News Archive

(2506) Week of June 21, 2006

Fireworks spectacular to be held in Williamston July 1
More revenues, less costs, cash flow remains critical
Q&A session held with new councilman
After 24 drafts, first reading held on 2006 budget
Local man charged in pawn shop slaying
Private ceremony celebrates life of Dr. Dwight H. Smith
The Spring Water Dr.
Tribute to Dr. Smith
Deputies investigate damage to property
Williamston officers busy over three week period
Man arrested for assault on police officer
Landfill runoff treatment  agreement could benefit town
Wilson asks for notice of account transfers
Check presented for sidewalk project
Sidewalk Project may be finished before school starts

 

Fireworks spectacular to be held in Williamston July 1

Though the Town of Williamston will not be able to fund special events this year, events the town has become known for apparently will go on.

The Town’s annual Independence Day fireworks celebration will be sponsored this year by the Greater Williamston Business Association and The Williamston Fire Department.

The newly formed Springwater Committee will organize the town’s annual Spring Water Festival in August.

The town is well known for both events which organizers say will be bigger and better than ever before.

The fireworks celebration, which will be held on Saturday, July 1, has been expanded to an all day event with amusement rides, hot air balloon and food vendors being added.

The event will include a cruise in, stage entertainment and fireworks, according to Dave Maddox, president of the GWBA.

According to Maddox, Palmetto Amusements, which provided rides for the Spring Water Festival last year, will be bringing their popular attractions to the Freedom Celebration.

“This will be the first time amusement rides have been brought in for an event in Williamston other that the Spring Water Festival,” Maddox said.

The Anderson County hot air balloon will be available for tethered balloon rides.

The event will also feature a  variety of food items available from local vendors. 

Food vendors will be offering barbecue, hot dogs, cotton candy, ice cream and cobbler, watermelon and other items.  Any group, organization or business interested in providing a food concession as a fundraiser is invited to participate.

The event will be centered at Town Square Center parking lot and the ballfield area.

Families are also invited to picnic in the historic Mineral Spring Park, Maddox said.

“We are aiming for a full, magical summer day of family fun as we celebrate our nation’s 230th birthday,” Maddox saidl. “We are proud of the hospitality for which Williamston is known and we are inviting everyone in the Upstate to spend this special day in our town.”

Palmetto Amusements, based out of Lexington,  will provide the midway for the Fireworks Spectacular. They will also be returning for the Spring Water Festival on August 26.

For the Independence Day event they will set up rides in the Town Square Center parking lot in front of the vacated Winn-Dixie store.

In addition to rides and games for children, there will a rocket ride for older children and adults, a train, a pirate ship, an obstacle course, a mechanical bull, a jousting ring and a thirty-foot slide.

“We started this business five years ago when we saw a critical need in the region for a clean, safe, family operated and family-oriented carnival,” said Palmetto Amusements coowner Dom Boscaglia.

The midway will be in operation by 10 a.m. and will remain open unitl the fireworks display at approximately 9:30 p.m.

The Williamston Fire Department is sponsoring the classic car cruise-in which will be held in the parking lot adjacent to McDonald’s, who is also helping sponsor the event.

Williamston Fire Chief Steve Ellison said he expects as many as 150 entries.  Awards will be presented at the event.

Ellison said the fire department will also offer rides on the 1936 antique fire truck during the Fireworks Spectacular, the first time offered other than during the Spring Water Festival.

Catlin Tierce, a nationally known gospel singer, songwriter and producer, will head entertainment for the event. Tierce has had two Top Ten hits, “That’s Why We’re Here” and “Bud Ain’t Wiser Than God.”

The GWBA accepted responsibility for organizing the annual fireworks spectacular after it was announced that the town would not be able to sponsor it this year.

Though the town is not sponsoring the event, they are supporting it.

“We could not have a celebration of this magnitude without the cooperation and assistance of Mayor Phillip Clardy and his administration and  to Chief David Baker and his officers,” Maddox said.

He also expressed appreciation for the cooperation and assistance of the Springwater Committee and to Jim Simpson, owner of Town Square Center, for allowing use of the parking lot and the old city hall property which he recently purchased from the town.

Maddox said anyone interested in participating as a food vendor can still sign up. Rain date for the event will be Monday, July 3. 

