Week of Dec. 3
taxpayers to pay more on 2003 tax bill
The good news for Williamston taxpayers is they will get relief on next years tax bill. The bad news, this year theyll have to pay more!
Williamston Town Council approved first reading on a $2.3 million budget for 2004 during their regular monthly meeting Monday.
Mayor Phillip Clardy presented Council the option of approving a 2004 budget leaving the towns tax rate at 120 mills or a budget with a rollback to 106 mills. The difference, according to Clardy, is approximately $112,000.
The rollback approved in the new budget will go into effect on the 2004 tax bills, which will be sent out in October of next year.
But taxpayers will pay the current 120 mill rate this year, with reassessed property values, resulting in a $112,000 windfall for the town.
Williamston taxpayers will pay the additional property tax this year because the towns millage rate for 2003, based on 120 mills, was approved in December, 2002.
The amount was not projected in the 2003 budget because there was no way to know what the reassessed property values would amount to when the budget was approved last year, Clardy said.
Clardy said the 2004 budget he presented is based on 106 mills and also does not include the expected windfall revenue of $112,000, which the town will receive from 2003 tax notices.
Property tax revenues for 2003 are expected to be $994,000 based on the 120 mill assessment. At 106 mills, property tax revenues are expected to bring in $881,202.
According to the mayor, Council will have to decide how the excess revenue will be spent.
He said it could possibly be used toward excess expenditures that the town may have, for a preventive maintenance account or to hire additional help.
The 2004 budget is based on actual revenues and expenditures from 2003 and gives a better picture of the towns operations than previous budgets did, according to Clardy.
The 2004 budget shows projected revenues of $2,291,202 with expenses of $2,291,202.
The approved budget for 2004 also reflects an extension on a $100,000 tax anticipation note from last year that was due in October.
Second reading on the 2004 budget will be held by Town Council on Thursday Dec. 11 at noon.
Williamston Town Council approved taking bids on old vehicles and equipment, approved first reading on the 2004 budget and restated their position on accepting a sewer system during their regular monthly meeting Monday.
The town will accept sealed bids on a 1978 Ford pickup, a 1978 Chevrolet pickup work bed, a bush hog stick mower.
Bids will also be taken on police department vehicles including a 1992 Ford (172,000 miles), a 1992 Ford (210,913 miles), a 1988 Ford (138,285 miles), a 1986 Chevrolet (229, 977 miles) and a 1989 Pontiac (196,490 miles).
Minimum bids were set on all of the items. Sealed bids will be accepted by the Town Clerk through Jan. 5.
Clardy announced the Anderson County Municipal Association meeting will be held Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Belton.
Council approved first reading on the 2004 budget. (Details will be published in the next issue of The Journal.)
Clardy presented two budgets for Council to consider. No action was taken on a proposed budget keeping the current 120 mill tax rate. Council approved a second option reflecting a tax rollback of 106 mills, which will place the towns tax revenues at the amount it was before reassessment by the County this year.
The budget ordinance also reflects wording changes on penalties and due dates for tax payments, rates on water and sewer fees and states the city clerk and/or tax collector shall be responsible for the collection of delinquent taxes.
The ordinance also gives the mayor the authority to borrow up to $500,000 in tax anticipation notes.
Clardy said the amount was based on previous borrowing and would still have to be approved by a vote of council.
The amount should be acceptable for any amount the town would need. For the exact amount and terms, a vote is required, he said.
Council approved the $2.3 million budget 5-0. Second reading on the budget will be held Dec. 11 at noon.
Council also approved a resolution restating the towns position on a request by J. C. Cox Utilities.
The utility, serving Forest Hills Subdivision located on the edge of town, has requested a rate increase which must go before the Public Sevice Commission.
It is not in the best interest of the town of Williamston to accept responsibility for the system due to condition of lines and the condition of the lagoon, Mayor Clardy said.
Clardy also said it is not in the best interest of the town because the residents who are on the lagoon system are not in the Town of Williamston.
It is not in the best interest of the town to accept this system, the Mayor said.
A hearing will be held before the the Public Service Commission in Columbia on January 15.
Clardy said he will attend the meeting but the town is required to file a letter of intent by Dec. 8 stating the towns position.
Councilman David Harvell made the motion to stay with the stated position. Council approved the resolution 5-0.
Clardy also anounced that the Christmas dinner for town employees will be held on Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Municipal Center.
A Christmas dinner for the administration will be held Dec. 20 at 5:30 p.m.
Local singer/songwriter Catlin Tierce has a new CD available.
The project entitled Faith of a Child, includes 16 songs that are remakes of old gospel favorites, Christmas songs and an original, Jesus Knew the Price.
This is the third CD release by Tierce, who performs a mixture of old gospel and original material in a style he calls country gospel.
He said there is very little country gospel being played and described the music as not southern but not contemporary.
