News Archive

Week of Apr. 16, 2003

Cover letter for 2003 budget mentions drug money account From Nov. 2002
Town was $320,845 over budget during 2002
Revised 2003 budget more accurate mayor says
Resignations follow firing of chief
Chief’s firing causes controversy
County approves standards, reviews proposed budget
Water tower enters last construction phase
Town approves property transfer For Habitat House

 

The JOURNAL WEB SITE BONUS article . . .
Williamston governed under  ‘Mayor-Council’ structure - All you want to know about form of government options

 
Cover letter for 2003 budget mentions drug money account from Nov. 2002

A cover letter issued by Mayor Phillip Clardy when he presented the 2003 budget to Council during a work session held in November, 2002, clearly mentions three standing accounts, including a drug money account, that was not included in the budget.

It is not clear if the drug money referenced includes the drug forfeitures and fines account which was described as an unknown account last week during a council meeting.

“We know we have drug monies,” Clardy said. “We are not questioning the legitimacy of the account. What I am saying is that the particular account was not known by me or the treasurer.”

According to town officials, the police department has a fines account known as a suspended time payment or STP account in which fine money payments are collected and held until the entire amount is paid.

There is also a forfeitures and seizures account, Clardy said, which is the unknown account.

The budget cover letter states: “Due to the continued effort to correct discrepancies noted by our auditing firm, Greene, Finney, & Horton, LLP, the anticipated revenues listed in the budget do not include savings or checking account balances of the fiscal year 2002 that will be forwarded, nor any account balance of other standing accounts, i.e. Victim’s Escrow Account, “Drug Money,” Fireman’s 1% accounts, etc.  However, this information is available and is available to council.”

During last week’s council meeting, Richard Turner said that the Mayor was aware of the account and that auditors were also aware of it.

Mayor Clardy made no distinction during the meeting that the “unknown account” which delayed presentation of the 2002 audit had anything to do with the police department suspensions announced earlier that day.

Immediately following the meeting, Clardy told the Journal that he would not confirm or deny that the two issues were related.

However by Wednesday, the mayor released a statement that the two issues were not related.

A public presentation of the 2002 audit, which was on the agenda for the Apr. 7 meeting of Council, was postponed until accountants could determine if the “unknown account” would affect the Town’s finances.

During the Council meeting, Clardy said a Williamston Police Department account was brought to his attention earlier that day because of a change in policy requiring mail to be sent to the town’s administrative office before being sent to each of the various departments.

During the meeting, Mayor Clardy also stated that the account in question was a drug fines and forfeitures account which neither he nor the Town’s treasurer knew about.

In addition to the STP account and the drug forfeitures several other town related accounts are also not included in the general ledger or in the town’s auditing process.

Accounts for special activities such as the sesquicentennial celebration and the depot restoration project are separate and are not included in the town’s finances, officials said this week.

A separate account is also being set up for the museum project, Clardy said.

The fireman’s 1% account is also kept separate, officials said.

Finances for the Spring Water Festival, which the town oversaw last year, are being accounted for through the Town’s general fund, according to Mayor Clardy’s assistant, Jamie Carter, who coordinated the event.

 

Town was $320,845 over budget during 2002

According to information provided to The Journal, The Town of Williamston was over budget for 2002 by approximately $320,845 for general fund expenses.

The 2002 budget was the town’s first budget presented by and administered under Mayor Phillip Clardy.

Actual total revenues for the year amounted to $2,356,226 while actual total expenditures amounted to $2,526,894, resulting in a cash flow deficit of $170,668.

Clardy has said since he presented the 2002 budget for Council approval in 2001, that it was a “tell-all budget” designed to place revenues and expenditures in the appropriate categories to see exactly what it costs to operate each of the town’s department.

The wide variances of revenues and expenses (both budgeted and actual) reflected at the end of 2002, were the result of attempting to assign revenues and expenses to appropriate accounts, according to Clardy.

