Week of Sept.
officials say town needs $280,000 to get caught up
In a 3-2 vote Monday night, Williamston Town Council approved first reading on a Bond Anticipation Note (BAN) authorizing the town to borrow $400,000.
Councilmembers Cecil Cothran and David Harvell voted with Mayor Phillip Clardy to proceed with the borrowing option which will provide enough cash to meet current and past due finanicial obligations and provide working capital for the remainder of the year.
The BAN allows the town to borrow money in anticipation of paying the loan back within one year or proceeding with a bond issuance, officials said.
Stating that they were going to obtain legal advice, Council unanimously agreed to go into executive session.
Council then went behind closed doors for approximatly 75 minutes with the bond attorney and town attorney Richard Thompson.
Upon returning to regular session, Clardy said that council had a lengthy and very beneficial discussion about the bond anticipation note.
Clardy said they discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the bond anticipation note and talked about a lot of different factors.
Clardy then made a motion to have first reading on borrowing $400,000 on a bond anticipation note which he said allows one year to be repaid and if necessary council can consider adjusting the sum to a lesser amount on second reading.
Clardy originally proposed borrowing $565,000 which would include refinancing debt on a police vehicle lease and a GO Bond used for Municipal Center repairs and other purchases. Both loans have one payment remaining.
Council members Greg Cole and Wade Pepper voted against the current borrowing proposal.
Following the meeting, Councilman Pepper stated that he was against the borrowing and that a lot of things need adjusting.
Though council discussed having workshop meetings to look at possible cuts and other alternatives, no cuts have been discussed during four special called meetings or the three regular meetings held since Clardy proposed borrowing $565,000 in a special called meeting June 28.
The town has experienced a financial crunch and is behind on numerous financial obligations including insurance payments to the Municipal Insurance fund which provides health and workers comp insurance for the towns employees.
Clardy said the current amount agreed upon by Council will allow the town to get caught up on current debt amounting to $280,000 and provide $120,000 in operating capital to get the town through the end of the year.
Clardy said the influx of money would allow the town to stop an ongoing practice of using tax revenues at the first of the year to pay invoices from the end of the previous year.
I feel like this will put the town on firm standing for the next four years, Clardy said.
On Tuesday, Councilman Cecil Cothran said he didnt want to see the town borrow more money but felt that it was in the best interest of the town to do so.
I dont like to have to borrow money, but we have no other choice, he said. If we dont borrow money to pay the bills and operate the town, the town will shut down. Then the state will take over and tell us how to run the town.
Cothran said the first thing the state will do is appoint someone to run the town and raise taxes and fees to generate enough money to pay them and to run it.
He said it is time for council to take responsibility for the situation.
It is councils job to make rules and procedures to run the town, he said. It is time now we start doing this and make sure we stay within our budget.
The BAN bond anticipation note being proposed by the town of Williamston pledges the proceeds from a subsequent bond sale toward the notes repayment according to the municipal association handbook.
BANs provide municipalities the flexibility to proceed with portions of bond-funded projects before the actual bond date, the handbook states.
Council will have a special meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 27 to hold second reading on the borrowing ordinance.
Anderson County Administrator Joey Preston filed a lawsuit in federal court in Anderson Friday against the Town of Williamston, Council member Cindy Wilson, Steve Lovelace, and Robert Stansell.
The action was brought against the defendants for a violation of the Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), civil conspiracy, and invasion of privacy. The DPPA protects the privacy of driver records and prohibits the distribution of the information for anything other than official business.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants illegally conspired to obtain personal information about Preston by making illegal requests from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in an effort to determine information concerning the purchase and registration of a 1996 BMW Z3 automobile owned by Preston.
According to the lawsuit, the information was illegally obtained from the DMV through the computer at the Town of Williamston Police Department on or about June 18, 2003.
The lawsuit further states that the defendants believed the BMW was purchased by Allied Waste as an illegal compensation for the award of the countys contract to Allied Waste for the Big Creek Landfill.
