News Archive

(0206) Week of Jan. 11, 2006

Williamston finances worse than expected
Withholding payments could result in tax lien
Williamston residents express concerns at Council meeting
Council approves fire contract, hears report on sewer
Senior Solutions celebrates first year
School Board begins new year with facilities report
West Pelzer Council revists cell phone decision
Area road projects receive funding
Miss Palmetto Pageant Saturday at PHS

Williamston finances worse than expected

In November, The Journal reported that the town’s finances appeared to be improving based on the fact that the town’s health insurance and worker’s comp insurance, both of which were behind the year before, were paid up. Apparently we were looking at the wrong items.

Councilmembers met with consultant Bob Daniel Tuesday afternoon, two at a time, to hear the bad news. By meeting in less than a quorum, which consists of three members of Council, the meetings did not have to be announced or held in public.

Just how bad is it? Based on information provided to The Journal and from the town’s November general fund figures, through November, the town owes $250,762 in Federal withholding and approximately $50,000 in South Carolina withholding. Late penalties on the items add up to as much as $60,000. According to the November figures, the town has already paid payroll tax penalties of $4,128. The Town’s November figures show monthly payroll tax payments though officials said no tax payments have been made since April.

Though the town’s figures show retirement payments being made, indications are that the town also owes State retirement payments amounting to approximately $100,000 and the State’s portion of police fines amounting to $56,000. Estimated December payments due for state and federal withholding, retirement, police fines and penalties will amount to another $89,000.

Councilman Greg Cole said that based on the information he was given each month by the town’s treasurer, it appeared tax payments were being made. “The information we were given indicated they were paying it,” Cole said.

Councilman Cothran said he first heard rumors Monday that the withholding had not been paid, which was confirmed by the mayor during the Council meeting. Mayor Clardy could not be reached for comment.

Information concerning the condition of Williamston’s finances came to light at the end of the council meeting Monday when Mayor Phillip Clardy, responding to a question by Councilman Cecil Cothran, said that the second and third quarter payroll withholding payments had not been made and that the fourth quarter payment was not yet due. He also said that the town had funds to make the payments.

Statements made by Mayor Clardy and Councilman Cothran indicate that the last quarterly tax payment was made through March. Second and third quarter payments would have been due through June and September.

A statement was faxed to The Journal on Tuesday which read:.

“The Town of Williamston has faced financial difficulties. At the present time the Town is not current with certain of its financial obligations. In order to maintain an appropriate cash flow, my office is working to resolve this issue. We expect in the near future to have a full report on the town’s financial condition along with one or more solutions to the present situation.”

Mayor Clardy said Wednesday that the failure of the town to pay tax withholdings was the result of a “lack of cash flow” as a result of more expenses and less revenues the town is experiencing.

Clardy maintains that if Council had listened to him in 2004 when he wanted to borrow $500,000 instead of the $300,000 council approved, the town would have had additional funds to help with the cash flow problem. “We are borrowing from Peter to pay Paul,” Clardy said. “We are doing the best with what we can,” he said. “I’m not trying to blame the Council.”

To deal with the situation, Clardy said he is meeting with auditor Larry Finney this week and has brought in Bob Daniels from Greene and Company, CPA, in Belton. He is also getting additional advice from Joe Newton of the Appalachian Council of Governments (ACOG).

Clardy said there will have to be additional revenue and tremendous cuts, as much at $250,000 to $400,000, to continue to operate the town without additional revenue coming in. He said that he believes the town’s citizens are “willing to pay for services” and that the Council needs to be more involved in making the decisions facing the town.

“We can cut out the frills and will probably do so,” Clardy said. Cuts may have to be as much as 25 to 30 percent across the board,according to Clardy. He also said the town may have to look at cuts particularly in administration, but defended the staff the town currently has as necessary.

Clardy said that meetings being held with the professionals are to “talk about the situations and for recommmendations to be made.” He then plans to meet with Council and expects to have a representative from Larry Finney’s firm at the February meeting of Council.