The original 2002 budget presented by Mayor Clardy and approved by Council in Dec. of 2001, showed expected income of $2,258,436. The revised income budgeted was $2,222,436. Total revenues were $133,790 more than the revised amount budgeted for 2002.

The biggest portion of the actual income difference was income from merchants inventory tax of $163,342 which was budgeted at only $3,000.

Other income accounts that had more income received than budgeted included: motor vehicle taxes, $31,323 more than budgeted; payment in lieu of taxes (not budgeted) brought in $65,141; and MASC insurance, $15,314 more than expected.

Grant funding for resource officers at the High School and Middle School was budgeted at $68,000 and actually brought in $76,929, $8,929 more than budgeted.

Income accounts that brought in less than expected included: property taxes, $111,827 less than expected.; state grants, budgeted to bring in $90,000, included the museum grant of $50,000 and showed other income of $7,500.

Manufacturing exemption, budgeted to bring in $145,000, had $95,576, resulting in $49,424 less than expected.

Police fines, budgeted at $344,500, only brought $319,684, or  $24,816 less than expected.

A budgeted grant of $20,000 didn’t materalize.

Total income, budgeted at $2,222,436, actually amounted to $2,356,226. Total revenue amounted to $133,790  more than budgeted.

The budgeted income also did not include bond proceeds of $115,000.

Expenses on the other hand amounted to $2,526,894,  or $331,458 more than budgeted.

The largest single expense item that was over budget was administrative supplies and expenses. Budgeted at $25,500, the account was 331% over budget, showing expenses of $109,902 or $84,402 over budget.

Other administrative expenses that were over budget included salaries $37,914; utilities, budgeted at $20,000, showed expenses of $35,633, or $15,633 over budget.

Other departments showed similar problems.

The street department was $36,534 over budget for salaries; $30,556 over budget on vehicles; $17,370 over budget on supplies and expenses, and $15,633 over on utilities.

The street department was $36,534 over budget for salaries; $30,556 over budget on vehicles; $17,370 over budget on supplies and expenses; $7,546 over on uniforms; and $28,217 over budget on utilities.

The police department budget showed salaries were over by $70,887; repairs and maintenance over by $16,099; supplies and expense over by $2,349.

Police uniforms were under budget by $2,532 and vehicle expenses were under budget by $23,495.

Fines paid to the state were budgeted at $162,500, but only amounted to $139,291, $23,209 less than expected.

The parks and recreation department was $11,101 over budget on salaries; $4,558 over for vehicles; $6,522 over on repairs and maintenance; $13,640 over budget on supplies and expenses; $1,435 over on uniforms and $9,772 over on utilities.

The Spring Water Festival showed budgeted expenses of  $5,000 and actual expenses of $6,794. Income for the festival was  $9,200 according to the town figures.

Fire Department salaries were $3,880 over budget; vehicles were over by $3,416; supplies and expense over by $4,452 and utilities, over by $339. Repairs and maintenance was under budget by $4,275, and uniforms under by $1,218.

Due to accounting software problems and other problems, the information used to obtain these figures may be incorrect, town officials said, however the budget comparison is based on the actual 2002 year end figures available to town officials prior to the audit.

 An accounting consultant was hired to help get the town’s finances ready for the annual audit.

The Town of Williamston hired consultant Boyd Greene to assist the treasurer with various fund transfers and other adjustments prior to the audit.

“Boyd came in to make sure we’re on the right track with the accounting procedures we’ve changed,” Clardy said.

Greene was familiar with the accounts and adjustments made when his firm took over the auditing process in 2001 was involved with the transition in accounting systems during the change in administration, Clardy said.

A draft audit presentation made Mar. 31 to Williamston Town Council by Greene, Finney and Horton LLP showed the town having a $402,000 total deficit.

Auditors were to present their final audit information Apr. 7, however the presentation was postponed due to an account that was apparently left out of the original audit, according to Clardy.

Clardy said his revised 2003 budget, which is based on the results of the 2002 “tell-all budget” and the 2002 audit should be considerably more accurate.