The defendants caused an unwarranted criminal investigation by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to be conducted against Preston based on their suspicions, the lawsuit alleges.
Based upon the information the defendants obtained illegally from the DMV, the lawsuit contends that the defendants caused harm to Preston through distributing and publicizing the information to infer improper conduct on the part of the county administrator.
The defendants intentionally publicized information about the BMW in a broadcast on the radio and through picket signs in public places, the action states.
The lawsuit alleges that Preston has suffered mental anguish, humiliation, and damage to his reputation as a direct result of the actions of the defendants.
The law suit requests actual damages of $2,500 for each violation of the DPPA as well as punitive damages for each violation, actual and punitive damages for civil conspiracy and invasion of privacy to be determined by a jury, and payment of attorney fees.
Attorney Beattie Ashmore of the law firm of Price, Paschal, & Ashmore in Greenville filed the suit on behalf of Preston and confirmed that the proceedings will be conducted by Judge Henry Herlong in Greenville.
According to Ashmore, he expects a trial to occur within nine months since the judicial process moves fairly quickly in federal proceedings.
Wilson distributed copies of the lawsuit documents at the end of the Anderson County Council meeting Tuesday.
Calling the legal action unprecedented, she said that all of this goes back to the sale of the landfill.
A valuable asset worth $60 million was sold for $2.1 million with no bid process or market procedure, she contends. The BMW owned by Preston showed up at the time of the closing of the landfill, according to Wilson.
Wilson feels that the lawsuit will be a very cathartic process where public information will finally be made public. She said that Attorney Gary Poliakoff of Spartanburg will represent her in the lawsuit.
Richard Thompson, attorney for the Town of Williamston, could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit.
Lovelace and Stansell are both considered adversaries of Preston and are currently involved in a civil suit with the county administrator.
During a special called meeting Monday, Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy responded to comments made by resident and town council candidate Gary Bannister.
After hearing Bannisters comments, the mayor admonished him for making comments and asking questions during the meetings.
Clardy has stated that the public comments portion of the meeting is set aside for Williamston citizens to bring issues to the attention of the town and that it is not the time or place to ask the mayor or council questions.
Bannister and others have repeatedly asked questions directed to the mayor, council and attorney during the comments portion allowed at meetings of council.
Bannister stated that the mayor had promised to lower taxes and utility bills and asked about the financial condition of the town.
He also mentioned that he thought the town was to have workshops to discuss possible spending cuts before borrowing money.
This is not happening, Bannister said.
Bannister also encouraged council to approve a tax anticipation note (TAN) to meet immediate expenses and to repay the note when taxes come in.
He asked the mayor about a hiring freeze he thought the town was under and the recent hiring of another police officer.
He also asked about a 30 mil tax increase he said he is hearing rumors about.
According to Bannister, the Bond Anticipation Note being proposed by the mayor, is a back door approach to get money.
Bannister also pointed out that if approved, the bond anticipation can be repealed by having a petition signed by 15% of the towns registered voters.
He also asked the Town to please respond to the 13 questions he submitted under Freedom Of Information in June.
Clardy responded, Mr. Bannister, you seem to have a misunderstanding of what the public comments are held for. It is not to create questions or dialog for the mayor and council. It is not the appropriate time for us to answer.
Clardy said that if he and the council members responded to questions being asked, there would not be time for a meeting.
Clardy then told Bannister that he should instead bring his questions to the mayor in person, in his office, instead of presenting them at the meetings.
Clardy also responded that the town recently had the entire records open and pointed out that Bannister didnt take the initiative to come in and find out the answers.
We deal with facts and figures, not rumors, Clardy said in response to comment about a tax increase.
Bannister said Tuesday that he shouldnt have to come to the mayors office to have his FOI questions answered.
The town is required to respond to the questions under state law, Bannister said. Taxpayers and citizens deserve the right to know, he said.
Bannister said he is not trying to be a trouble maker or critic as he has been labeled, but is only trying to find out the truth on certain issues.
He also said he is running for the council seat currently held by David Harvell because he wants to make a difference in the future of the town.
