On one hand, Clinton City Council’s regular meeting Monday night was constructive, efficient and marred by little controversy.
On the other, it still took over three hours, and an hour or so was in executive session. This time, after their deliberations, the councilpersons took action when they emerged.
While citizens came forward to express support for both sides of the issue of the fate of the former Martha Dendy Middle School, no voices were raised, and City Manager Bill Ed Cannon unveiled a new, improved conception of the city recreation complex planned on the city’s northeast side.
Cannon said bids for the complex will go out shortly, and work will begin as soon as possible on the playing fields. The project will be constructed in three phases, and the planned amphitheater for entertainment events will be, in Cannon’s words, “a ways down the road.”
All the actions taken – and they were many – received approval by unanimous votes. The city’s municipal judges were sworn in for new terms.
Lots of money was committed and financial arrangements approved: $172,683 for a bucket truck through BB&T Government Finance, $137,366 for a Kubota tractor/mower, $73,211 for repair of about 400 feet of water line on Sunset Boulevard (the city is applying for a rural infrastructure grant), a $140,000 package that will enable the city to repair the roof and heating/air conditioning at the M.S. Bailey Municipal Center without it affecting the budget, and securing a loan from Santee Cooper to build a third speculative building – 50,000 square feet and expandable – near the intersection of S.C. 72 and I-26.
The city will fund the needed city hall repairs by reimbursing itself with “the proceeds of tax-exempt obligations and other matters related thereto.”
“Not many cities our size have something like this,” Mayor Bob McLean said. “It is our responsibility to maintain it.”
Cannon and Public Works & Utilities director Joey Meadors reviewed the recent tree removals by the S.C. Department of Transportation on South Broad Street.
After emerging from executive session, Council took action on two land transactions, the latter of which will restore a drive-through option for paying utility bills.
During the public comments, Costell Little Jr. appeared in behalf of Concerned Citizens for the Preservation of Martha Dendy, saying the city had “cut us out” of its deliberations regarding the closed school becoming a community center.
“We are still looking for the city to fulfill its obligations,” Little said.
Trevor Dendy, representing developers who essentially want to trade a plot on S.C. 56 for the school property, said his family wants to provide benefits for families living near the school building on North Bell Street.
Sherri Amick appeared to complain about problems in her neighborhood that require an additional police presence.
“Our area has been totally forgotten,” she said.
Ashton Barrington appeared to urge more civility in the city’s government, saying that the council and those who appear in front of it should “voice it without being like school kids.”
“There’s a way to do this and a way not to do it,” he added.
Justin Brent appeared to encourage the city to provide bike lanes on South Broad Street.
Cannon pointed out that municipal water and sewer rates would be rising 9 percent in July. He said the city’s rates were “dependent on rates passed along for repairs.”
Tuesday, Aug. 6, was proclaimed as National Night Out, a nationwide crime and drug prevention program, in Clinton.
Before the meeting adjourned at slightly after 9 p.m., council members discussed problems in need of work in their wards. Danny Cook from Ward 1 brought up the need for road work needed to repair damage done by dump trucks on Poplar Street. Ward 2’s Shirley Jenkins discussed the woeful condition of Gary Street caused by trucks servicing the Sterilite plant. Robbie Neal of Ward 3 brought up a need for a greater police presence for gatherings at Oak Street Park. Ward 4’s Gary Kuykendall discussed additional tree work needed on South Broad. Ward 5’s Ronnie Roth brought up storm damage on Florida Street.