The 2002 audit will be presented to Council as soon as the auditing firm finishes looking at the effects of the account, which is a forfeitures and fines account, on the town’s finances, Clardy said.

 

Revised 2003 budget more accurate mayor says

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy will present a revised 2003 budget to Town Council which he said is more accurate than the original 2003 budget he presented in October and much more accurate than the 2002 budget the Town operated under.

Based on information brought out from what Clardy said was a “tell-all” budget for 2002.

He said the Town should have a better guide to the actual income and expenses incurred in each of the town’s departments.

In addition to better information provided by last year’s budget, the revised budget reflects anticipated state cuts and other revisions.

“We are trying to cut back where we can,” Clardy said, “to make up for state cuts and reductions in revenues.”

Clardy said the revised budget reflects a 10% cut in revenue, where most municipalities are planning a 3.75 percent cut in revenue in their 2003 budgets.

Clardy said the budget is a written attempt to see where expenses and revenues are.

He said the revised 2003 budget is actually lower than the original and the revised format will help with his goal to match line items in the budget with actual expenditures and with the town’s chart of accounts.

The town is also changing accounting software to hopefully alleviate other accounting problems experienced during the last two years.

Due to problems associated with two different software accounting programs, town officials have decided to purchase a new Peachtree accounting software program which will be used for accounting activities including payroll, accounts payable and general ledger,  according to treasurer Michelle Starnes.

The town switched from the Ram Soft software, which had been used prior to 1999,  to the Smith Data program which was used for all accounting and billing until the fall of 2001. Due to problems with that program, the town switched back to the Ram Soft system, which is currently in use, Starnes said.

Problems in the Ram Soft program surfaced when the DOS based program was upgraded to Windows causing faulty information to be output by the software program, according to Starnes.

The Ram Soft software will continue to be used for business licenses, utility billing and tax billing.

Better accounting and more accurate budget forecasting should present a better picture of the Town’s finances this year, according to Clardy.

Clardy said he plans to present the revised budget to Council when the 2002 audit is presented.

The mayor’s revised 2003 budget and the 2002 audit by Greene, Finney and Horton LLP were scheduled to be presented at the Apr. 7 Council meeting, but the presentation was postponed due to an account which was not included in the auditing process, according to Clardy.

Resignations follow firing of chief

 Sgt. Brent Brooks has been named acting chief of the Williamston Police Department following the resignation of acting chief Max Sailors.

Sailors was named acting chief last week after it was announced that Police Chief Richard Turner had been placed on suspension by Mayor Phillip Clardy.

Sailors resigned on Friday, stating that he did not want to be a part of the politics involved with the recent firing of Chief Turner.

Brooks was next in line by seniority, according to Clardy.

Clardy said Sailors, who resides in Pickens County, had left the job for another in Pickens.

Brooks actually has more time with the department than Sailors, Clardy said, but he left and later returned.

There were three positions open in the department prior to the recent resignations, bringing the staff from 21 to 15.

Two officers and a dispatcher have resigned their positions with the local department, Clardy said.

Municipal Judge John Neel also resigned his position last week, however Clardy said he had not received a written resignation from him as of Tuesday.

Lt. Danny Hart remains on administrative leave with pay this week, Clardy said. 

Mayor Clardy would not offer any comment on whether Hart’s situation  was related to the firing of Chief Turner last week.

Both officers said they received notice of suspension on Apr. 7, without any explanation being given.

Turner was relieved of the position he had held for 21 years after being given an ultimatum by the mayor.

Clardy said that there were various reasons for the action and the terms he presented to the chief were that he was given an opportunity to make a decision to either retire or he would be terminated.

Turner said he would not retire or resign the position and received official notification last Thursday by certified letter that he was terminated from employment with the Town of Williamston.

Mayor Clardy would not offer any explanation for the action other than to say that he had made the ultimatum and that Turner had not retired or resigned at the end of the 24 hour suspension.

Turner, 56, has been chief of the local police department since 1982 and is a 30-year law enforcement veteran.

