By David Meade
Williamston Town Council approved a pay increase, discussed two issues related to the Gatewood subdivision, approved use of the park for a new spring festival and authorized an agreement to allow off duty Williamston police officers to work traffic control at Lee Steam Station. The February meeting was held Monday (Feb. 8).
Council approved second reading on an ordinance to increase the mayor and council salaries. The increase will place the salaries back to the level prior to reductions made during a financial crisis the town suffered about ten years ago. The mayor’s salary will be set at $2000 per month. Councilmembers will receive $600 per month. The change will go into effect in January of 2017.
The ordinance was approved 3-2 with councilmembers David Harvell and Otis Scott opposed. Tony Hagood, Rockey Burgess and Mayor Mack Durham were in favor of the change which was suggested by Burgess last month.
The Gatewood Subdivision continues to be an ongoing topic of discussion for the town.
At the request of residents of the neighborhood, a newly paved entrance to Gatewood from Williams Street initially disignated as Ridge Court Extension, is being renamed Brock Lane.
Council has approved first reading on re-naming it Brock Lane, in honor of a long time neighborhood resident Curtis Wayne Brock.
Another request was received that it be named Wayne Brock Lane. Before approving second reading on the name change, Attorney Lee Cole said he will need to check with 911 and the County to make sure the change does not conflict with any other street names in the county.
Also related to Gatewood was discussion concerning an ordinance restricting truck traffic in the subdivision.
Council was considering an ordinance to address the restriction, however according to Councilman Burgess, the town already has an ordinance in effect which prohibits transfer trucks in residential areas if posted. Burgess recommended putting up a sign.
Gatewood residents have requested the town restrict truck traffic through their neighborhood, particularly a truck transporting leachate from the Anderson Regional Landfill for treatment at Williamston’s Waste Water Treatment Plant.
Due to road problems at the original Mill Street entrance to the subdivision, the trucks have been temporarily dumping into a manhole outside the subdivision.
There was considerable discussion about the town accepting the leachate and the revenue that it brings in.
Mayor Durham said the revenue helps manage the sewer system and rates would have to go up if the town stopped accepting the leachate. “We would have to go up citywide,” he said.
The mayor also pointed out that some trucks have to go in to the plant for normal operations.
Burgess pointed out concerns associated with the trucks including dumping during all hours, trucks on neighborhood roads with children in the area and damage to road surfaces. “The residents do not want those trucks in there.” Burgess said.
The councilman recommended to continue with research needed to fix the front entrance so it can be used for the leachate truck access to the WWTP. “We have an obligation to keep those trucks out of the neighborhood.”
Burgess suggested that since it is a revenue generator, the town could consider bonding out a project to fix the original entrance and suggested the town approve funding for a $30,000 study that is needed to proceed with the project and apply for funding from the C Fund Committee in June.
Durham said that the new roadway was to be used for a short term plan and the plan was to eventually have a segregated entrance. “During the interim,” he said, “the roadway will be used.”
Following the discussion, Burgess made a motion to table the issue.
Council approved a request by Rebecca McKinney for use of Mineral Spring Park for a new spring festival.
McKinney said they would like to have the festival on April 30, to help raise awareness for the Farmers Market which opens the following Thursday.
The festival, which has not been named yet, will be geared toward plants, seeds and gardens, she said.
McKinney organizes the Farmers Market during the spring and summer and the Homestead Festival in the fall.
Council unanimouosly approved first reading on a revised ordinance for use of the Municipal Center.
The town does have an ordinance on the use, however according to Town Attorney Lee Cole, it has not been codified. According to Councilman Burgess, town employees in the front office do not have a clear guideline for use of the facilities. The new ordinance will set clear “barebones” guidelines for use and upkeep and allow council to make changes in rates if needed by a resolution.
Burgess has been working with the ordinance review committee on the issue.
Council also approved first reading on a new prowling ordinance that will help the police department with certain burglary situations. Police Chief Tony Taylor said the ordinance “helps us out alot with tools to work with on burglaries.”
The ordinance defines prowling stating that it is unlawful for any person to enter the premises of another, except to approach the front entrance and make presence known. It also defines certain exceptions such as public utility or emergency personnel and a proximity of 200 feet.
Council approved a resolution allowing the Williamston Police Department to work with Flour Enterprises, Inc. for traffic control at the W. S. Lee Steam Station.
The agreement allows off duty Williamston officers to have extra income while helping with traffic at the entrance to the facility.
According to Chief Taylor, the SC Highway Patrol and Anderson County Sheriff’s Office have granted juridictional access for the agreement.
The off duty officers will be in full uniform and will be paid $35 an hour an hour for two hours. They will also be covered under the town’s worker’s comp, he said.
Council approved a resolution to sell a used unmarked 2000 police vehicle to West Pelzer for $1000. According to Chief Taylor, the vehicle has more than 100,000 miles and will not have any emergency equipment on it. “We were going to deadline the vehicle,” he said.
During the meeting Council went into executive session to discuss a personnel matter which councilman Burgess said he had been notified of just before the meeting.
The executive session lasted approximately 35 minutes.
Upon returning to regular session, there was no related discussion. Council then held second reading on an ordinance to increase the mayor and council salaries.