For more information contact Davis at 847-1668, David Maddox at 847-5788, Steve Ellison at 847-4950 or Catlin Tierce at 847-9448.

More revenues, less costs, cash flow remains critical

Williamston Town Council will hold a public hearing this Thursday, June 22, at 6 p.m., on a $3.39 million general fund budget and a $1.8 million water/sewer fund budget that will require at least a $250,000 loan to balance.

The Town has operated under the 2005 budget while accountant Bob Daniel and Appalachian Council of Governments advisor Joe Newton have worked the town through a financial nightmare that became public in January of this year. 

Council failed to pass the proposed 2006 budget presented by Mayor Phillip Clardy in December, when no agreement could be reached by Council on a proposed garbage collection fee.

Total expected revenues for the general fund for 2006 are $3,392,300. The expected revenues are $901,626 more than total revenues for 2005 which amounted to $2,490,674.

The town’s 2005 budget showed expected revenues for the general fund to be $2.2 million. Expenses for 2005 totaled $3,072,548, resulting in a $581,874 deficit.

According to Newton, although the 2006 budget being presented may balance, the town is still suffering from critical cash flow problems and will experience a serious shortage of operating funds in the second half of this fiscal year.

Revenues in the new budget include a $250,000 tax anticipation note (TAN) which has yet to be negotiated and will likely be needed to meet operating expenses for the second half of the year, Newton said.

The revenues also include $481,000 from the property auction.

It also reflects SCRS retirement costs which are expected to rise 8.05% on July 1 and health insurance cost increases of 6 % also expected in July.

The new budget reflects paying off a one year bond anticipation note (BAN) which is due to Regions Bank by December of this year. 

Principal and interest payments of $8,500 are currently being made monthly on the BAN. A balloon payment of $279,598 is due by December.

Approximately $109,000 from the Cherokee Rd. property sale will be applied to the BAN repayment.

The budget includes two new restricted reserve accounts, one for the general fund and another for the water/sewer fund. If approved, Council will require majority approval before the restricted funds can be spent. All uncommitted funds will be placed in the restricted contingency accounts.

According to Newton, the general fund will require a reserve of at least $500,000 so that the town can operate without borrowing funds as has been done in the past.

Notes accompanying the budget proposal state the Town can expect high unemployment costs for the next several months due to layoffs resulting from the town’s poor financial condition.

Estimated unemployment costs are budgeted at $75,890 if the 10 laid off employees remain unemployed for six months.

The majority of that, $55,190, is for seven employees from the street department. Unemployment for two former police officers is budgeted at $12,800 and $7,900 is budgeted for one from administration.

The new budget reflects some major expense accounts and professional fees which are better detailed for more accountability.

New sanitation fees, which have some restrictions on use, are being accounted for in a separate account.

The water and sewer fund proposed budget is $1,815,100, and even with increased revenues, is presenting potential financial problems for the town.

Water and sewer revenues, with the new rate and fee increase, are estimated at $1.6 million. Tap fees are $13,500, reconnect fees of $16,000, and new industry pretreatment fee will bring in $4,000 (1/2 year for two industries), other revenue of $2,500.

Even with the increased revenues, the department budget shows a deficit and there are no existing reserves to deal with repairs, replacements, and improvements being required by SCDHEC, according to Newton. Sewer upgrade costs will be very high this year and next, Newton said.

To make up the deficit, the budget reflects a transfer (loan)of $179,100 from the general fund contingency fund to the water/sewer fund.

Goldie & Associates is applying for RDA grant loan funds for necessary sewer upgrades and DHEC required improvements. $60,000 will be needed for planning and pre-engineering costs on the projects. The amounts will be reimbursed in 2007 ann 2008.

The budget also does not include any expenses associated with moving the old town hall building which was recently sold with the promise of being moved at the expense of the town.

First reading on the 2006 budget was held Thursday, June 15 and was unanimously approved by Council. 

A public hearing on the 2006 budget will be held Thursday, June 22, at 6 p.m. Second and final reading is expected to be held on Tuesday, June 27 at 6 p.m.

Q&A session held with new councilman

Williamston Ward 2 Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr., said he was pleased with a meeting Tuesday in which he invited residents to meet with him to ask questions and express concerns.