The budget meeting which has been in question, will not be scheduled until information is received from Greene and Company and ACOG concerning the situation, Clardy said.

“We have been working on the issues for the last week and want to present a scenario and solutions to Council,” he said. He said there are several factors which need to be considered, particularly cuts and he wants to get the advice of the professionals on the financial status of the town and the budget before making any decisions. “I would rather error on the side of caution,” Clardy said.

Withholding payments could result in tax lien

 Williamston Town Council Members, informed Monday night that the Town is two quarters behind in paying withholding taxes, could find themselves and their personal property in jeopardy if that delinquent tax situation continues.

Howard Duvall, Executive Director for the Municipal Association of South Carolina, says that such a situation “is extremely serious. There have been two occasions in this state where the IRS placed liens against the personal property of the Mayors and Council members of the delinquent towns. Once was in Denmark, SC, four or five years ago. The other time, more recently, was in the Town of Vance, SC. The federal folks take these things pretty seriously.”

Duvall added that the MASC had no authority in such matters, but has long supported passage of the Municipal Finance Oversight Act, which would give the state some authority over Towns which find themselves in such dire situations. “Our Board of Directors supports the bill, which we have been trying to get passed for at least four or five years now.”

Catherine Reed, of the SC Department of Revenue’s Tax advocate/FOI office declined to either confirm or deny the Town’s delinquent status, citing a non-disclosure clause in the South Carolina Code of Laws, which she said exempts such information from the Freedom of Information Act, even when related to a public entity, such as a Town. Apparently the public entity enjoys no such exemption, since she recommended submitting an FOIA request to the Town.

Reed did, however, provide information concerning the SCDOR’s enforcement procedures. A receivable is defined as “an outstanding debt that is in either assessment or lien status. A lien is a debt that remained unpaid for at least 120 days on which all notices have been mailed and the time period for appeals has expired.” Reed’s refusal to either confirm or deny the Town’s delinquency makes it impossible to determine whether the 120 days has passed or not.

Based on a statement made by Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy Monday during the Council meeting, the second and third quarter payroll withholding payments had not been made.


Williamston residents express concerns at Council meeting

Several Williamston residents spoke out Monday about their concerns with the town’s finances, some going as far as asking for the mayor to resign if things don’t improve.

Speaking before a standing room only crowd of more than 60 people, resident George Roberts addressed Council first concerning “downtown safety,” particularly skateboarders which he said are often on the sidewalks and other property and ride their boards down steps and into the street. Roberts stated that he believes there will be a serious injury or someone will be killed if something isn’t done.

He suggested providing a designated area with specified rules. If a violation occurs, the skateboard is confiscated and can be earned back by community service, Roberts said.

Robert Vaughn urged the town to work together to solve problems. “We as a town have got to pull together,” he said.

Cheryl Middleton addressed Mayor Clardy stating that there were things said at the last meeting “that were not true.” She said that a statement by Clardy in which he said he had not denied anyone information was in contradiction to a news report about a recent FOI situation in which information was delayed.

She also pointed out budget legal notices which were published in The Journal in 1995, 1997, 1998 and 1999, “after he had sat up here and led people to believe the notices have never been done before.”

Middleton also pointed out that Clardy was quoted as saying the “Town has not had a history of reserves,” to which she said there was a $441,000 cash reserve fund and a ($142,921 fund) for a total of $583,921 in cash which she said he was “handed on a silver platter.” She added, “and I want to know where it went.”

When she finished, Clardy responded that the money was there after taxes had been collected.

Judy Ellison questioned statements made by Clardy concerning why the auditor had resigned and read Finney’s resignation letter stating, “It is clear that you weren’t honest with me.” Ellison also pointed out that Clardy had stated “no one had shown any interest” in the budget process yet she had spoken with two councilmembers who told her that they were “never encouraged to participate in the budget.”

Ellison also questioned why the mayor wants to meet one on one to address questions. “It looks as if you have something to hide,” Ellison said. She also said she was “very disappointed.”