Clardy confirmed that he had contacted the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to see if they could provide a non-related party to oversee the local department or if they could make a recommendation for the position either from retirees or others.

He also stated that due to the recent changes in the police department, he had requested SLED to inventory evidence and perform a ticket audit to protect the town and the police department.

Chief’s firing causes controversy

The firing of Williamston’s longtime police chief, Richard Turner and suspension of Lt. Danny Hart has resulted in a major controversy for the town’s elected officials and some citizens.

Many residents support the actions of the mayor and trust that he is making the best decision. Others are looking for answers as to why the action was taken.

Clardy has refused to comment on the situation other than to say that the mayor council form of government gives him the authority and that the decision is in the best interest of the town.

He also said that what can be made public will be made public when it can.

Three of Williamston’s four councilmembers have stated that they knew nothing about the Police Chief’s firingsit other than what was presented during the Council meeting last week.

Clardy said in a prepared news release statement that Councilmembers were aware of some situations that he had discussed with them individually concerning the police department.

Clardy issued the statement  two days after the Apr. 7 Council meeting to address public concerns and questions expressed by the citizens of Williamston and members of Williamston Town Council.

 The faxed release stated that the mayor had discussed matters of personnel and potential decisions with individual members of council, including Councilman Wade Pepper and Councilman Greg Cole.

Clardy stated that he received consensus to do what he felt was necessary for the best interest of Williamston.

The statement read: “The concerns and questions of the Williamston town council are equally understood. In fact, on several occasions, as Mayor I have discussed matters of personnel and potential decisions with individual mambers of council, including Councilman Pepper and Councilman Cole and I received the consensus to do what I felt was necessary for the best interest of Williamston.”

“Although a specific date and other particulars regarding my administrative decision was not noted in my conversations, it would be an untrue statement to say that members of Council were unaware of those matters of concern, including the Williamston Police Department and former police chief, Richard Turner.”

Clardy said that several issues involving the police department and other departments have been discussed with council members at different times.

Councilmen Cole said that he had discussed excessive overtime in the police department, the amount of police carsand concerns about court proceedings with the mayor, but he had no indication that the mayor was considering firing Turner.

“He never made a statement to me that he was going to fire the chief,” Cole said.

The controversy continued into the weekend as a support rally/protest was held Saturday in a parking lot located on Greenville Drive just outside of the town limits.

Approximately 40 people showed up to offer their support for Turner and to protest the action taken by Clardy removing Turner from the position.

Organizer Ronnie Ellison said he wanted to show support for Turner who he said lost his job for no reason.

“He has dedicated 30 years to this community,” Ellison said. “We have been robbed of our chief for no reason. He is not only our chief, but our friend,” Ellison said.

Many of the supporters said they didn’t know if their effort would right what they see as a wrong, but it will bring attention to what they see as abuse of power by the mayor.

“I still think he’s a good fellow,” Ellison said about the mayor.  “He can still do the right thing.”

Some of the supporters took their message to the streets, driving through town with posters held out  the windows of their vehicles and with horns blowing to draw attention to their message.

10th Circuit Solicitor Druanne White also expressed her opinion in a letter sent to a local daily newspaper.

The Anderson Independent reported that White sent a  letter of support for Turner to the newspaper.

During a live radio broadcast  Friday morning held at a restaurant in Williamston, several citizens expressed strong sentiments about the situation, most in support of Turner, who has served as chief of police for 21 years.

During the broadcast, Mayor Clardy also made comments on the situation, saying he was not elected to make the popular decisions, but to make the right ones.

County approves standards, reviews proposed budget

Anderson County Council approved Land Use and Development Standards and had a first look at a proposed budget for next fiscal year in their regular meeting Tuesday night.

The third reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 38 of the county code pertaining to Land Use and Development Standards received council approval but not without additional amendments, discussion, and disagreements over the final contents of the document.