I should have my head examined for even wanting to run for Council, he said.
This is my town. Im tired of being drug through the news at 6 oclock. The only reason Im running is for the future of Williamston, he said.
Before making the decision, Bannister said he talked to several people in town to try to get them to run.
If someone had come out that is knowledgeable to run against the incumbent, I wouldnt run, he said.
Bannister said he didnt want to be a politician.
I dont want to be one. Our town needs good people, that are educated, to run the town. I went searching for good people but nobody would do it.
Bannister said he hopes citizens in Williamston will vote in the upcoming election to decide who will represent them on Council and encouraged citizens to be more involved in the towns business.
People need to vote, he said. They need to start coming to town council meetings instead of the same ones being at every meeting, he said. People need to get involved.
A dedication ceremony was held Sunday for a home built by Habitat for Humanity for a Williamston family.
The 1250 sq. ft. home includes four bedrooms and two baths with primary funding and construction coordination provided by Habitat for Hmanity.
Cindy Huckaby and family of four including Amber 14; April,12; Anna, 9; and Aaron, 4, received the keys to the home at the end of the dedication ceremony.
The home is located on Circle St. just off Academy in Williamston. The new owners planned to move in this week.
Project supervisor Walter Smith recognized volunteers who helped on the project.
Smith thanked Harold Black and students of the Building Technology class at the Career and Technology Center for their work on the project.
The classes which include junior students from Wren, Palmetto and Belton-Honea Path schools, put in more than 200 hours on the project between October and May.
They were involved in framework, roof, truss, siding, and installing insulation in the walls and floor. They also worked on the porch deck and hand rails.
It was a wonderful opportunity for us at the CTC to provide something back to the community, Black said.
Brad Fowlers electrical class at the CTC also did rough wiring and electrical boxes on the project.
Drafting students at the CTC drew up the working blueprints for the 25x50 house.
Smith thanked Lawrence Grove, who has helped on three Habitat houses, for his help in working on the floor joists.
He also recognized Habitat board member Sam Anderson who helped on the project.
Bill Kay provided roofing and most of the vinyl siding and T. D. Edwards provided finishing paint, Smith said.
Sherilyn Hill, State Farm Insurance Agent provided a washing machine for the home. Hill is also Huckabys employer.
Smith also recognized Donald Owens, moderator for Union #2, which includes 11 area churches which provided a $300 to $500 check quarterly for the project.
Huckabys sister and brother in law Ellis and Gunter also helped installing fans, electric lights and receptacles.
Duke Power workers did some sheet rock work and members of the Pelzer Wesleyan Church helped on the project.
Members of High Praises church, which the Huckabys attend, also helped.
Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy, and Councilmen David Harvell and Wade Pepper were recognized.
The town provided the lot for the Habitat project. The town also provided water and sewer taps and cleanup and police patrols while the project was underway, Smith said.
Habitat for Humanity President Dan Gissendanner welcomed those in attendance. Ellen Sechrest opened the program with prayer.
Board member Sam Anderson led the Litany of Life.
Gissendanner also presented a Bible to the family and explained how the program works.
He said Habitat provides funding, labor and materials, much of which is donated, and the owner buys the home from the organization, paying no interest.
Habitat holds the mortgage and uses the payments on the home to build the next home, he said.
It is so much more affordable to build a nice house and use the money to build another house for another family, he said. God will bless this house to become a home.
Under the program, families meeting the requirements must also put in sweat equity of at least 200 hours on the project.
For Cindy Huckaby and family, that was just fine.
This is what America is all about, Huckaby said. People coming together to help someone.
Before presenting the keys to the new owner, Smith said, It may seem like a long time coming but we thank God for his blessing and that its over.
It was definitely a God send, Huckaby said. It came at a time when we needed it and it is affordable and at a price we could afford.
This means a lot to me and my family. It is a nice beginning for us. Thanks for blessing us and the help that God sent to us, Huckaby said.
A divided Anderson County Council continued to support local rezoning requests despite repeated concerns expressed by area residents and a lack of support from the Planning Commission and the Citizens Advisory Board.