Approximately 16 people showed up for the meeting at the Williamston Municipal Center.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” Middleton said about the turnout and the range of concerns expressed. “It was a good start. People need to have access other than a council meeting to ask questions and get answers.”

Among topics discussed were concerns about garbage and limb pickup, sewer treatment, whether the town needs an administrator, town finances, skate boarders and equipment upgrades.

Several residents expressed their thoughts on garbage and limb pickup, saying that more needed to be done but agreeing that the town employees left to do the job are doing a great job and working hard to try to get it done.

Middleton agreed. “They really care about their jobs and the people.”

The councilman was speaking from experience. Middleton has been working as a volunteer along with town employees on the garbage truck this week.

Middleton said that there are high costs associated with taking limbs and debris to the Starr C&D landfill and he feels street department needs an additional man. He said he didn’t know when the town would be financially stable enough to begin looking at hiring additional personnel.

Not only is the department working on minimum staff, it is one man short as supervisor David Roberts has been out on medical leave.

Middleton praised the remaining employees in the street and sewer department for their cooperative efforts to meet the needs of the town. He also said that there hasn’t been a salary raise in 5 years for some employees.

“We will need to look at things across the board,” he told those in attendance.

Middleton said that policy and procedures need to be reviewed and in written form to deal with problems that have arisen in comp time, overtime, and other purchasing and spending.

He said that necessary upgrades in the sewer treatment plant will be a challenge for the town.

The plant needs upgrades, expansion and other costs to be in compliance with DHEC regulations. “We are in compliance right now,” he said.

Middleton also said that much of the town’s equipment needs to be upgraded. 

He said he is glad the budget includes a capital reserve fund.

One resident said that he has been attempting to sell a home in Williamston for two years, but has had little luck because of a business operating nearby. He said he enjoys the benefits of living in the city and would like to continue living in Williamston. “There are cool benefits,” he said, citing the fireworks and other events the town has sponsored.

After 24 drafts, first reading held on 2006 budget

Five months after it was required to  have a budget approved, and 24 drafts later, Williamston Town Council unanimously approved first reading on the town’s 2006 budget during a work session held June 15.

A public hearing on the budget will be held this Thursday, June 22, at 6 p.m. 

Numerous detailed discussions on the $3.39 million general fund budget and the $1.8 million water/sewer fund budget have been held since town officials, with the help of accountant Bob Daniel and Appalachian Council of Governments advisor Joe Newton, began working on them in  January.

During the work session Thursday, Council unanimously approved a request by Doug Wright, Executive Director of Senior Solutions, to allow the organization to use facililties at the Municipal Center.

Wright said that 30 to 50 seniors participate on a daily basis in programs currently being offered at the Caroline Center. He said that the organization was looking to lease space because of issues with the Center.

Wright said the organization is looking for a temporary location and possibly a long term location, to offer senior activities.

There was talk of renovating the old cafeteria and possibly of using two unfinished rooms at the municipal center. The rooms currently have no heat or air ducts and have been proposed to be used for the town’s museum. There was also talk of the senior program using the Pink Room and the kitchen area.

Councilman Scott made a motion to allow the organization to use the facilities. Council unanimously approved the request.

Following an executive session, Council returned to regular session to unanimously approve an industrial pre-treatment ordinance. 

The ordinance implements an industrial fee to be charged to pay for the pretreatment phase of industrial wastewater according to EPA regulations.

According to information presented in an earlier work session, the pretreatment fee would pay for the gathering and testing of samples, and preparing reports for the appropriate agencies. Every five years, DHEC requires an update in the pretreatment program, at an estimated cost of $5000. In addition to that update, which would be done upon implementation of the fees, there would be a budgeted annual amount of approximately $4966 for each of  the industries.

The fees for the first year would total approximately $9966; a figure which would drop to roughly $5366 the next year. That figure is the total that both industries would pay.

Council returned to executive session to discuss a lawsuit settlement. No additional details were made public.

Local man charged in pawn shop slaying

By Stan Welch

 A man arrested in Canada and charged with the June 16 murder of an Easley businessman had a local address, attended a District One School and was a member of a local national guard unit.