Clardy responded that he is to meet with Auditor Larry Finney Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. and that Ellison was welcome to attend. When other citizens said they would also like to attend, there was additional discussion, after which Clardy made a motion to have Finney at the next meeting.

Marion Middleton Jr.  then spoke to the sewer issue stating that in 2002 the former operator had told the town that one pond needed to be dredged each year and that the town had money to begin the process. Minutes show that items were also requested by the plant operator and that there was cash in the water fund at the time. By 2003 there was a $61,800 overdraft for the fund.

 “The town did not act and had to hire an outside engineering firm,” Middleton said. “The Town of Williamston knew at that time there were problems. If you had started then, they would have been done by now.”

Middleton said that the 2004 budget and audit do not match up and compared the town’s budget to a more itemized budget for the Town of Belton.

Middleton suggested the town should operate under the 2005 budget for 6 months, bring in an auditor and change the fiscal year. He also suggested having public meetings with the auditor.  Middleton said that a second audit would provide great figures. “You will know where you are” and he said the town should call a meeting and let the public attend. “Let us ask questions,” he said. “These people are here because they are frustrated and they don’t have answers. Let’s work together on this guys,” he said to a round of applause.

Councilman Greg Cole then made a motion to have an audit and to change the fiscal year to end in June instead of December. Council unanimously approved the motion.

After the vote, Mayor Clardy responded that he had inherited a one page budget which led to an exchange of words between Clardy and Middleton Jr. Middleton requested a list of ledgers for one year and the accounts payable.

Jane Chastain said the town should do better in handling our money and asked why it took 9 people to do the jobs of 3 people. “The growth is not that much,” she said. Chastain said the town should reduce the number of employees and attempt to operate on what is taken in. She also said the town should cut the enforcement officer and use officers the town already has. “If you do not do with what we have, I respectfully ask for you to resign.”

Rev. Kempie Shepard spoke in support of skateboarders. “We need to do something  for these skateboarders.  It doesn’t cost that much money. They need something to do.”

After the comments, Clardy made a motion to allow a study on using the tennis court area for skateboarders. Council approved the request 5-0.

Lisa Davis then stated that if Middleton had as much concern when his father was in government, “years back maybe he wouldn’t have went to jail” and urged the mayor “don’t even think about resigning.”

Carthel Crout said that he had no support of the signs, personalities and conflicts that have arisen. “I don’t care who is the police chief, recreation head or sanitation head. I don’t care about your restaurant, church or friends. This is not political. What I do care about is Williamston.”

Crout said that his only agenda “was the town being over budget for five years.”

“The citizens of Williamston elected you mayor to do the job. We can’t afford you,” Crout said. “We can’t wait three more years.”

Council approves fire contract, hears report on sewer

Williamston Town Council approved a contract for fire protection, heard a report on the sewer system and heard from several residents during their regular monthly meeting Monday.

After Council voted to allow speakers 10 minutes each to voice their concerns, several residents expressed concerns with the town finances and with skateboarders.  Council then unanimously approved two actions.

Acting on a motion by Councilman Greg Cole, Council unanimously agreed to have an audit performed and to change the fiscal year to begin in July instead of January.

The fiscal year change has been discussed at various times in the past and would place the town on a cycle in sync with most of the state’s government entities.

Council also unanimously agreed to allow the mayor to look into using the tennis court area for skateboarders.

Council then voted to go into executive session to discuss a contractural matter concerning providing fire coverage for Duke Power’s Lee Steam Plant. At the request of Councilman Cecil Cothran, the executive session was limited to 10 minutes.

Upon returning to regular session, Council heard from Williamston Fire Chief Steve Ellison.

Ellison said that Duke Power had approached the fire department about fire protection coverage on a contract basis.

Ellison said that the company is  installing two gas turbines and investing millions of dollars at Lee Steam Plant. He also said that the company will have gas residue that is highly volital that will be brought to the site.

“If something happens they want to be able to control it,” Ellison said. He said that Duke has their own fire brigade. Williamston Fire will be the first outside responder to a call and the county will be second, Ellison said.

