Williamston Town Council approves first reading on budget; eliminates petition requirement for candidates

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Williamston Town Council approved first reading on the 2020-21 budget, eliminated the petition requirement for the upcoming election and extended the suspension of the hospitality tax during a meeting held May 4 at Town Hall. Only the mayor, town council members, town attorney and town clerk and one reporter were present. The meeting was streamed on social media to allow the public to watch.
There was no discussion on the $ 5.4 million budget, which was approved unanimously. The General Fund includes revenues and expenses of $3,281,902; Water Fund $1,066,600 and Sewer Fund $1,066,250. (Details of the budget will be covered in a future article in The Journal)
In other action, Council approved a resolution for Anderson County Transportation Committee (ACTC) funding for paving of Mauldin, Anderson and Bigby Streets.
Council approved $45,875 for a sewer project on Belton Drive. The project includes 200 feet of line on the project at Belton Drive and Circle Drive, which was excluded from the original grant.
Council approved an election ordinance for the municipal election to be held Nov. 3, 2020 along with the general election. Open seats will include the Mayor’s seat, Town Council Ward 3 seat and Council Ward 4 seat.
Before approving the election ordinance, Councilman Chris Alexander proposed eliminating the requirement for a petition with signatures. Mayor Durham was opposed to the change and said “It is important vetting process for candidates and does take time. It is a tremendous opportunity to meet the community.” Durham said he thinks the change will also increase the possibility of runoffs.
The amendment to the election ordinance and the final election ordinance was approved 4-1 with the mayor opposed on both votes.
Council unanimously approved an extension of the temporary suspension of the town’s 2 percent hospitality tax on local restaurants. The emergency ordinance is now through June 17. Councilman Tony Hagood and Councilman Rockey Burgess both said they had restaurant owners tell them the gesture helped tremendously during the current COVID-19 situation.
Council also approved the purchase of a lot on Mineral Spring Park Lane from Debbie Walker/Living Trust for $8,500.