Mayor Mack Durham presides over last official council meeting

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Williamston Mayor Mack Durham, who has served two terms, presided over his last council meeting Monday and it was also the last meeting for longtime councilman David Harvell, who decided not to seek reelection to another term.

Two special presentations were made during the meeting and winners of the Envision Williamston Scarecrow contest were announced.

Longtime Councilman David Harvell (above) was recognized and thanked for his service to the town. He was presented a plaque of appreciation along with several framed photos.

 

Mayor Mack Durham was also presented a plaque of appreciation by Jack Ellenburg and his social media group. Durham said, “It has been a passionate service on behalf of me and my family. I am waiting to see what God has for me next.” “I will be involved in the town,” he said. “Williamston has a very bright future.”

 

 

 

Envision Williamston Scarecrow contest winners were also announced and some that attended were presented plaques.
2020 Scarecrow winners were:
Best Overall-Hillcrest Baptist Church
Business: First Place-Community First Bank, Second Place-ACE Hardware
Organization: First Place-Hillcrest Baptist Church, Second Place- Tied (make two second place awards) Faith Food Bank and Golden Years Jamboree
Individual/Family: First Place-Tony and Fran Cooley, Second Place-James and Kathleen Cotton, and Third Place-Casey and Jessica Poore

Jessica and Morris Tasman announced that they plan to open a new restaurant, Sugar Magnolia Southern Cafe in Williamston soon. The restaurant is opening in the building formerly occupied by Kenny’s.
They will offer classic southern food, ecletic sandwiches, soups and baked goods.

Goodwill manager Gary Partridge thanked the town and community for support of their grand opening. He also explained that in addition to the thrift store, Goodwill offers a job connection service that has put more than 11,000 people to work since the coronavirus pandemic began earlier this year. Ninety six percent of those were placed outside of the Goodwill organization, he said. “We put people back to work.”
The Pelzer Goodwill location is part of the Upstate/Midlands Goodwill Industries.
They provide certified training programs to help people start careers in Retail, Food Service, Certified Nurse Aides, Forklift Operators and CDL-certified drivers. They also help with skills, and identifying barriers that keep people from being employed.

Ninety cents of every dollar donated goes to the mission he said.

“We are very proud to have 29 job connections and a volunteer board,” Partridge said. “We know these communities have been hit pretty hard because of COVID.”

Sherri Cole announced that the Williamston Christmas Parade will be held this Saturday, Dec. 12 at 3PM.

Registration forms are available online and at town hall.
“We are still looking for someone to carry the flag and banner,” Cole said.

Mayor Durham thanked Cole. “We appreciate you carrying on with this.”
Durham reminded those planning to attend to practice social distancing and other COVID related guidelines and enjoy Christmas 2020.

During the business portion of the meeting, second reading was held on an ordinance adopting flood prevention regulations; an ordinance adopting a flood insurance study and an ordinance authorizing an Intergovernmental Agreement with Anderson County regarding flood prevention.
Council approved a resolution authorizing to accept a $10,000 PARD grant and to provide a local match.

Council approved an ordinance to convey property at Brock Lane and Ridge Court to Shannon L. Kinman and Melissa Kinman.
Durham said the property, which is owned by the town, is being deeded to the Kinmans due to a dispute as to the exact location of the property line. He said the Kinmans may have built improvements on the town’s property.
The Town acquired the property to build Brock Lane. A strip of the property is being conveyed and the town will retain a road right of way easement for Brock Lane.
Councilman (mayor-elect) Rockey Burgess at first had questions about the situation and asked that it be tabled, but proceeded after receiving additional information. Burgess stated that the town had already paid $500 for stain for a fence and cut down a tree on the property, which is being deeded.
Council approved the ordinance with a 4-1 vote with councilman Burgess not in favor.

Council approved a request for the Rise Against Cancer balloon event to return to Williamston on Labor Day weekend, Sept 3-6, 2021.

Council also unanimously approved a request by Fire Chief Steve Ellison to have a back up pumper and building expansion approved as a future project. Mayor Durham said the project may be included in budget discussion in the spring.

During Council comments, Burgess thanked Mayor Durham for his leadership for the last eight years. He said he hoped Durham “won’t be a stranger and is always welcome.”
Mayor Durham said he will be involved in things.

Mayor Durham, in his last official council meeting as mayor, gave a closing statement addressing public and personal accomplishments for the town during his tenure as mayor and other things.
“First let me say congratulations to our Mayor-elect and that I hope much will be accomplished in the coming term,” he said. “I also want to say that I am thankful for all God has allowed me to accomplish in my two terms as Mayor and in my service to Williamston.”

He said he had a vision to rid the town of the good old boy politics of the past and a constant determination to build a strong foundation for the future. “A new town has been formed under my leadership,” he said. “Unbeknownst to many, we have grown past the mayor as a single decision maker for our town.”
He went on to explain his vision for the town and the practices implemented to make it happen.

Read Mayor Durham’s Closing Remarks to Council