No change in government, no water bill credits in near future

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In Williamston

By David Meade

A proposal to change the form of government in Williamston has been dropped and water customers will not be seing a bill credit, at least for now. During their regular monthly meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council acted on several agenda items postponed from the last meeting and decided to move forward on new way-finding signs.

Council also heard several reports and presentations:

Main Street Williamston Director Caroline Alex reported that banners have been placed along Main Street and that event banners are being ordered for Boo in the Park. The organization has had 61.5 volunteer hours recorded for the month. The organization sold 22 more Historic Williamston T-shirts at recent events, she said.

Alex has been working with the town’s Planning Commission on the sign ordinance and will be attending more training in Summerville soon.

Police Chief Tony Taylor reported the police department will hold their first Citizens Academy on Sept. 20. The one day event will provide an overview of policing.

He said the department also plans to coordinate with DJJ for public service car wash at an upcoming Homestead Festival event.

Taylor said the department recently had training with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

CERT Coordinator Dean Harbert and CERT Training Officer Blake Sharp presented information to Council about the program, which has about 60 volunteer and mounted personnel.

Harbert said the organization is a FEMA program which trains people to take care of themselves. CERT supports the Anderson County Technical Rescue Team and the Sheriff’s Office.

CERT will be offering a class for anyone interested in the program beginning on Sept. 30. (See separate story this issue)

Councilman David Harvell reported the Williamston Fire Department has received a Class 3 ISO rating. Mayor Durham said, “It is an exceptional achievement by our fire deapartment because they are a volunteer organization. It will pay great dividends for us, especially on economic development.”

Anderson County Treasurer Jason Phillips presented information to council about adding abatement costs to tax bills with a tax lien.

He said the town can add a fee to a tax bill if the town can certifiy the cost associated with the work that was done.

He cautioned that demolition of large structures with larger sums of money were often hard to recoup.

Bill Credit or Filter

There was considerable discussion about providing a water credit to the town’s water customers.

Councilman Rockey Burgess said he would like to provide a $10 water credit to customers and $25 to restaurants, to make up for recent water taste and odor problems.

Mayor Durham presented an alternative option of providing a water filter pitcher to residents.

After discussion about the filters and the quality of water being provided from the Anderson Regional Joint Water System, Mayor Durham said he was sensitive to the issues and wanted to make a gesture to the community. He said “a cash credit is not really a solution” and that the filter was “a solution based gesture.”

Councilman Otis Scott said that the water is being supplied from the Anderson Regional Joint Water and that the town was not responsible for the problems.

Councilman Burgess said the credit amount was “very small in the scheme of things” and said he wanted to treat the town’s water customers “as customers.”

He also said he was expecting more informtaion on the purchase price of the filters. Since that was not available for the meeting, he made a motion to proceed with the credits. The motion by Burgess died for lack of a second.

Mayor Durham then made a motion to table the issue which was approved 4-1 with Burgess opposed.

Signs

Planning Commission member Marion Middleton Jr. presented information and a recommendation regarding the way-finding signs and the sign ordinance.

The Commission recommended the town proceed with three signs to be located at Main and Academy, Hamilton and Greenville Drive and one at Minor St. and West Main.

The new signs will address an issue of several businesses located off Main St. and their ability to direct customers to their location.

Middleton suggested the town get quotes and specs for the way finding signs. Council unanimously agreed to proceed with the project.

Historic Commission Issues

Jonathan Fowler presented information about projects the Williamston Historic Commission would like to see undertaken.

Fowler said the organization would like the town to redesignate Gossett Drive as James P. Gossett Drive. He said they would also like to have a history trail with information kiosks or markers along the street from the park to the Artory, Gossett School and Cemetery.

Council unanimously gave consent to Fowler to proceed with the project and to bring details and costs back to them at a later date.

Fowler also addressed the issue of a proposed museum. Fowler said the Historic Commisssion recommended the town’s museum be housed with the Anderson County Museum, because they have the materials and expertise to take care of documents and other items. To supplement the county museum display, he suggested that photos could be displayed at a location to be decided in Williamston.

Council approved a resolution designating the third Saturday in September as Founder’s Day.

Business Actions

Council unanimously approved sending out Requests For Qualification (RFQ) to obtain a pool of qualified service providers for lawn care and nuisance abatement.

Burgess questioned where necessary funding would come from. Mayor Durham said the funding will come out of the General Fund.

Council agreed to remove lettering from the former National Guard Armory building. Mayor Durham and Councilman Burgess both indicated they would like to see the letters reused in some way.

Council went into executive session for approximately 15 minutes to hear legal advice from the town attorney regarding a donation of property on Shirley Drive to the town.

Upon returning to open session, Councilman Otis Scott made a motion to table the issue regarding the lots, which was unanimously approved.

Council unanimously approved a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the possible sale of the old water tank property on West Main St.

The MOU gives the mayor authority to enter into a contingent contract for the sale of the property and requires a majority vote of council.Council approved a request by the Palmetto Area Cultural Arts Center to hold a Family Glow Run on Oct. 31. The 1/2 mile fun run will be held in the vicinity of the park.

Council unanimously approved a motion made by Councilman Scott to table the issue of changing the form of government.

Council approved a request for a 5K run to benefit the Palmetto High Band to be held on Hamilton St.

Council also agreed to accept a legal settlement in the amount of $6988 from Shaw Hauling Inc. for damage to a fire hydrant earlier this year.