The CD also includes Jesus Music, a song written by his 13-year-old son C. J., which has been number one on WNOA radio in Syracuse New York.
The song was picked up by the station after someone heard it performed at a Childrens Miracle Net work benefit he helps organize yearly at the Pelzer Auditorium.
Tierce said he was able to record the new CD after winning the songwriters contest at the Spring Water Festival. First prize was eight hours of free recording time.
The recording was made at Workhorse Studios in Easley, Wade Powell is the engineer on the project.
Tierce said most of the music on his CDs are produced by Williamston resident Art Bain who uses a combination of a synthesizer and plays instruments for the recording.
His second CD project, Heaven Wont Be The Same Without You included all original material and included a number of people from the area and his church, Hillcrest Baptist.
His first CD, Do You See Jesus in Me, was released six years ago and included a cover of contemporary gospel and country gospel songs.
Tierce said he promotes his music by performing concerts and sending copies to radio stations. His material can be requested and heard regularly on WRIX. Most of his promotion is word of mouth.
The talented vocalist also won a talent contest at the Laurens County Fair.
He said he performs at churches, bike rallys, auditoriums and outdoor venues. He was also asked to perform for a summer jam in New York and did a nine day tour in August throughout Kentucky and Virginia with other bands from the New York area.
Tierce said he will perform where he is asked.
God is opening doors, he said.
Catlin Tierce will perform this Sunday, Dec. 7, in the Williamstons Christmas Park.
He will also be performing with six other groups at the Pelzer Auditorium on January 17.
The new CD cover features 2-year-old Jared, born premature and addicted to cocaine and marijuana, who Tierce is in the process of adopting.
The CD is available locally at the Celebration Store and J. T.s Family Restaurant. It will also be available at the park performance Sunday. Price is only $12 for CD and $10 for tape.
The Town of Williamston was recently presented a $192,000 Rural Enhancement Grant by the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) to be used for a sidewalk improvement project.
Ron Joy, SCDOT Special Assistant to the Director, presented a big check to Mayor Phillip Clardy and members of the town council.
I think it is one of the best programs we have with SCDOT because it comes back to small communities, Joy said during the presentation.
The federal grant is awarded through DOT and is earmarked for revitalization, according to Joy.
Members of the Anderson County legislative delegation including Representative Michael Thompson, Representative Dan Cooper, Senator Billy ODell and Anderson County Council District 7 Representative Cindy Wilson were instrumental in obtaining the grant and were present for the announcement.
The grant will be used to replace sidewalks on both sides of Main St., (State Hwy. 20) from Hamilton St. to Waldon Dr., according to Jaime Carter who helped coordinate grant application information along with municipal consultant Rusty Burns.
Dunn and Associates engineers also helped with the application.
The project will include replacing entire sidewalks though town and making them handicap accessible.
Work on the project is expected to begin sometime next year, Carter said.
Carter said sidewalks in the town needed to be upgrade to make them handicap accessible.
We have had some issues where persons in wheelchairs had problems on our sidewalks, Carter said.
Sidewalks in the town are cracked, and in some places, covered with debris.
In some places you cant tell there are sidewalks, Carter said.
The grant application stated the sidewalks in the town currently do not meet the Amercicans with Disabilities Act in form or spirit and are in serious disrepair and must be either rebuilt, restored or repaired.
The new sidewalks will be wider than the 5 foot ADA requirement and will have a flatter cross slope.
According to the grant, the project will provide a complete pedestrian walkway that is totally handicap accessible. The walkway will also be a part of the new Saluda Valley trail system in Anderson County.
Pride in Piedmont is sponsoring a Winter Fest and Christmas Craft Fair Saturday December 6 at the Piedmont Community Building.
The Craft Fair is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and will include a variety of items for holiday shoppers.
Crafters will be located in the large gymnasium and will also in the small gymnasium., organizers said.
Unique hand-painted leaves, handmade soaps and gels, and crafted leather and wood items highlight some of the products to be available.
Whimsical framed poetry including such poems as How Cows Make Buttermilk will delight both young and old.
Baked goods, exotic meat snacks and gourmet foods will tantalize visitors to food booths which will also provide tips on creating quick, delicious meals.
Pride in Piedmont will also have hot dogs, chips, and drinks available for hungry visitors.
Shoppers looking for special gifts will find unique handbags, jewelry, candles, and floral items while pet-lovers will enjoy a visit to the feline urgent care booth.
Lovely quilts and cozy foot warmers will also be available at booths to ward off the winter cold.
The Bonnes Amies Club will have a booth in the Cmmunity Building where they will offer Piedmont T-shirts, sweatshirts, wooden replicas of Piedmont High School and other items
Santa Claus will appear after lunch and will be available for photographs and visits.
Groups from area churches will participate in Christmas caroling and the lighting of decorations on Hotel Hill around 5:45 p.m.
Organizers are still seeking donations of lights, decorations or money to purchase these items to create a spectacular holiday display.
