Matching funds for projects, ordinance changes discussed at work session


By Stan Welch
Williamston Town Council held a work session Tuesday night to preview the agenda for next week’s regular meeting. No votes or actions can be taken in a work session.
Decisions concerning matching funds for several grants that might be available were high on the list of issues to be tackled. A long, drawn out sidewalk project has experienced increased costs, resulting in DOT wanting an additional twenty four thousand dollars in matching funds, as the town’s twenty four percent matching funds for the additional one hundred twenty thousand in increased costs.

The alternative presented by Mayor Durham would involve an additional two hundred fifty thousand dollars that Senator Gambrell and Rep. Anne Thayer made available, and which they suggested seeking as a cushion against future costs increases. That amount would require an additional fifty thousand dollars in matching funds.
Other matching funds needed involve paving funds from the Anderson County Transportation Committee. While the amount that the town will receive is uncertain at this time, the mayor expressed hope that a hundred fifty thousand will be available for culvert repairs, with as much as three hundred fifty thousand available in total. Those funds would require a ten per cent match.
The mayor also announced that Sonya Crandall has retired as Executive Director of Envision Williamston.
The Belton Drive sewer project remains stymied by two easements that have yet to be obtained. A condemnation action has been initiated on one of them; but the other is held by an active member of the military, making locating the owner problematic. The mayor also reported that the driving of piles at the Minor Street site should begin later this week.
Two ordinances will also be discussed next Monday. Town Attorney Lee Cole presented an amendment to the proposed ordinance defining the duties of the attorney. The amended version would allow individual council members to instruct the attorney to perform certain duties, instead of the council doing so as a body.
The second ordinance, establishing standing committees of the council, met with Mayor Durham’s obvious displeasure, who suggested tabling the proposed ordinance until it could go before the ordinance review committee. The mayor called for definite terms of service for the appointments, as well as staggered terms so that the committees would always have some experienced members.
He had many other objections as well, calling the proposed ordinance a joke. He challenged the council members, especially Councilman Burgess, who played a role in producing the ordinance, to take some time and do the work necessary to produce ”something we can use.” He questioned the ordinance’s lack of structure and stated his opinion that many of the requirements for the committees that Burgess argued were implied, should instead be written out. Since the council cannot vote in a work session, the mayor’s suggestion to table the matter may come up again Monday night.