Roger E. Shephard, whose last known address is 140 Turkey Trot Road, Williamston, was apprehended in Canada last week, after allegedly shooting pawn shop owner John Bruin, as well as firing shots at his wife, who survived by locking herself in the store’s vault. Bruin died on the scene of a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Shephard, 21, was recently stationed in the Washington, DC area, as member of the 263rd Air Defense Artillery a local National Guard unit. He was sent home following an Article 15 non-judicial proceeding . Lt. Col. Pete Brooks, SCARNG public information officer declined to provide details citing privacy, but unconfirmed reports indicate that Shephard was involved in an incident involving the reckless use of a personal firearm while on active duty in the Washington, DC area.

 The 263rd Air Defense Artillery unit is currently deployed to the Washington DC area with approximately 200 soldiers on duty. Lt. Col. Brooks would not discuss the unit’s mission.

Shephard was stopped in Canada, in a white Chevrolet Cobalt with Maryland plates believed to be a rental car, authorities said. He was charged in connection with an incident in Easley last Thursday in which authorities said a man entered Action Pawn Shop, at 604 West Main St., Easley, at 1:41 p.m. and shot Bruin, 65, of 204 Shefwood Drive, Easley.

Reports state the man was in the shop for about 20 to 30 minutes looking at firearms. When Bruin was showing him a firearm, the man took out a gun and shot Bruin. After shooting Bruin in the chest, the man turned and shot twice at the owner’s wife, authorities said. She was able to escape and hide in the store vault.

Shephard is being charged with murder, armed robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime and assault with intent ot kill, according to warrants. He will be extradicted from Montreal.

Reports state Shephard was charged with disturbing school in 2003 while he was a student at Wren High School. Shephard was a student at Wren from 2000 to 2003, but withdrew as a senior and did not graduate.

Private ceremony celebrates life of Dr. Dwight H. Smith

According to his wishes, Dr. Dwight H. Smith Sr. was buried at a private ceremony of his Life at Travis Cemetery in his home town of Saluda S.C. Family members said he left specific instructions for his burial that were fully adhered to.

He was buried beside his dedicated mother Naomi Smith, his loving father George William Smith and his younger sister, Barbara Merle Smith. The celebration was held approximately 40 hours after  the passing of  “Doc” (as his family called him). Pastors for the celebration were former Beulah minister Reverend Frank E. Lybrand (currently the minister of Trinity United Methodist Church in Anderson) and current Beulah minister Charles E. Summey, Jr.

The celebration was followed by Reverend Summey’s performance on the guitar and the small, family only gathering, singing the hymn, “The Tie That Binds”. The hymn was followed by the United States Naval Academy Midshipmen’s bugling of Taps and the presentation of The United States Flag to wife, Miriam, from President George W. Bush, who, of course, was not in attendance. Dr. Dwight Hazleton Smith was buried in his scrubs with a replica Furman Football Helmet adorning the top of his final resting place.

The family is in the process of coordinating plans for a public memorial service to celebrate Dr. Smith’s Life, possibly to be held at the Mineral Spring Park in Williamston. A date for this celebration will be announced as soon as an alternative celebration site is determined in case of inclement weather, and permission is granted, a family spokesperson said.

The Spring Water Dr.

By Sylvia Corbin

Dr. Dwight Smith wrote his first Spring Water from your Country Doctor column for The Journal on April 1, 1984. Through the years, he emphasized the importance of good nutrition and exercise. Most important, Live as God would have us live.

He often quoted his grandmother’s motto: Let go and let God. Her advice, passed on to him, was “Keep a song and a prayer in your heart and maintain a good sense of humor. Learn to laugh at yourself.”

We can honor Dr. Smith’s memory by following that advice. He was a friend and a blessing to our community. We miss him.

Tribute to Dr. Smith

By Robin Freeman

(This article was written by Robin Freeman in 1999. It is being reprinted at the request of Dr. Dwight H. Smith, upon his death.)

It is an honor and privilege for me to pay tribute to Dr. Dwight Smith for his unselfish contributions to the Williamston community over the past 45 years.

My relationship with Dr. Smith began  over 44 years ago, when I drew my first breath. Dr. Smith has since seen my family through countless illnesses, surgeries, losses, and problems. At the time, my 96-year-old grandmother was his oldest patient and she sincerely credited Dr. Smith with her longevity.

