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1% Sales Tax Tops Discussion of Edgefield Council Meeting

By Anne Waits
web posted January 8, 2014

EDGEFIELD Edgefield Town Council began its first meeting of the new year with the induction of new Council member Otis Yeldell, Ward 6. Following the adoption of the Dec. 2, 2013 meeting minutes and the adoption of the December 2013 financial report, Councilman Jasper Lloyd administered the Oath of Office to Yeldell. Most of the meeting was discussing the proposed 1% sales tax.

Council then granted the following: a letter of request from Calvin Henderson to host the 41st Edgefield Christmas Parade on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014 with use of the Town Square; and a letter of request from the Men's Ministry of Edgefield Baptist Association for free use of the Town Gym on Feb. 8, 2014 for the purpose of hosting a community outreach Wild Game Supper.

The remainder of the meeting was primarily taken up with a discussion led by Mayor Ken Durham on projects that may be submitted to Edgefield County for consideration for use of the 1 percent Capital Sales Tax, The County is proposing a 1 percent sales tax to be added to the ballot as a means to get needed projects done in the county and is asking each municipality to get up a list of projects they would like to see happen.

Committee members Craig McMullian and Beth Worth, who represent the Town, were present for the meeting and stated they had been to two meetings and were due for another one next Wednesday night regarding the matter. The meeting Wednesday night will be a public hearing held at the County Council Building in Edgefield.

The mayor presented a list compiled by himself and Council members based on suggestions they had heard, and asked for input from citizens on further projects they want. The revised list included further suggestions from Council members and citizens in the audience and was as follows: a community center, which could be from the purchase of Kendall Mill or renovation of the Town Gym; upgrade and repair of the park in town; repair to the baseball concession stand; a Veteran's park; connecting the town via sidewalk and rail trails down to Everett Keesley's; repair/replace girls' softball bleachers; Soccer Field drainage; Streetscape including widening sidewalk, closure of one-way alleys with arbors, etc.; something for the theatre group which may be included in Community Center; Willowbrook Cemetery; a roof and window glazing for the Civic League; and mobile unit restrooms when visitors come to town.

"I met with Roger (LeDuc, town administrator) for two and a half hours over the holidays here in Town Hall," stated Durham. "We really don't know how much money will be involved (by some calculations, upwards of $900,000 a year) or the formula for dividing it among the County and municipalities."

Councilman Jackson asked McMullian if they were expected to make the decision on the distribution on Wednesday night and he replied he was under the impression that the County comes up with the percentage list, but he would ask.

The mayor said he suspected a nice community center would take about half the money.

"We can do a lot with this money," he said. "And we can touch a lot of citizens. Not everyone has kids in soccer and baseball. We want to try to have something for everybody."

Under Committee Reports, Councilman Yarborough reported six fire calls in December.
"The young firemen did a great job at the fire at Theo Williams' equipment shed," said the mayor. "For some of these, it was their first big fire, but they stepped up. If you see them, commend them."

Under the Mayor's Report, Durham stated that the deer season is now over and the crew in town killed 25 deer.He stated he believes it did make a difference.
He added that the Town website is close to being ready.

"It looks really nice," he said. "Several have looked at it.Tonya and Charlotte have made some corrections as to historical inconsistencies. Grace is coming this week to meet again. Before we go live with it, we may have it put on the screen for Council members to view it. We can still make corrections."

He again welcomed former Council member Yeldell back on Council and stated that the Town has a lot to do the coming year.

"Again, I've met with Roger (the administrator) a lot during the holidays, and there's a lot of unfinished business," he said. "We need to prioritize. I would suggest you get with Roger when possible. I have twenty items written on the board that we want to work on during the year."

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