 “It is a win-win situation with the Williamston department picking up some revenue and training,” Ellison said.

The contract was approved 4-0 with David Harvell abstaining because he is a member of the fire department.

Council also approved allowing an Alabama Company to bill the insurance companies of out of town persons who are involved in accidents to which the fire department must respond.

Council approved the item 4-0 with Councilman Harvell abstaining as a member of the fire department. At the request  of Councilman Otis Scott, the funds will be kept in a separate account set up through the fire department.

Council also heard a report on the town’s sewer treatment plant.

Sonya Harrison, Pretreatment Project Manager for Goldie and Associates told Council that the town had ongoing discharge violations since February of 2005 but had none since December 5.

She said there were a number of recommendations being implemented to correct problems at the plant.

Five items addressed include negotiating a consent order with DHEC, addressing capacity issues, addressing an investigation underway by the S. C. Dept. of Labor and Licensing and looking at future wastewater options.

According to Harrison, in order to meet tighter DHEC limits effective Dec. 1, 2007, the town will need to either upgrade facilities, build a new treatment plant or pump sewage to another plant with capacity.

“You are currently in compliance,” she said.

The County Municipal Association will meet Thursday January 12 at 7 p.m. in the Pelzer Community Building. The towns of Pelzer and West Pelzer are hosting the monthly meeting.

Responding to a question by Councilman Cecil Cothran concerning withholding, Mayor Clardy said that the town has paid the first quarter and that quarters two and three will be paid. “We have the money on hand at this point,” Clardy said.

He also said he will set up a budget meeting. “I want the residents to walk out with the full story,” Clardy said.

He said that Bob Daniels of the auditing firm Green and Company will present scenarios with solutions to Councilmen, meeting with each council member individually.

When questioned by Cothran about hiring an auditor, Clardy responded that the town may need to rehire Finney.

Clardy said that some of Finney’s recommendations have been implemented.

“Taxpayers are going to have to pay to provide services,” Clardy said, pointing out that car taxes are being phased out and increasing insurance costs have caused problems.

Council then unanimously approved a motion by Councilman Scott to limit overtime unless an absolute emergency arises.

Senior Solutions celebrates first year

The Williamston Senior Solutions center celebrated their one year anniversary last week.

A ribbon cutting for the location was held Jan. 4, 2005 with opening day officially on Jan. 6.

More that 150 seniors and disabled adults participate in programs offered through the center with an average of 20 to 35 persons daily, according to site manager Rachel Grate.

Activities offered at the center include opportunities for exercise, puzzles, checkers, cards, Bingo, crafts, choir, crafts and comedy.

Special activities have included performing at retirement centers and nursing homes throughout the upstate and making over 100 stuffed animals which were presented to residents in the centers and homes.

They also have support from the Clemson University sponsored Strong Communities organization and have participated in providing baskets for expectant mothers and working to bridge family gaps between the police department and the community.

Under the program, seniors partner with a family and encourage a strong relationship between the mother and child.

Senior Solutions has also partnered with the Williamston Police Department to offer monthly seminars on fraud protection, purse snatching defense, and what to do if an ice or sleet storm comes.

The Williamston Action Community Club committee is also constructing a shelter and picnic area for summer outings at Caroline Center, which hosts the program.

Other activities offered by Senior Solutions includes shopping trips, computer classes through the Career and Technology Center, health screenings, seminars, footcare, information, a beauty and makeover day, and learning to speak Spanish.

The center has also hosted birthday celebrations, nutrition information, a Thanksgiving feast with community invited, bring a friend day, door to door recruitment and a daily devotion.

Any senior in the Williamston, Pelzer, West Pelzer or Piedmont area interested in participating in any of the activities is invited.

Senior Solutions is located at the Caroline Community Center on Caroline St. in Williamston. For more information call Grate at 847-6314.

