dept.; E-waste dumpster for the Sanitation Dept. and new Municipal Court software.

The General Fund budget projects revenues of $2,258,704 to expenses of $2,258,704. The Water Department is budgeted at $852,500 while the Sewer Department has a budget of $879,500.

Council amended the agenda to allow a vote on wording for a plaque the Williamston Area Historic Commission (WAHC) plans to place in the Mineral Spring Park honoring Dr. Dwight Smith.

A new member of the Williamston Police Department was sworn in. Lt. Kenneth Ebernickle joins the department replacing Captain Jay Grubbs who recently resigned. Police Chief Tony Taylor said Ebernickle brings a lot of experience to the department with background in homicide investigation, internal affairs and as a uniform patrol officer.

Council also unanimously approved second reading on an ordinance to prohibit smoking in workplaces and recreational areas and an ordinance allowing fire pits and certain fireworks in the town.

Council agreed to a change in juror pay, from $8 a day to $10 per day with no mileage. Mayor Durham said the town was establishing jury trials for defendants.

Jason Simms was approved as a new member of the town’s Planning Commission. Simms is a professionally licensed engineer and had agreed to serve in the position, councilman Burgess said.

Council unanimously approved a proclamation honoring Louise H. Pressley. Pressley, who recently turned 85, will be honored at Flat Rock Baptist Church on June 16.

Council also approved a resolution to the Anderson County Transportation Committee (ACTC) to request paving of several streets including Mattison, Ellison and Hill Avenue. Anderson St. and additional paving on Mattison were added to the request after Councilman Scott asked for Anderson St. to be added and there was discussion on Mattison. The request also includes replacing a concrete pipe on Dove St.

Council unanimously approved the purchase of two new Scag mowers to replace 2 Exmark mowers. Cost on the purchase is $7,300 each which will come from the Hospitality Tax fund.

During council comments, Scott said he had several requests from residents of the mill village to have tall grass in town owned alleyways cut.

Durham said the Main St. SC program was “one important step” for the town and that the town is trying to provide progressive and positive leadership.

Burgess said the Party in the Park event sponsored by the GWBA, the town and others was a huge success. “The money was very well spent in my opinion,” he said.

Durham said the ParkFest event honoring first responders included “a very good ceremony honoring those who serve in our community.”