Responding to council’s decision to delete gun range regulations entirely from the ordinance at its last meeting, Council member Clint Wright proposed and received approval for amendments defining a shooting range and including language from the previous ordinance. Wright proposed the amendments as “stop-gap measures” until recommendations could be made from a committee about the issue.

Council member Larry Greer’s proposed amendments regarding summary plats and right-of-way issues led to a heated and lengthy discussion on property rights. Greer expressed strong opposition to the “taking of property through regulation” and proposed that the county provide “just compensation” to property owners. “Otherwise we may as well be in Iraq instead of the United States,” Greer contended.

Concerned about the financial implications of Greer’s proposal to the county, Council member Gracie Floyd expressed frustration at “being given too much information at the last minute without being given time to study and understand the issue.” Floyd added, “District Two is not ready to vote on this issue.”

Council member Cindy Wilson’s motion to remove the section altogether from the ordinance and table the issue failed for lack of support.

Council member Fred Tolly proposed an amendment eliminating the 7-lot summary plat exemption altogether from the ordinance. Wright expressed concern that the summary plat section protects non-developers and family subdivisions and has “far reaching implications.”

Greer’s amendment providing for “just compensation” on right-of-way issues was defeated. Council member Mike Holden and Greer cast the only supporting votes for the proposal.

Tolly’s amendment to eliminate the summary plat exemption and create a “level playing field” resulted in a split vote approval. Greer and Wright opposed, Holden abstained, and remaining council members supported the amendment.

Frustrated by the vote endorsing the amendment, Greer expressed concern about supporting the entire ordinance due to the addition of the amendment. A subsequent vote on the Land Use and Development Standards received approval. All council members supported the proposal except Greer who cast the only opposing vote.

County Administrator Joey Preston presented the proposed $88 million budget for the fiscal year 2003-2004. Preston admitted that the proposal was the “hardest budget in my 16-year career.” Preston presented a $1 million budget reduction to the operating fund and a $3.3 million reduction in all funds as “the largest cut in the history of the county.”

Preston presented a plan for no cost-of-living or merit raises for county employees. He also proposed that that the county absorb a 19.6% increase in health insurance costs for employees.

Preston advised that the vehicle tax reduction will result in a loss of $3.6 million a year to the county when fully implemented.

The council will have 45 days to review and revise the budget, but a preliminary 6-0 vote endorsed the plan. Wilson abstained from voting on the issue.

The third reading of an ordinance rezoning 34.67 acres on Concord Road from R-20 to R-10, an increase in residential density, received county approval. Wilson and Wright both abstained from voting on the issue. Wright said a letter of intent was needed. Wilson said that the council is “not sending the right signals to the public.” She referenced a recent decision where developers went through the planning development process before approval.

Council unanimously approved the third reading of an ordinance rezoning one acre of property on Sam McGee Road from R-20 to C1-N (neighborhood commercial.)

The third reading of an ordinance authorizing the transfer and sale of the old Farmer’s Market property on Tolly Street to the Salvation Army received unanimous approval.

The second reading of an ordinance pertaining to additional requirements for an individual mobile home was unanimously approved. A public hearing on the ordinance received no activity.

The council also added unanimous approval to an ordinance authorizing a limited fixed-base operator agreement with Eastern Jet Aerospace for operations at the Anderson Regional Airport.

Theo Mattison, Walter Smith, and Joe Wright presented the council with a plaque honoring their sponsorship of the Caroline Community Center in Williamston.

Council issued a proclamation approving the week of May 4-10 as Suicide Prevention Week in Anderson County. Al Watson of Crisis Ministries accepted the proclamation and reported over 800 phone calls to his organization last year dealing with potential suicides. He advised council that nationally someone commits suicide every 18 minutes with most suicides occurring in persons between the ages of 18 and 24. Watson announced plans for observance of the week including a remembrance service for victims of suicide in the county.

Water tower enters last construction phase

A water tower under construction just off Hwy. 29 North on McAlister Road in Williamston entered the last phase of construction recently when the 40’- diameter steel water tank was hoisted using hydraulic lifts and steel cables onto the concrete pedestal.

