Williamston Council updated on projects, police department reorganization

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During a work session Tuesday, Williamston Mayor Rockey Burgess updated Town Council on reorganization of the police department and several ongoing projects. Among them, renovation of the old restrooms in Mineral Spring Park, the new Pickleball Court and possible Mineral Spring Trail expansion.
Burgess said the town has been searching for a contractor to do renovations in the rest rooms at the entrance of the park, but so far has not been able to find someone to do the work needed. Burgess said the contractors he has spoken with are busy and most do not want the job because it is such a small project.
Burgess also told council that paving on the Pickleball Court in the park is expected to done August 8-12. The asphalt must sit for 30 days before and Acrylic surface can be put over it.
The mayor also told council that he expects to hear something soon on a grant application for expansion of the Mineral Spring Trail. If the grant is approved, the trail will be expanded from the Veterans Park to Brock Lane where it will tie in to a new planned subdivision which will include a trail head, parking and walking trail within the development.
The Town and Envision Williamston recently applied for another grant for a dog park. Burgess said the National grant had a lot of applicants and Williamston was not selected. However, he said the town plans to move forward with the dog park project which will include a fenced area located behind the fire department between Big Creek and the old water treatment plant. The black vinyl chain link fence will have two gates, a doggie poop station and signage, he said. $10,000 is being budgeted for the project.
During the work session, Mayor Burgess said the town may have to consider a possible increase in the Sanitation Fee. Residents are currently charged $10 a month for garbage pickup which includes limbs and leaves. The service is provided with town employees and garbage trucks. Burgess said with the increase in fuel and shortage of CDL drivers, the service is not self sustaining at $10 and may need to be increased by $5. It is currently being subsidized from the General Fund, he said. Required training and competitive pay for CDL drivers has been a problem, according to Burgess.
Many municipalities, including neighboring Pelzer and West Pelzer, outsource the service and limb and leave pickup is not included.
Burgess also said some residents were recently tagged for not abiding by the requirement to remove trash containers from the road within 48 hours of pickup. He said empty trash containers that are left on the road are slowing the trash pickup process.
The Appalachian Council of Governments (ACOG) will submit the Town’s updated Comprehensive Plan for approval by Council at their Aug. 1 meeting. The Town’s Planning Commission has been working with ACOG on the Comprehensive Plan which provides a plan for town growth over the next five to ten years.
Burgess also updated Council on reorganization of the Police Department. Police Chief Tony Taylor recently resigned to “seek better opportunities” and Lt. Jack Sanders retired in June.
Captain Kevin Marsee is currently acting as Interim Chief. Cpl. L. E. Mulz has been promoted to Lt. and D. Hart to Sgt. The department is fully staffed at eighteen officers and has seen some turnover recently. It is currently down six positions, including an SRO.
Burgess said the Town is looking at placing up to $2 million currently in the Fund Balance into a Government Investment program. The funds, which would be with a local bank, could generate as much as $5000 per month in interest.
The Town is selling a blue F250 pickup truck on deals.gov. It is listed for $8000. When it sells, the funds may be applied toward a used UTV for the Street Department.
Burgess said the Town recently purchased two large tents, a 30×30 and a 30×60, which can be used for special events. One possible event is an Oyster Roast Fundraiser for the Fire Department this fall.
here has also been some interest in having cornhole tournaments in the town, he said.