Few bodies take longer without action than the City of Clinton in executive session. The going rate is often over an hour an item.
For approximately 90 minutes of the regularly scheduled monthly meeting, City Council considered a weighty legal matter – regarding its erratic relationship with the Piedmont Municipal Power Agency – and returned to the bright, clear light of public scrutiny to announce there was nothing there to see.
Then Council, unanimously and one by one, thanked the city’s employees for another year of meritorious service and wished them and everyone else in town a merry Christmas.
Among other recommendations made by Council members in the final moments of the evening were Ward 2’s Shirley Jenkins expressing her concern for 18-wheelers traversing the narrow length of Gary Street en route to the Sterilite plant and Ward 4’s Gary Kuykendall raising awareness of deteriorating road conditions near Calvert Avenue Park.
Police chief Sonny Ledda and Mayor Bob McLean both said the trucking on Gary Street was probably a result of the big rigs being directed down the street by trip-mapping systems, and Ledda said he had talked at length with the Sterilite vice president for operations about the matter.
Altogether, Council wrapped about a public hour around its executive session.
Council began the evening in earnest and officially at 6, after gathering at 5 with a discussion of other topics. Shortly thereafter, Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month was proclaimed, and Main Street Clinton director Adele Alducin earned acclaim for the $1,000 Vibrancy Grant her work received in Greenville on November 20 at the annual Ten at the Top (so named for the 10 counties at the top of the state) luncheon.
Lots of cooperation was approved in a series of 7-0 votes.
Council voted to approve an intergovernmental agreement with Laurens County to set solid-waste disposal “tipping fees” at $25 a ton at a site in Cross Anchor. The closer proximity will be cheaper in the long run, considering the cost in employee time trucking previous trips to a site in Greenville for $17 a ton, and City Manager Bill Ed Cannon said the interim solution would be an improvement until the county restores its own transfer station, which Cannon estimates to be back in 5-6 months.
Partial use of Brownfield Grant money from the Environmental Protection Agency to submit Phase 1-2 plans for cleaning up the old site of Lydia Mill was approved. No taxes have been paid on the property for some time, and the city’s eventual plans are to sell it to a developer after acquiring it. The plans should require about $2,500-3,000 of the $300,000 available in grant money over three years.
On first reading, Council voted to approve the disposition of three acres of property across North Adair Street from Clinton Middle School that had been widely thought to already be the property of School District 56. The field has been commonly used for parking at Wilder Stadium during football games. It also borders Pine Haven Park and Veterans Lane. Assuming second reading passes, the property will, in fact, become District 56 property in a sale of $40,000.
Ward 5’s Ronnie Roth expressed cautionary approval for the new Clinton Public Library’s design calling for a site on West Main Street. He praised the architecture and its potentially positive impact on the community but wanted to nail down details regarding costs the city might be committing.
“There are too many questions that are open-ended,” he said.
Joey Meadors provided a list of accomplishments by the city’s Public Works Department during the year. Among projects completed were: (1.) Phase 2 improvements in water service to the old Clinton Mill neighborhood, using $650,000 in grant money; (2.) Florida Street storm-drain repair paid for similarly at a cost of $42,700; (3.) water-line repair and improvement on Sunset Boulevard at a cost of $75,000; (4.) $56,000 in sewer-line improvement in the South Adair/Fifth Avenue area for service to new Presbyterian College dormitories; (5.) a project completion at Martha Dendy Park; and (6.) paving and other improvements on Gary, Thornwell and Copeland streets, amounting to $88,000 in work.
Cannon announced that sealed bids for construction of the city’s new recreation park are to be opened on January 7, 2020, and unveiled plans for a water park, including a splash pad and other facilities, being advanced as a cooperative project between the city and the Clinton Family YMCA.
Economic Development head Marvin Moss painted an enthusiastic picture of ongoing efforts, noting the completion of a new spec building and increased interest from companies and housing developers that may locate in the city.
In general, the good news took a long time.