School Board begins new year with facilities report

The Anderson School District One Board of Trustees extended the contract of Dr. Wayne Fowler for one year, heard a report on district facilities and a new technolgy learning tool and were presented a draft copy of the 2006-2007 school calendar during a meeting held Tuesday, January 9.

Dr. John Pruitt reported on the NovaNet Implementation Plan, an on-line curriculum which is being used at Wren and Palmetto High Schools.

The program is a new technological tool, similar to a virtual highschool but at a more economical price, Pruitt said.

The program offers students who have barely failed a course to earn credits, concentrating on the areas that they have struggled with. It also offers opportunities for homebound and special ed students, he said.

“It allows us to reach a lot of struggling students,” Pruitt said.

It can also be used as summer school program.

Principals Dr. Mason Gary (Palmetto) and Robbie Binnicker (Wren) explained benefits of the program to the board members.

Binnicker said that a student who is not quite successful in a course can use it to cover that credit, which he said helps reduce the dropout rate. Binnicker also said that the program provides analysis and doesn’t waste time going over material the student knows.

 The computer program offers tutorials and practice exercises, “The types of thing a teacher would do,” Binnicker said. “A student can recover a credit in 25-35 hours without having to take a course completely over again,” he said.

According to Binnicker, the program is a “very rigorous academic tool,” and is “not watered down.”

The district currently has six students on the Novanet program, “who will be exactly where they need to be at the end of the year,” according to Binnicker.

Dr. Gary thanked the board for allowing the schools to use the program which he said will help in “capturing the two students not graduating out of 10.”

“It will allow us to not let that group slip through the cracks,” he said. “It is putting us way ahead of schools around us.”

Dr. Pruitt said the district has 20 licenses at a cost of $1,500 each. The program is online and may be accessed 24 hours a day. It is also updated twice each year.

Currently students making no lower than a 65 on a course are eligible to use the program to recapture a credit.

Board members were also presented a draft copy of the 2006-2007 calender, which is similar to the present calendar, according to Assistant Superintendent David Havird who chairs the county wide committee.

Havird said the committee includes two representatives from each of the five Anderson County School Districts. All five districts have endorsed the calendar which will be presented to the District One board for approval at the next meeting.

“It is very similar to what we have been doing,” Havird said. “It allows for instructional and academics that are best for our students along with breaks requested by staff and parents.” The calendar allows for maximum instructional time for PACT testing, according to Havird.

The Board also approved the IDEA budget, which is the largest federal grant the District receives. IDEA provides funding for special ed.

 The district received $1,565,776 of which $1,428,000 provides funding for 3 psychologists, 2 secretaries, 1 OT, 1 PT, 13 special ed teachers and 17 teachers assistants. The balance is used for supplies, materials and contract services including testing.

Reporting on the District facilities, Superintendent Dr. Fowler told the board the District is experiencing a 3 to 4 percent growth rate and currently has 8,301 students, about 200 more than last year.

He said the district has some space at West Pelzer and Powdersville Elementary, some space available at Palmetto High School and Wren High is approaching capacity with 1,648 students.

He said the school will have 100 more students moving up next year and will face having floating teachers within a couple of years.

“The pressure is on us at Wren High School,” Fowler said.

The superintendent said he plans to visit each of the district’s schools to see the facilities and the amount of space available.

He also said that a new software program will allow the exact location of students in the district to be pinpointed.

“If you are planning to do anything, in the next couple of years, you need to start planning now,” he said. “A number of our schools are at capacity.”

Fowler also reported that a new student transportation directive from the state will mandate that buses be in a centralized parking area with pavement and fencing.

Fowler said the District is already working toward that and the bus facility at Spearman, which is already being used as the bus headquarters will be ideal.

The school has proprety available which is already fenced and it is centrally located in the district, Fowler said.

Board members unanimously approved a recommendation to begin looking into the costs of the requirement.

The Board also approved a one year extension of the superintendent’s contract.

Board members Sallie Lee and David Merritt were recognized for 10 years of service to public education as school board trustees. The SC School Board will officially recognize them later this year, Fowler said. Each received a pin and letter of recognition.

