By David Meade
During their first meeting of the new year, Williamston Town Council heard from three residents, recognized the Palmetto High Cheerleaders for their 3A State Championship and approved final reading on garbage fee increase and a new requirement for business license for vendors at events.
Awards were presented for Deck the Halls and Christmas Park displays.
Following the recognitions, council approved second reading on two ordinances and then went into executive session to discuss two contract issues.
During public comments Terry Fagan expressed concerns about recently installed radio read water meters causing problems for residents without an expansion valve.
Bonnie McCullough raised concerns about crime and gunfire in the Carolina Street area not being addressed by the town. McCullough said there have been more shootings and police are not being seen in the area, and if they are they pass quickly by.
“It appears we are not getting the support we are asking for.”
Mayor Mack Durham said “We can do everything the law allows us to do to fight this.”
Chief Tony Taylor stated that the area has a history of crime and even after arrests are made, the criminals are out on bond and back in the area where they live.
He said the town had attempted job fairs and other community involvement but it has not helped.
Even after responses and assurances by the mayor and police chief that the town and police department are addressing the situation, McCullough said residents of other parts of town do not have to live with the kinds of problems Carolina Street has.
Mable Slade said she is worried about the gun violence and why landlords are allowed to continue to rent to these people?”
“Something has got to be done,” she said. “The situation with my son hasn’t stopped. Somebody has got to do something. This neighborhood is being terrorized.”
Envision Williamston Executive Director Sonya Crandall reported the organization has nine applicants for the second round of the facade grant program and ten entries submitted for the mural contest.
She reported that there will be two grand openings of businesses including Blondie and Flo’s on Friday and Soups and Beans on Feb. 8.
A calendar of events will be released soon and EW had a limited amount of 2018 calendars available for anyone who wants one. The calendar has pictures from Envision Williamston events and activities over the previous year.
Debbie Chapman gave a year end report on codes enforcement.
The 3A State Champion Palmetto High Cheerleaders were recognized with a resolution by Town Council.
The Mustangs are back to back State Champions and were undefeated in their 2016 regular season, and also won the Region Championship, the AAA Upper State Championship and the AAA State Championship.
In 2017, they won six cheer competitions, competing against 5A schools. They also won grand Championships at the Liberty Diamond L. Cheer Classic, the Easley Green Wave Invitational, the Carolina Cheer Classic at Palmetto High and the T. L. Hanna Classic, earning higher scores than all other schools in all other divisions. They went on to win the 3A Region and, Upper State and State Cheerleading Championship.
Coach Carol Brooks said, “They are very young team and back to back undefeated. They are some amazing athletes. They are scholars, hard workers and dedicated. The Town of Williamston should be very poud of this incredible team.”
Brooks said they train three to four hour per day, and added that “the off season training begins tomorrow.”
A video of the state champion winning performance was shown during the presentation.
During their business portion of the meeting, Council approved second reading amending the garbage collection fee with an increase to $10 for residents. Outside town residents will be charged $15 for the service.
Council also approved second reading on an ordinance establishing a temporary business license for vendors at events. All vendors will be required to have a one day license costing $20.
Council then went into executive session to discuss a contractural agreement. The session lasted about 30 minutes.
When asked to be more specific on the reason for the secret session, Mayor Durham said it was to discuss leasing the armory building. It was also noted that council was to discuss an “entertainment contract.”
After returning to open session, there was no discussion or explanation of what was discussed and no action taken.
When asked about the entertainment contract after the meeting, Mayor Durham said there was no “contract” however the town is allowing an individual to hold an event in the newly renovated auditorium, which Durham said the town is sponsoring.
According to Durham, the event is the upcoming performance of nationally known comedian James Gregory.
According to Durham, the event will have food and drinks available and all proceeds will go to the town. He said the town is not paying the person coordinating the event and that it will not cost the town any out of pocket money. The event is a ticketed event and is being promoted on social media.
Durham said he hopes to have more entertainment events held in the town’s recently renovated auditorium.
By David Meade