The $1.3 million castle-like structure will hold one million gallons of water and is the final element of a water transmission project begun in 1996 according to Henry Payne, Project Manager with Anderson Regional Joint Water System (ARJWS). Economic issues and a pending sale of the water system led to delays in the construction of the facility which is the first major project of the ARJWS, Payne added.

Construction began in September by Landmark Structures of Fort Worth, Texas. The ambitious construction schedule included a planned completion date of June 1 for the 215’ composite structure. Inclement weather has caused some delays, but the scheduled completion is still possible according to Payne.

He says that the goal is to have the facility ready for the peak demands of summer as well as increased demands due to growth in the area. The final phase involves sandblasting the concrete pedestal to provide a more uniform appearance.

Landmark pioneered the unique design of the structure which results in lower costs to the utility. Maintenance costs are reduced since no painting is required, security is increased since no catwalk is involved, and better structural integrity is maintained because of the combination of materials used. The maintenance ladder inside the concrete tower base will be locked behind steel doors.

The structure which will connect to a 20” line running from Clemson Boulevard to Virginia Avenue in Williamston is a fundamental part of the company’s water transmission system. The facility will serve the Town of Williamston as well as Big Creek, Hammond and Powdersville water districts. The Town of Williamston’s 2,850 customers should experience more water pressure and a more dependable water supply according to Town Supervisor Tim Hood.

Looking to the future, ARJWS has four contracts with engineering and design firm Jordan, Jones & Goulding (JJG) in Atlanta according to Payne. The first contract to provide a post- 9/11 vulnerability assessment has been completed. The second contract is to provide an optimization study of existing facilities and processes. JJG’s third contract involves reviewing new designs and technology and submitting recommendations for future equipment and process expansion. The final contract involves a study and recommendations for additional water lines in the system.

Williamston governed under  ‘Mayor-Council’ structure

Ready for a civics lesson? If you’re one of many curious as to where political power lies in Williamston, class in now in session.

Williamston is under a “Mayor-Council” form of government, according to the 17-chapter “Title 5-Municipal Corporations” guidelines of the South Carolina State House Network 2002 Code of Laws.

So what does this Mayor-Council form of government mean for Williamston? 

The mayor holds the most power in terms of day-to-day administrative actions.

According to the Code of Laws, “The mayor shall be the chief administrative officer of the municipality. He shall be responsible to the council for the administration of all city affairs placed in his charge by or under Chapters 1 through 17.”

In essence, the mayor has the following powers and duties according to the Code of Laws:

• “To appoint and, when he deems it necessary for the good of the municipality, suspend or remove all municipal employees and appointive administrative officers &ldots; except as otherwise provided by law or personnel rules adopted pursuant to Chapters 1 through 17. He may authorize any administrative officer who is subject to his direction and supervision to exercise these powers with respect to subordinates in that officer's department, office or agency;

• To direct and supervise the administration of all departments, offices and agencies of the municipality except as otherwise provided by Chapters 1 through 17;

• To preside at meetings of the council and vote as other councilmen; 

•  To act to insure that all laws, provisions of Chapters 1 through 17 and ordinances of the council, subject to enforcement by him or by officers subject to his direction and supervision, are faithfully executed;

• To prepare and submit the annual budget and capital program to the council; 

• To submit to the council and make available to the public a complete report on the finances and administrative activities of the municipality as of the end of each fiscal year; and

• To make such other reports as the council may require concerning the operations of municipal departments, offices and agencies subject to his direction and supervision.”

The Council holds the most power in terms of legislative action.

While the mayor is responsible for the day-to-day hiring, firing and other administrative duties, the council is in place to create laws and ordinances for the town. The following is the Code of Laws explanation of council responsibilities:

• “The council may establish municipal departments, offices, and agencies in addition to those created by Chapters 1 through 17 and may prescribe the functions of all departments, offices and agencies, except that no function assigned by law to a particular department, office or agency may be discontinued or assigned to any other agency. The mayor and council may employ an administrator to assist the mayor in his office.