The Board was also thanked for their service to the District by Dr. Fowler.

“I would like to thank board members for the years serving this school district.  For the countless hours in making policy, building plans and funding budgets to give us the resources we need to go forward,” Fowler said.

The Board also approved the following personnel recommendations:

Retirement - Anne Callaham, Palmetto Elementary, Grade 3K; Vicki Galloway, Palmetto Middle Grade 8; Donna Richey, Palmetto High math.

Resignations - Mary Rowell, Palmetto High Chemistry.

Recommendations Alisa Ellenburg, Palmetto Middle Social Studies and English; Michele Kesler, Palmetto High Cemistry; Jennifer Shriver, Palmetto Elementary, Grade 3K.

Five leaves of absence  were also approved.

West Pelzer Council revists cell phone decision

By Stan Welch

Tuesday’s meeting of the West Pelzer Town Council began oddly, and ended in much the same way. Approval of the minutes of the last meeting was the second item on the agenda, and it was very nearly the last item as well.

The minutes of the December 12, 2005 meeting, as read by Town Clerk Beth Elgin, indicated that the four members of the Town Council had approved a cell phone for Municipal Judge Roger Scott “prior to the meeting by a signed contract.”  Apparently that language bothered the four members who approved the transaction. When Mayor Paxton asked for a second to her motion to approve the minutes, none was offered.

The Mayor seemed nonplussed by the council’s failure to second the motion, finally asking what the problem was with the minutes. Council member Pete Davis finally asked if the Judge wasn’t an employee of the Town. The Mayor responded that he is, and Davis stated that the Town had approved a policy two years ago to provide Town employees with a cell phone. Paxton responded that that policy, as it applied to the Judge, had been rescinded the following year. She then asked again for a second to approving the minutes; again, no second to the motion was made.

Paxton then asked what other questions there were about the minutes. “Is there another question about the minutes? Should we just go home? It’s amazing to me that you’re all just sitting there and not seconding the motion. There was obviously a problem before you came in here. Why not just tell me what it is?”

Councilman Marshall King said, “I didn’t know there was a problem”, to which the Mayor responded, “Then why aren’t you seconding the motion?” King answered that there were other people there too.

Paxton finally suggested leaving the issue where it was, while they waited on the Town Attorney to arrive, and proceed with the other agenda items. That motion received a second and was quickly passed. The council then moved swiftly to accept two parcels of land for annexation into the town.

Next on the agenda was citizen’s comment. After a brief discussion of limb removal efforts by the Town,  Joe Bargiol, despite Mayor Paxton’s efforts to delay until the attorney arrived, spoke about an incident that occurred at one of his rental properties several weeks ago. He began by asking the Mayor who she and the Town council should support. “Who puts you in office? Who are you for?”

Bargiol was speaking about a raid conducted at one of his rental homes, during which an amount of marijuana was seized, including some being grown outside the back door. During the raid, the front door of the home was ruined, and Bargiol was seeking payment for the damages from the Town.

Mayor Paxton countered by saying that if he screened his tenants more carefully, the Town wouldn’t have to respond in such a manner. “There was illegal activity going on in that house, and no policeman is going to come to you and ask for a key. The warrant was signed by Judge Woodson and it was served.”

Bargiol argued that drawers were damaged and a mirror broken inside the home, and added that he has “put out” people for illegal activities in his homes more than once. “You ask Maida Kelly. She’ll tell you. If folks are doing wrong, I’ll put them out.”

Bargiol then said that he didn’t want the police on his property any more. He talked about an incident where he claimed a police officer was on his property shining a spotlight in a house.

Town Attorney  Carey Murphy had arrived by then, and at the Mayor’s request, took charge of the conversation. “The Town has no responsibility for the door. There is also no way that the Town of West Pelzer can refuse to respond to a call for assistance. The town is responsible for providing that service, not this gentleman,” he told the Council and the audience. “No investigation by police requires them to contact you if it could or would interfere with that investigation. The people who were living there are responsible for the damage, not the Town. Contact the Solicitor’s Office about the victim/witness assistance program and tell them about the problem. They’ll be able to help you.”

