Williamston Council hears updates on projects, activities

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By David Meade – Managing Editor

Williamston Town Council heard reports on the police reserve program, safety awareness, the new fire truck, MLK street naming and infrastructure projects during their meeting Monday.

Williamston Police Chief Tony Taylor reported the police department has six reserve officers who are going through training at the Criminal Justice Academy and that a retired FBI agent is assisting the department.

Taylor said the Community Action Network is reaching out to the Latino community and are planning a unity day in Mineral Spring Park on Nov. 9. The group is also working on a Facebook site and offering training for a Neighborhood Watch program. The resident police academy the department is planning will begin in January, he said.

Councilman David Harvell reported that the Fire Department is offering classes at two churches as part of October safety awareness.

The classes highlight misuse of 911 calls for EMS and the fire department. He said there is also a project to provide two AED medical devises for patrol officers. Harvell said the town’s emergency responders are also training for school crisis situations and intruder/shooter incident at the schools. Harvell said a red phone is available in the police department lobby for citizens needing police assistance to reach an officer. The phone connects directly to 911, he said.

Williamston Fire Chief Steve Ellison reported fire department members will travel to Atlanta on October 23 to inspect a new fire truck and make any necessary changes. They will go back Nov. 8 to take delivery on the new vehicle. Ellison said he also recently applied for a $1700 refund on radios purchased by the department.

Williamston EMS Chief Joe Barr reported he had applied for an AED grant through AnMed.

Williamston Councilman Tony Hagood reported that the committee working on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. street renaming for Greenville Dr. had come up with an alternate street to honor the Civil Rights leader. According to Hagood, the committee contacted family members of Earl Wooten, who he said have “no desire to surrender any portion” of the Hwy. 20 through Williamston, which is already designated the “Earl Wooten Highway.” The committee will look into naming a portion of Hamilton St. as an alternative he said.

Councilman Rockey Burgess reported that there are some town ordinances that are not enforceable and need tweaking. Burgess is working with the police chief and attorney Lee Cole to make language on some ordinances more clear. One which needs work is the town’s sign ordinance which Burgess said is “as clear as mud.”

Town Water Dept. Head David Rogers reported that Beaverdam water line project had been completed and was approved by DHEC Monday. He said the tap to the Anderson Joint Regional Water System main line to Williamston was turned on this week, resulting in increased pressure from 20-40 lbs. to 80 lbs. per house. The project increased water pressure to 50 residents served by the town’s water system who have lived with low water pressure since the subdivision was contructed in the 1980s.

Rogers also reported that the Academy St. project had run into more rock on the Milliken side which was slowing completion. Workers have approximately 300 ft. to complete the 1500 ft. line upgrade. Mayor Mack Durham said the town is meeting Thursday with officials of the company doing the work to discuss an extension on the completion deadline.

Homestead Festival organizer Rebecca McKinney reported that the festival was “enormouslyy successful for the vendors” and that as many as 3000 people may have attended. Classes held during the event had as many as 30 to 40 people in them, she said. (See separate story)