• The council shall adopt an annual budget for the operation of the municipality and capital improvements.”

Not all South Carolina municipalities fall under this governmental structure. There are two other possibilities:

• Council form of government – The biggest difference in this versus what exists in Williamston is that all legislative and administrative powers of the municipality is vested in the town council. Each member of council, including the mayor, has one vote.

• Council-Manager form of government –  Under this governmental body, “all legislative powers of the municipality and the determination of all matters of policy shall be vested in the municipal council, each member, including the mayor, to have one vote,” according to the Code of Laws. And instead of the mayor being responsible for the day-to-day administration of the town, a town manager is hired as “the chief executive officer and head of the administrative branch of the municipal government. He shall be responsible to the municipal council for the proper administration of all affairs of the municipality,” the Code of Laws states.

So how did Williamston arrive at this form of government as opposed to the other choices? Back in the mid-1970s, all South Carolina municipalities were required to decide at the polls which of the three they preferred. Williamston voters chose Mayor-Council.

And should Williamston citizens decide they want a change in its governing structure, it would require clearing a few legislative hurdles.

According to the Code of Laws, changing the form of government in any municipality would first require one of two actions: an Election Commission-certified petition to that effect signed by 15 percent of the town’s registered voters; or the municipal governing body calling for such an election by ordinance.

If either is the case, the municipal governing body would then conduct a special election not later than 90 days nor earlier than 30 days after the receipt of the petition or the passage of the ordinance.

And as for any other governmental upheavals, take note: under South Carolina law, there is no legal process in place for impeaching municipal officials.

Editor’s note: For more information on the laws pertaining to South Carolina municipalities, log on to www.scstatehouse.net/code/titl5.htm.

Town approves property transfer For Habitat House

During their regular monthly meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council approved transfer of property to the Habitat for Humanity organization and agreed to provide water to an area just outside the Town limits.

Council approved second reading on the transfer of a lot owned by the Town to the Habitat for Humanity organization. First reading on the property transfer was made during a special called meeting held Mar. 31.

Mayor Phillip Clardy also announced the Apr. 22 government tour to Columbia being sponsored by the Town. Approximately 38 people have reserved seats on the tour and there are 6-10 seats still available for anyone interested in going, according to Clardy. The trip is paid for by those participating and is being conducted at no cost to the town the mayor said.

 Clardy also announced the Municipal Association meeting which will be held Apr. 10 at Westside Community Center.

Clardy noted that April will be a spring clean month in the town with exceptions being made on the pickup of batteries, tires and other items.

Council also approved a request from the Greater Williamston Business Association for $250 to help with expenses for the GWBA Easter Egg hunt this Saturday. The request was approved 4-0 with Councilman Greg Cole abstaining from the vote because he is a member of the local business group.

Council also heard a request to allow a resident to burn a 4x24 foot garden section to rid a garden of a bug infestation. Vickie Bannister, of 307 Mill St., said the Clemson Extension had recommended the plot be burned to kill an infestation of white flies.

Acting upon recommendation of the town attorney Richard Thompson, Council approved the request.

Thompson said the town has an ordinance against burning trash but does not address burning other items. He also recommended adding an ordinance to the books concerning burning of other items.

Council also approved a request by Doug Chapman to annex four acres.

Council approved a request by Jeff Ellison for the Town to accept the water rights and to provide water to property adjacent to Forest Hills subdivision.

Clardy said the property is in the jurisdiction of Big Creek Water, however the water company had relinquished their right to service the area.

Clardy said there would not have to be additional lines run at the town’s expense to run water to the subdivision.

Councilman Cecil Cothran made a motion to provide the water.

The public presentation of the 2002 audit to Williamston Town Council was postponed Monday due to what Mayor Clardy described as discovery of a bank account which was not in the general ledger and not included in the Town’s recent audit.

The audit will probably be presented in a special called meeting when it is finalized the Mayor said.