Of course, Dr. Smith has done more than care for me and my family. He’s enjoyed many triumphs and successes, but he first had to overcome a horrible tragedy. As a teenager, Dr. Smith lost his entire family in a car accident. He had virtually no family in the audience as he graduated from college and med school. No family congratulated him when he was chosen as the “Medical Student of the Year” (quite an accomplishment considering his closest rival was Albert Einstein’s nephew!) And no family members helped him set up his medical practice in Williamston. He made us, the community, his family.

Dr. Smith soon became a familiar sight in town. He wore his green scrubs and pedaled his bike to and from his office daily. His routine obviously encouraged exercise and healthy living by example and it encouraged good-hearted jokes from friends. Few people knew then that Dr. Dwight rode his bike to avoid driving or riding in a car - a fear caused by the terrible loss he suffered.

Dr. Smith married a former Miss South Carolina and together they had five children, but he continued to keep the community under his protective wing. A dream came true for him when he opened a full service hospital in town. I have many memories of that hospital since virtually all of my family members, including me, were patients there at one time or another. (I think there may have been a wing named after us!) As a child, I remember watching the nurses bring patients into the hospital lobby on Sunday mornings. There was an old organ that sat beside the vending machines. Dr. Smith would come in and play hymns on that organ. He led a makeshift church service for the patients and their families because he knew that they had spiritual as well as medical needs.

As a teenager, I had the privilege of working at the hospital. I delivered meal trays, changed linens, and emptied bed pans, and I loved every minute of it. I credit this experience and Dr. Smith himself with sparking my interest in a career in the health care field.

Dr. Smith closed the Williamston hospital several years ago and sold it, but his dream is still alive. The old hospital is now Anmed Wellspring, a rehabilitation facility catering to residents not only of Williamston, but also of several surrounding counties.

Dr. Smith didn’t limit his services to the confines of his office and the hospital. For many years he volunteered his services to the Palmetto High School athletic program. He wrote a weekly column for the local paper for many years, and also played the piano at his own church services. Even at the age of (76) he still pedaled his bike to the homes of patients who needed him.

In 1998 the Governor chose Dr. Smith as the recipient of the “Order of the Palmetto,” the highest civilian award in South Carolina. He was honored with this coveted award because of his contributions to the practice of family medicine and to Williamston. WYFF also did a segment on Dr. Smith and his unorthodox practice. The flattering feature showed Dr. Smith as we knew him, in his scrubs, riding his bike. The reporter was obviously amused by Dr. Smith’s office hours, which happened to be 6 a.m. - 10 a.m. four days a week, and by the fact that his lobby was usually full when he opened his doors.

Dr. Smith loved Furman University, having 12 close relatives dating back to 1924, to graduate from Furman. This group included three sons and two granddaughters. He received the highest honor at Furman in April 1999, the coveted Bell Tower Award.

He also loved the Medical University of South Carolina and received many honors from this institution, including two rooms named for him, one at The Family Practice Center and one in the Sebring-Aimar Alumni House.

Beulah Methodist Church held a special place in his heart. He was pianist there for a number of years.

All the honors, awards, and media attention were well deserved, but they can’t begin to express the sentiment of the real people who have benefited so greatly from this man, his knowledge, dedication, and his love for everyone. Dr. Smith has given more to this town than we can ever repay.

(The family is planning a public memorial service to celebrate Dr. Smith’s Life. Details for this celebration will be announced as soon as they are confirmed, a family spokesperson said.)

Deputies investigate damage to property

Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputies investigated incidents involving damage to property this past week. Among incidents investigated:

PELZER

June 8 - P. D. Marter responded to 606 Spearman Road where he investigated a case of burglary at Dorsey Grading. John Dorsey reported that several items had been stolen from his business by someone who forced entry through a side door.

June 9 – M. D. Creamer observed a vehicle leaving the Palmetto Trailer Park. He ran the tag and found that the car was stolen. The car turned into a driveway and Creamer called the driver from the car and placed him in investigative detention. Mitchell Austin Phillips, WM, 28, 5’10",blk/hazel, of 1710 River Road in Piedmont, was arrested for possession of stolen property and a violation of state gun laws. The car belonged to Thomas Perez of Myrtle Beach.

