Williamston Town Council hears reports on GIS mapping project

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By David Meade
During their meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council approved second reading on four ordinances including Regulations for Use of the Municipal Center, Alcoholic Beverage Regulations, and changes to the Purchasing Policy, and establishment of an Economic Development Incentive Program and heard an update on a GIS mapping project for infrastructure and making the information digitally accessible.
The ordinance on Use of the Municipal Center establishes guidelines and prices for use of the various meeting rooms, kitchen and auditorium facilities.

The ordinance addressing Alcohol Beverage Regulations brings the town’s ordinance into compliance with state law and eliminates duplicating sections.
Town ordinances previously banned possession of alcohol on any town property. The amended ordinance allows alcohol at wedding receptions and other events at town hall but requires paid security to be present. The ordinance was approved 4-1 with Harvell opposed.
Council unanimously approved second reading amending the town Purchasing Policy, removing references to an administrator and allowing department heads more leeway on smaller purchases.
The policy states bid procedures for various levels of purchases from $500 to $9999.
Anything over $10,000 must go through a formal bid process with advertisement in a local newspaper and must be approved by council in a public meeting.
Council approved an ordinance establishing an Economic Development Incentive Program to encourage business or development consistent with the Town’s adopted Master Plan.
The provision allows the town to give grants to potential economic development projects and to private parties if the project has a public benefit. The ordinance allows the mayor to enter into economic development discussions on incentives, however any incentives offered will have to be approved by council.
Council heard a report from Paul Hammer on a GIS project he has been working on for the town for two years. The project maps town infrastructure including water and sewer lines, valves, man holes, fire hydrants and the electrical system and other infrastructure in the park.
Hammer presented details on some of the infrastructure and stated that the information is being coordinated with GIS to provide a “hands on map” and includes scanned original documents, all of which will be available in digital form.
He said some drawings from the 1930s have been scanned and are included.Also original drawings of electrical layouts placed in the park in the 1950s are included as well as updated information.
In addition to park facilities and infrastructure, the information included in the project can be used by the police department and fire department for public safety.
The program provides “A very nice tool” which can be used by the town, DHEC and other entities in planning for new subdivisions, businesses or for checking infrastructure such as water pressure and other requirements.
Council also briefly discussed purchasing a new packer truck and cans for the street department. The purchase will be discussed further in upcoming budget worksessions before being voted on by council.
Council approved a Fair Housing Resolution and a resolution addressing property owner liability for the Adopt a Rest Stop program.
Mayor Mack Durham said council will hold a budget worksession later in April and that he had talked with school district officials about development of recreation. The mayor also said that they will be looking at improvements for Mineral Spring Park, Brookdale Park and the Municipal Center.