During the time for citizen comments, three residents of the Cox Road area spoke in opposition to a request by Howell-Black, LLC, on behalf of Mary Jo Wilson to rezone 109.31 acres at 2729 Highway 29 North from R-A (residential agriculture) to PD (planned development).
A resident of the area for 35 years, Lawrence Davis lamented that the proposal destroys what weve had all these years.
Steve Krause of 3000 Old Williamston Road expressed concern that the true people have not been disclosed who are building the proposed 275-home development.
Several council members expressed concerns about the density of the development and the ability of the area to accommodate the increased traffic which would be generated.
Council chairman Clint Wright offered to meet with both sides of the issue privately to work on a compromise about the number of homes to be built.
In a somewhat unpopular 4-3 split vote, the council approved the second reading of the rezoning request. Wilson along with council members Gracie Floyd and Fred Tolly opposed the request.
Maintaining consistent positions on the issue, a council vote on the second reading of another rezoning request generated an identical vote with Floyd, Tolly, and Wilson opposing.
The second request involved a proposal to rezone 18.24 acres on Vandiver Road from R-20 (single family residential) to PD (planned development).
The third reading of an ordinance to rezone 3.5 acres at the intersection of Highway 29 North and McAlister Road from R-A (residential agriculture) to C1-N (neighborhood commercial) received a unanimous vote from the council.
In other business, the council voted unanimously to table the second reading of an ordinance amending the Code of Ordinances in relation to enforcement of the so-called weed ordinance proposed by Council member Gracie Floyd to deal with properties that are not maintained and create safety hazards.
In a public hearing on the ordinance, Dan McKinney of Windward Trail presented several amendments to the proposal which he said he felt could prevent misuse of the ordinance with regard to agricultural and natural landscape uses.
Wilson proposed that the council incorporate McKinneys recommendations into the ordinance, but Floyd was reluctant to support the revisions without an opportunity for a review of the revisions by her constituents.
Floyd proposed that the council table the ordinance until residents of her district who proposed the original ordinance had an opportunity to review the changes.
In other business, a 6-1 council vote approved third and final reading of an ordinance proposing amendments to the county ordinances to establish stronger procedures and customer service standards for cable franchisers in the county.
According to Assistant County Administrator Michael Cunningham, the master ordinance as proposed establishes a baseline for negotiating contracts with any cable franchisers in the county.
Wilson cast the only opposing vote to the cable ordinance and to the third reading of an ordinance amending personnel policies and procedures for the county.
Wilson expressed concern about the county paying for memberships in civic organizations for employees, details about the use of county vehicles by employees, and the process by which reimbursement for education costs for employees is handled by the county.
Wilson also voiced the only objection and cast the only opposing vote to the first reading of an ordinance authorizing the sale of up to $7.35 million in general obligation bonds by the county as provided in the budget.
The county has yet to make an effort to cut back on spending, Wilson said and cited out of control credit card spending and legal expenses as examples.
Wilson also cast the only opposing vote to a resolution authorizing a $1.7 million lease-purchase agreement to acquire county equipment as provided in the budget.
The council unanimously approved a proposal by Council member Fred Tolly to extend contracts with six EMS squads for five years. There would be no changes in the contracts and no legal fees involved, Tolly said.
The council also unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing a cable franchise to West Carolina Rural Telephone in the Iva area.
Council member Larry Greer received unanimous approval from the council for a $1,000 disbursement from his recreation fund for the Standpipe Festival in Belton.
Wilson received unanimous approval for $5,000 to be used to defray the cost of repairs to the roof at the Pelzer Gymnasium
Officials of the Town of West Pelzer held a public hearing Monday at the Pelzer Community Building to begin the process to pursue a $200,000 grant to improve the Main Street area of the town.
According to Mayor Peggy Paxton, the first step in the application process is a public hearing to compile a list of recommendations from the citizens and businesses of the town.
Paxton explained that she had learned about the grant funds which will be available in March through the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) through Sen. Billy ODell who recommended that the town apply for the funds.