June 9 - J.J. Jacobs, along with Detective Turner and Deputy Alexander,  stopped a red S-10 pickup at Smythe Street and Hwy. 8. The driver, Doyle Lee Simmons, WM, 32, 6’1", 210 pounds, brn/blue, of 14 Green Street stated that his driver’s license was suspended. He was arrested for DUS and operating an uninsured vehicle. He was also served with a bench warrant for receiving stolen goods.

June 10 – J. L. Bergholm responded to 1 Frost Street, where James W. Crawford, Jr. reported that someone had broken into his home and stolen a number of items, including electronics and power tools valued at approximately $3300.

June 11- M.D. Creamer received a complaint of malicious damage to property at 43 Adger. James Shirley reported  that he had yelled at a white male, around 30, with a shaved head and tattoos on his arms, on a blue and white four wheeler to slow down. The man stopped and an altercation ensued. The man then left, running over a bicycle belonging to Timothy Shirley of 36 Adger St.

PIEDMONT

June 8 – P.D. Marter responded to 4 Archie St. where Wilma Orr reported that her rental property had been damaged with serious drywall damage, copper pipes stolen, and numerous windows broken. The damage came to approximately $10,000.

June 9 - W.T. Cunningham responded to the Fred’s Store on Anderson Street, where the manager reported that a white male and white female, both between 30-39 years old, entered the store and stole over the counter drugs and some jewelry with a total value of almost a thousand dollars. They left in a 1984 white Chevrolet Celebrity with SC tag # 518UWW.

June 10 –J.L. Bergholm received a report of the theft of a riding mower and other lawn care equipment from Powdersville Community Church at 200 Assembly Drive.

WILLIAMSTON

June 8 – D.W. Davis received a report of petit larceny at 31 Breazeale Road, where James Ford said that someone had stolen a trailer made from a truck bed from his yard.

June 9 – W.T. Cunningham responded to 327 Foster Rd. where  Harrietta Lindahl reported the theft of a tub and plumbing accessories valued at more than $1000.

 June 10 – M.D. Creamer arrested Gail Hagleston for public disorderly conduct at Hwy. 20 and Courtney Street.

June 11 – A. Digirolamo and M.D. Creamer investigated a rash of vandalism on Foster Road, as three homes were hit, with damage being done to mailboxes, windows being broken, and cars being hit with rocks. Christopher Jared Partain, 17, WM, 5’11", 150 pounds, brn/brn was found at the scene of one of the houses and admitted taking part in the damage with other friends. He was placed under arrest.

Landfill runoff treatment  agreement could benefit town

By Stan Welch

Despite being under a DHEC consent order for poor management of the Williamston Wastewater Treatment Plant  (WWTP), and while facing a mandatory updating of the system’s lagoons in order to address significant capacity issues, the Town of Williamston has negotiated an agreement with the Anderson Regional Landfill to allow the shipping of storm water runoff from the landfill site to the town’s treatment plant.

The agreement was forged despite the knowledge that Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston is pursuing his claims that the Town has sold or allowed the use of all or part of a 300,000 gallons per day  (gpd) reserved capacity which he claims the county is entitled to.

In a letter to Mayor Clardy, dated June 2, Preston again asserted the County’s claim to the capacity, and presented figures obtained from Big Creek East Wastewater Treatment Plant and SCDHEC, as well as information provided by the Town of Williamston.

Those figures, according to the letter, showed that, as of June 1996, the WWTP had a base daily flow of 787,350 gpd; or 87,350 more gallons than would have been available, if the reserve for the County were being honored. The WWTP has a permitted capacity of one million gallons per day; a reserved capacity of 300,000 gpd would leave only 700,000 gpd available.

Similar figures also indicate that the WWTP has had a base daily rate of 230,000 gpd, reflecting a use of 70,000 gpd of County reserved capacity. The letter goes on to state that the Town owes Anderson County “fair and reasonable compensation. . .for Williamston’s use of the County’s purchased capacity.”

The amount Preston claims is due the County comes to $191,610.77 through May of 2006. The letter, which contained a spread sheet supporting the county’s claims, goes on to say that the compensation to the County must continue for as long as the reserved capacity is used by other customers.

The Town Council has adopted a resolution allowing for the accepting of wastewater from outside the Town. An ordinance establishing the rates and conditions for such a transfer is to be presented to Council soon.