Bargiol then reiterated that he didn’t want the police on his property in the future. Murphy told him, “You do not have the authority to stop that, sir. If you interfere with the Town employees in the proper performance of their duties, you could be subject to legal prosecution yourself.”

Council member Joe Turner’s wife, sitting in the audience, asked if the Council had any say in the matter. Murphy replied that under the strong mayor form of government, the Mayor is the chief administrative officer of the town. Paxton interrupted to say that the Council has discretionary funds that they could vote to use to buy a door, but added, “That’s the only way that will happen.” Council declined to do so.

 The discussion of the minutes of the previous meeting took a little less time, once Murphy had arrived. Councilman Turner suggested rescinding the agreement which had been signed by the four members other than the Mayor, in the absence of a legally convened meeting of the Council.

A news story in The Journal published at the time reported that the vote was taken by a method known as polling, which is prohibited under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act. Following further discussion, Council voted to buy Judge Scott’s phone back from him, and to pay him for a portion of the minutes he uses on his personal cell phone.

The motion to approve the minutes of the previous meeting finally received a second and unanimous approval. Council then amended the agenda to allow them to go into executive session for personnel matters. The session lasted approximately 20 minutes, and was immediately followed by adjournment.

Area road projects receive funding

By Stan Welch

 The Anderson County Transportation Committee, after struggling to obtain a quorum, appropriated almost $800,000 to be used on several road projects in the eastern part of the County.

More than $170,000 of that amount was spent to address cost overruns on two projects. The recently installed turn lanes at the Career Center on Highway 20 in Williamston ran over by approximately $27,688. The SCDOT asked that the County pay a $20,400 share of that cost, which the committee approved.  The recently renovated intersection of Hwys. 8 and 81 required an additional $114,837. Several matters led to the total cost overrun of more than $168,000. Traffic signals, which were figured into early bid specifications were not included in the final specifications. Also, two cross line pipes had to be replaced, as well as a gas station marquee sign being relocated to allow for utility relocation. Additional runoff and erosion controls had to be added as well.

A project to extend Tripp Street in Williamston was funded at $114,847, while a major project to simplify and signalize the intersection of Highways 8 at St. Paul Road and Three and Twenty Road is expected to cost $700,000. The intersection is at the Pickens County line, where Brown’s Store and Brown’s Café are located. SCDOT will fund $300,000 of the cost, while the ACTC will fund the remaining $400,000, paying the money in $100,000 installments from its monthly C-fund allocation of $200,000.

Committee Vice Chair Buddy Wood asked what was being done about the condition of the access at Frontage Road and Highway 86 in Piedmont. The Pilot Truck Stop there experiences heavy traffic, including hundreds of big trucks each day. The road bed itself is failing, and large swales and holes cause serious problems. DOT officials reported that the money had been appropriated to cut out a large section of the road and install a ten inch thick patch. If the roadbed itself proves unstable once the project is begun, it will be replaced with packed stone before the patch is installed.

Miss Palmetto Pageant Saturday at PHS

The Miss Palmetto Pageant 2006 will be held at 7 pm this Saturday, January 14 at Palmetto High School. This year’s theme is “She’s a Lady!”

Admission is $5 and tickets may be purchased in advance at the school office.

Melissa Dymond, who teaches English at Palmetto High School, will be Mistress of Ceremonies.

Entertainment will be provided by Hayley Meade, Miss Palmetto 2005; Kaleb Cox and Tyler Frasier, PHS seniors and Kaisha Holloway, Miss Sophomore 2005.

Miss Palmetto contestants include Jill Bagwell, Crystal Stewart, Heidi Turner, Brittany Mays, Caitlin Smith, Talya Henrickson, Dee Powell, Emilie Cox, Emily Mahaffey, Mandy Cannon, Mandy Prater, Hannah Rogers, Carla Childs, Candace Doolittle, Erin Clardy and Margaret Mathis







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