Paxton began the hearing by recognizing the owners of Touch of Class on Main for their contribution to help beautify the local community.
Paxton presented co-owners Lanita Driggers and Kathy Griffith with a framed certificate commending their improvements to the front of their business.
Citizens present offered a host of ideas for improving the towns business area which roughly begins at Gray Mortuary and runs to the traffic light at Highway 20.
Antique street lights, potted trees, and cobblestone sidewalks were among the most popular ideas proposed by those present. Park benches, medians, and coordinated awnings for businesses were also suggested.
New Christmas lights, poles with decorative banners, trash containers and a gazebo were also mentioned as possibilities for improvements.
Major improvements such as a park or playground for children, a courtyard, and a renovation of business storefronts were also proposed.
Paxton said that all of the suggestions would be compiled and presented to a landscape architect who will draw up a proposal for the town. A second public hearing should be held in about 45 days to review the proposal, she said.
Several citizens commented that enforcing current town ordinances would also help improve the appearance of the town.
Paxton encouraged citizens to become involved in Pride Week for Anderson County which will be held October 2 -9. The Palmetto Pride project will award $1,000 to the project which has done the best job of improving a common area of the town.
Municipalities participating in the project will also receive a community tool chest for general use by the town. In addition, the winner of the local award will be entered into county competition for a $2,000 grant to be awarded to a municipality.
Vandals inflicted an estimated $30,000 in damages to three commercial buildings along Highway 29 North this week according to reports from the Anderson County Sheriffs Office.
A building occupied by McJunkin Grading of Easley and located at 110 Twenty-nine Court was reported vandalized on Sunday. Vandals caused an estimated $10,000 in damages to the fixtures, ceiling and walls of the building.
John Cox Builders, 980 Beaverdam Road, Williamston, reported damages to two buildings on Chippewa Lane on the same day.
Plumbing fixtures, light fixtures and ceiling tiles were damaged at 111 Chippewa Lane causing an estimated $15,000 in damages. Similar damages estimated at $5,000 were reported at a building located at 114 Chippewa Lane.
Anderson County deputies also investigated the following incidents this week:
Sept. 20 Roger Keith Bradley, 32, 204 Pepper Rd., Easley, reported that someone cut the lock off a side door to a garage and took tools valued at $3,600. T. A. Caron investigated.
Sept. 20 Richard Darrell Morse, 51, 103 Blossom Branch Ext., Piedmont, reported that someone stole a Campbell Hausfeld air compressor, a 16 McCullough chain saw, a battery and rods and reels valued at $575. D. B. Anderson investigated.
Sept. 20 Margaret Stephens Noble, 56, 115 Colonial Drive, Easley, reported that someone broke into a storage building by breaking a lock and took lawn equipment valued at $1,420. R. S. Turner investigated.
Sept. 19 Pistol Creek West, 423 Oak Road, Piedmont, reported that a white female grabbed approximately eight mens shirts and a ball cap valued at $215 and left without paying. R. W. Miller investigated.
Sept. 19 Mary Irene Murvin, 49, 249 Bonanza Circle, Piedmont, reported that someone entered a garage and stole a Campbell Hausfeld pressure washer valued at $4,500. D. B. Anderson investigated.
Sept. 18 Shelby Finley, 64, 1407 James Cox Rd., Belton, reported that someone kicked in the front door to Hair and Tanning Shack. An inventory of missing items is pending. J. M. Durham investigated.
Sept. 18 Justin David Ponder, 22, 412 Syracuse Rd., Easley, reported that someone removed a Tarus 9 mm firearm valued at $350 from the glove box of his vehicle. M. D. Campbell investigated.
Sept. 17 V & V Equipment, 5046 Hwy. 29 North, Williamston, reported that someone cut through a perimeter fence and stole a Rally 175 valued at $2,850, two Outlander 400 vehicles valued at $10,300, and a DS 650 valued at $6,200. Reportedly, ramps were used to get the vehicles over the guard rail lining the fence perimeter. W. Cunningham investigated.