The Enforcement Section of SCDHEC issued a consent order on May 1 of this year, fining the Town more than $23,000 for their failure to operate the wastewater plant properly; specifically citing the Town for having “repeatedly failed to comply with the permitted discharge limits for biochemical oxygen demand, fecal coliform, and suspended solids per cent removal, in violation of the conditions of its NPDES permit.”

Following the town’s plea of financial hardship, DHEC reduced the fine to approximately $6000, citing the town’s inability to pay the larger fine.

The consent order, crafted after an enforcement conference called by DHEC last November, also mentioned capacity issues, a problem that has plagued the Town in recent years. Mayor Phillip Clardy acknowledged that the Town faces problems concerning both capacity and upgrading equipment.

“We are currently under a consent order, and have paid our fines, which DHEC was good enough to reduce substantially. Our challenges are primarily capacity issues and improving our equipment. We will be holding a special called meeting in the near future to review our options concerning expansion. We want to find a feasible, economical option for the town. We have met some deadlines with DHEC and they realize we are committed to righting the situation. At the same time, they know we can’t just pull a rabbit out of the hat.”

Mayor Clardy has repeatedly said the capacity is available, but Preston became so frustrated by trying to obtain information that he filed a Freedom of Information request seeking town records related to the WWTP.

Preston’s concerns may be well founded. At a meeting to consider a regional sewer system held earlier this year in Ware Shoals, Sonya Harrison, engineer for Goldie & Associates, the wastewater consultant for the Town, responded to West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton’s suggestion that her town might send their wastewater to Williamston for a short term solution. Said Harrison, “If you decide to run your lines to Williamston, you will need the county’s cooperation, because they have 300,000 gpd reserved.”

Recently elected Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr. says that he has concerns about the contents of the storm water runoff, and has a meeting scheduled next week with Goldie & Associates to raise those concerns. He also says that Sonya Harrison explained to the Council that the storm water runoff would not be counted against the Town’s capacity because of what it is. “That doesn’t really make much sense to me, so I asked to meet with them to get some answers. The Town needs the money, but we also need to be sure we don’t assume some big liability we don’t need,” said Middleton, Jr.

Sonya Harrison explained to The Journal that the wastewater in question would not count against the Town’s permitted capacity because it is hauled waste, a different category under DHEC’s system. “We feel that, at this time, the Town’s facility is capable of treating this wastewater. It is not a daily discharge and can be disrupted at any time,” said Harrison.

The money would be significant. A proposed price structure for the wastewater indicates a basic charge of $45.00 per thousand gallons, or any portion thereof, for commercial or industrial customers. In addition there would be a license fee for the haulers of $100 a year. Those familiar with the landfill say that 200,000 gallons of water would not be an unusual amount to be transported in a month, resulting in approximately $9000 a month for the Town.

 
Wilson asks for notice of account transfers

By Stan Welch

The first meeting of the Anderson County Council since the June 13 primaries was fairly uneventful. 

A rezoning request for a tract near Whitehall Road in Anderson brought considerable discussion, due to the heavy traffic on the road. The change requested was to rezone from R-20 to R-15, which would have added 21 lots to the 48 acre development.

Councilwoman Cindy Wilson again expressed her opinion that developers should be required to incorporate acceleration and deceleration lanes to provide safe entrance and egress to their developments. Wilson says that such a requirement would eventually result in the upgrading of the area’s roads with little or no cost to the taxpayers.

Council Chair Larry Greer disagrees, saying that such costs will be passed on to the homeowner in the price of their home, thereby raising their property taxes.

District Five Councilman Michael Thompson, who lives in the area, continued to speak forcibly against the proposed change. 

Councilman Bell Dees, from District Six, moved to send the proposed change back to staff and the Planning Commission for further study, but his motion died for a lack of a second.

The change was eventually defeated 5-2.

In other business, Council approved the sale of property in the airport industrial park to Famous Craft Boats, Inc. just in time for the scheduled groundbreaking for the facility on Thursday, June 22.

Council also gave first reading approval to an ordinance which would reduce the tax assessment ratio on aircraft from 10.5 per cent to 4 per cent. They also gave first reading approval to an amendment to the County’s land use plan, which would allow tattoo parlors to locate within the County once they had obtained DHEC licensing.