Donations may be dropped off at the Downtown Café, Butterbeans, or Hedstrom & Associates.
Responding to County Councils directive to take another look at the current budget, County Administrator Joey Preston presented information and recommendations on the budget at the councils regular meeting Tuesday night.
Council member Larry Greer had proposed a resolution at the November 4 meeting directing the county administrator to review the current $88 million budget in an effort to reduce the revenue needed to support it by 10%. According to Greer, the 10% reduction would equal about $2.4 million and would allow the county to return to the rollback millage level.
Adding to Greers effort, Council member Cindy Wilson presented fellow council members with a list of items she felt could be cut in the current budget.
Greers resolution passed with support from six council members with Council member Gracie Floyd abstaining from voting
Preston reminded the council that the general fund budget is $1,022,460 less than last year. The current budget allows for no cost-of-living or merit raises for county employees but does include the increasing cost of health insurance and workers compensation insurance according to Preston. .
Preston documented shrinking revenue from the vehicle tax of $3.6 million per year after full implementation of the program. Cuts from the Local Government Fund have amounted to $2.8 million reduction in revenue over the last four years according to Preston.
To attempt to accomplish the goal of the resolution, Preston presented the following list of suggestions presented by county personnel and elected officials: close the Powdersville substation, end the litter program, reduce services for Special Olympics, reduce animal shelter funding, eliminate the boot camp, reduce detention center supplies, close the Civic Center two or more weeks per month, increase tuition at Tri-County Tech, reduce the number of hours of operation at the libraries, and close two or more convenience centers.
Preston then offered management recommendations to the council. Preston proposed that the county set a goal and come up under budget reminding the council that the county has operated under budget every year since 1997. Preston also proposed that the county continue to hold down expenses without affecting services. Preston proposed that the county continue the current hiring freeze except for emergency personnel.
Concluding, Preston proposed a potential savings of $66,785 in salaries and personnel benefits, $164,458 from the hiring freeze, and $223,236 in management of areas identified by departments which totaled a budget reduction of $1,054,479.
Floyd proposed a motion to accept the recommendations although Preston stated that the council did not need to vote on the issue. Greers motion to table the vote on the motion failed.
Wilson expressed continuing concerns about excessive legal fees and renegotiating the contract with Allied Waste.
A 4-2-1 council vote supported Floyds motion. Wilson, and Greer opposed the motion, Council member Mike Holden abstained, and remaining council members supported the motion
The West Pelzer Christmas Parade will be the first in the area this Saturday, December 6 at 11 a.m.
West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton said the parade will begin at the West Pelzer Fire Department and end at Railroad Blvd. near the stop light at the intersection of Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 20.
Participants are asked to gather at Palmetto Road behind West Pelzer Elementary School beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Paxton said she is very pleased with the support the parade has received since being reinstated as an annual event last year.
Im really excited. It should be bigger than last year, she said.
Paxton and other volunteers were instrumental in organizing the 2002 parade, which was the first Christmas parade held in West Pelzer in 40 years.
Mary Lou Gray will be the grand marshall. Awards will be given in several categories, Paxton said. Judging will be held at the West Pelzer Baptist Church.
Entry forms may be picked up at Town Hall or at various local businesses. There is no fee required to participate. For more information call (864) 947-6297.
The Piedmont Christmas parade will be held December 13 at 11 a.m. The theme for this years parade will be An Old Fashioned Christmas. Entry forms are available at the Piedmont Fire Department. Anyone who would like to have an entry form mailed to them may contact Paige Crawford or Maxie Freeman at 864-244-3435 during the day or Betty White, Parade Chairman, at 864-845-5543 during the evenings.
The Williamston Christmas Parade is scheduled for 3 p.m. December 13. The theme will be Keep Christ in Christmas. Interested participants can call Town Hall at 847-7473.
The Heritage Players of Williamston will present the Broadway comedy Nunsense Dec. 5, 6, 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 7 at 2:30 p.m. at the historic Pelzer Auditorium.
The Broadway musical/comedy tells the story of the Little Sisters of Hoboken who, forced to leave a leper colony they ran in the south of France, returned to their hometown only to suffer another tragedy. Sister Julia, the convent cook, served some tainted vichyssoise soup and caused the death of 52 of her fellow sisters.
Those off playing bingo who skipped dinner were spared. In order to pay for the burial of their fellow sisters, the survivors stage a talent show. Nunsense centers around the mayhem of the nuns crowd-pleasing show.
Starring in the production are Shannon Faulkner as Sister Hubert, Donna Norman as Sister Robert, Jane Sexton as Sister Mary Regina, Lisa Crisp as Sister Leo and Mara Davis as Sister Mary Amnesia.
Nunsense is directed by Shannon Faulkner, with musical direction provided by David Watson.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and students under 18.
For more information on Nunsense, contact Lynn King, Heritage Players president, at 947-9466.