Sept. 17 Kwanna Blanding, 33, 810 Boiter Rd., Williamston, reported that someone entered a storage unit by cutting the lock off the door and removed items valued at $3,800. D. Hodges, Jr. investigated.
Sept. 17 Kenneth Smith, 25, 124 Wadmalaw, Piedmont, reported that someone entered a vehicle and removed a wallet and its contents valued at $20. N. M. Mitchell investigated.
Sept. 17 Daniel Dorritty, 23, 100 Woods Lane, Piedmont, reported that someone pried open a door to a vacant residence causing $100 in damages. N. M. Mitchell investigated.
The Piedmont Footbridge Festival will be held October 15 and 16 in downtown Piedmont.
Some new events are being planned for this year, organizers said.
A shag contest will be held Oct. 15 with prizes will include a two night stay at the Blockade Runner Hotel in Myrtle Beach. Shaggers interesting in competing in the event can contact Carolyn Reeves at 845-6693.
A tug of war between residents of Anderson County and residents of Greenville County is also being planned. Details will be announced soon.
The Friday night kick-off celebration, scheduled for 6-10 p.m., will feature the Reflections band playing oldies, beach and light rock music.
The band has been featured several times at Rhythm On The River at the Peace Center amphitheater in downtown Greenville, as well as area festivals and private functions. Admission is free.
Saturday will feature arts and crafts, food, an antique show and sale, antique appraisal fair, childrens entertainment area, vintage car show and musical entertainment by local talent.
Orthospinologist Dr. R. T. Holliday has assumed ownership of the practice formerly known as B. C. Chiropractic located at 38 Main St. in West Pelzer.
Holliday Atlas Chiropractic will focus on adjusting the atlas bone to promote overall wellness in the body.
The atlas bone, the vertebrae upon which the skull rests, supports the overall health of the body, just as the mythical Titan Atlas held the world on his shoulders, Holliday said.
Holliday, who will go by Dr. Holliday or Doc, said he focuses on obtaining body balance by centering the skull over the spine.
To do this, three x-rays are taken to determine the position of the atlas bone. In addition to being the vertebrae upon which the skull rests, it is also the vertebrae through which the brain stem, the very top of the spinal cord passes.
Misalignment of the atlas bone can cause problems by pinching the spinal cord or the blood vessel which feeds the brain, Dr. Holliday said.
By relieving the pressure on the spinal cord, many body ills and ailments can be healed, he said.
After examining the x-rays, a small low force instrument is used to re-align the atlas bone.
We can control where the bone is going to go, Holliday said.
Holliday Atlas Chiropractic plans to offer patient orientation classes, (POCs), to introduce patients to the services offered which include atlas alignment, physical examination and x-rays.
Hollidays wife Amy will run the front desk and is planning to obtain her chiropractic license within a year.
Both Hollidays obtained a doctorate in chiropractic from Life University School of Chiropractic in Atlanta.
R. T. has an undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina while Amy has hers from St. Cloud University of Minnesota.
Doc Holliday has close ties to the area and said it was divine intervention that they wound up taking over the West Pelzer practice.
Holliday said he was not looking for a new practice but wife Amy met Dr. Joe Beauchemin, who had been trying to sell his practice.
Holliday said that within a week of discussing and praying about it, he and Amy decided to assume the practice.
They have been working to get the clinic ready for patients since August 1 and began seeing patients last week.
Holliday has close ties to the area. He is the grandson of Grady and Ruth Holliday and is living in his grandparents house in Pelzer.
His parents are Palmetto High School graduates and Holliday graduated from Hillcrest High School.
The Hollidays have one child, Boone. Their son, now 3, was adjusted just minutes after birth. We live the chiropractic lifestyle, Holliday said.
Holliday Atlas Chiropractic is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
They plan to offer the patient orientation classes twice a month on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.
A grand opening with ribbon cutting is being planned and will be announced soon.
For more information or appointment call 947-9999 or go by the office at 38 Main St. West Pelzer.