Councilwoman Wilson raised concerns about fund transfers between departments of approximately $1.5 million. 

She questioned what she called “an inexcusable delay” in reporting those transfers to Council. She cited the ordinance which requires the reporting of such changes on a monthly basis.

“Some of these notifications have taken a year to be made. These are dramatic amounts of money being transferred between accounts. Such untimely notifications are part of the writ of mandamus suit I have filed. By the way, a notice of appeal has been filed in that matter. If such amounts can be transferred and no notice given for months and months, why do we even have a budget?”

County Administrator Joey Preston stated that reviewing the transfer notifications is time consuming. He read a memo from Finance Director Rita Davis to him explaining the delay in providing timely notice. “Without all the drama, everything is up to snuff and being done correctly,” said Preston.

Wilson also asked about recent repairs done to Preston’s GMC Denali, which the County provides him as a term of his employment contract. Preston said that recent repairs were the result of someone hitting the Denali from behind, and that the County incurred no costs. Wilson had asked two weeks earlier why an employee in the finance department had rented a Suburban for three weeks, at approximately $600 a week, and who had driven it.

She told Preston that she has information indicating that the collision was to the front end of the vehicle, a claim which Preston firmly denied. Preston added that he had changed the license tag on the vehicle because he has been followed and stalked. He insisted he did so at his own expense.

Wilson then asked for a written account of the accident, and copies of the invoices. “Perhaps that would be helpful in clarifying this question,” she said.

Check presented for sidewalk project

South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) Commissioner Marion P. Carnell presented Anderson County officials and School District One officials with  a check for $200,000 recently for the Wren School Sidewalk Project.  SCDOT allocated the funds from its Transportation Enhancement Program. The total estimated cost of the project is $250,000.  Anderson County Council has allocated the remaining $50,000 to come from District 6 paving funds ($50,000). Present were Bill Dees, Anderson County Council Dist. 6; Holt Hopkins, Andeson County Transportation Director; Judy Shelato, Anderson County Transportation-Engineering Dept.; Senator Billy O’Dell; Nancy Upton, School District One Board member; Dr. Wayne Fowler, School District One Superintendent; and SCDOT Commisioner (Third Congressional District) Marion Carnell.

Sidewalk Project may be finished before school starts

SCDOT Commissioner Marion P. Carnell presented Anderson County and School District One officials with  a check for $200,000 for the Wren School Sidewalk Project.  SCDOT allocated the funds from its Transportation Enhancement Program. The total estimated cost of the project is $250,000.  Anderson County Council has allocated the remaining $50,000 to come from District 6 paving funds ($50,000). The project will provide: 4,455 feet of ADA compliant sidewalk along three SCDOT secondary roads, Wren School Road, Wigington Road, and Roper Road; Pedestrian connectivity between Wren Middle School and Wren High School, Wren High School Football Stadium/Baseball Fields and Hurricane Spring Park, The subdivisions of Morgan Wood Estates and Planters Walk ; A small commercial area at the SC 81 and S-4-953 (Wren School Road) intersection. Four new cross walks and two existing crosswalks re-striped; Appropriate pedestrian crossing warning signs installed on each road

Anderson School District One Board of Trustees voted unanimously to endorse the project, provide any right-of-way needed for the project and has pledged unrestricted public use. The anticipated completion date is prior to the 2006-07 school year.

Senator Billy O’Dell said he was glad to be able to help secure the funds for improvements in the Wren School area. “Providing for the safety of our children is always our top priority,” he said.

Daniel T. Cooper, SC House of Representatives, District 10 also helped in securing the funds. “Our school children have been walking on the grass shoulders and on the edge of the road between their homes and schools,” Cooper said. “ This community got behind the idea and propelled it to reality. These sidewalks will be a testimonial to the power of cooperation.”

SCDOT’s Transportation Enhancement Program allocates a portion of available funds for non-traditional transportation related activities such as bicycle and pedestrian facilities, streetscaping, scenic and landscaping programs, and historic preservation.  These funds are provided by the “Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century” (TEA 21). The program may reimburse up to 80% of the allowable expenditures for approved projects. The applicant must provide the remaining 20% through direct funds, donated materials, or in-kind services that meet federal and program guidelines.

 

 

 

 

 

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