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Edgefield Town Council Considers Budget, Mayor Comments on 1% Sales Tax

By Anne Waits
web posted April 9, 2014

EDGEFIELD Edgefield Town Council met Monday night with Council approving several requests from community members and Mayor Ken Durham handing out copies of Draft Budget FY2014-15 to Council members to take home and look over.
"The department heads, Charlotte, we all worked hard on this budget, with them commenting and offering suggestions," said the mayor. "It is a good, solid budget"

"We have a few issues with insurance, things like that that everyone has to fight through. You will see some pretty large increases in a couple of those items. We were able to get another police car budgeted for this year. You will see a large item in there. too, our fire department pagers. We are having a lot of issues, have been for years. A lot of firemen are not getting their messages. We budgeted for new pagers. Go through it and call me with any questions and we will sit down and go over it," Durham said.

Following the adoption of the minutes from March 3, 2014 and the financial report for March 2014, Council heard from Beth Padgett, a member of Edgefield Community Development Association, who was requesting permission to hold a Cruise-In in the downtown area on Saturday, July 19, 2014 from 4 to 7 p.m.

"This would be a place for owners of classic and antique cars to drive and show off their cars, meet new friends and enjoy being together," she said. "The one that is held in Washington, Ga. each year is one of the best and has been quite successful. I'm hoping to attract people to our town and make them want to come back."

Padgett said the Cruise-In would use the Square and Main Street and she would be putting in a request for Park Row Market and Edgefield Billard Parlor to stay open, as well as other groups to come in to provide refreshments. WJES has said they could be there with their live remote, she said.

"We will need a Port-O-Let because it wouldn't be fair to have people running in and out of the businesses just to use the bathroom," she said. "Also, we will need money for advertising and a banner."

ECDA has agreed to donate money, as well as several businesses. Padgett said she will be contacting other businesses also, "We are asking the Town to sponsor as well," she said. "We figure we will need around $1,500 to put it all together."
She mentioned a 50/50 raffle with the winner taking half and the other half going to ECDA.

Padgett said they expect at least 100 cars to show up, as well as trucks and motorcycles. Padgett has been successful with cruise-ins at her home for several years, with 40 to 45 cars showing up. "This is not a car show," she said. "It is a cruise-in, and we're hoping to get clubs and individuals from Aiken, Augusta, Columbia and Greenwood, as well as Edgefield County."

Council voted to match ECDA's contribution up to $500.

Durham said she will need to meet with Police Chief Ronnie Carter soon to see about detouring traffic from the downtown area for the event.

Council further approved a request from Thomas Herlong to grant permission to place a banner at Town Hall to advertise a National Day of Prayer, May 1, 2014.

They also approved a request from David Satcher, with Edgefield Chapter SCV Camp 1532, granting permission to place a Confederate flag and wreath on the Town Square in recognition of Confederate Memorial Day, May 10, 2014, with Council members Jasper Lloyd and and Otis Yeldell voting against the request.

Under new business, Councilman Yeldell asked what, if anything, could be done about buzzards attacking cars in some portions of the town.

The mayor said that was the second report he had heard of birds attacking cars. He first made a joke and said, "Shoot them. We live in the south," then on a more serious note said to call Chief Ronnie Carter and he could go out and do something about them.

Under the mayor's report, he stated there will be a Heritage Jubilee meeting at 6 p.m. on April 17 at Town Hall and that Sunrise Services will be held at Slades Lake on Easter Sunday morning.

He further stated that the One Percent Capital Sales Tax proposed by the County did not pass. "I want you all to understand our effort in this," he said. "It was initiated by the County. We were asked several times to give two members to a committee and whether we were for the tax or not, I thought it was our responsibility to provide two members. If the County was going to pass the tax, then Edgefield needed to get their fair share, get a project in. If you see Beth Worth or Craig McMullin--they worked a lot of hard hours on this trying to do what they thought the County was asking for. They were doing what the County was asking for. It just didn't turn out."

He added that it had been reported that he stormed out of a meeting mad and he did not storm out mad, he had a fire department meeting that he'd done for a long time.

"The committee did a good job," he said. "Councilman Dorn is here and he let everybody know he wasn't voting to start with and he didn't change his mind. My preference would have been to table it that night. If you didn't want them to spend $8 million or whatever amount over 7 years--some said they could go two years--then give the committee redirection. Say, 'Let's put substations in the fire department, let's put a medical facility  in the Merriwether section and let's upgrade some of the recreation.' I've have been prerfectly okay with that--with half the money or a third of the money over a two year or three year period."

He said if he was disappointed at all it was because it just died on the vine after all that work without at least taking one last step. He said he wasn't mad at the County for voting against it or for bringing it up, he just felt it was a lot of wasted time without taking that one little dash to the finish line.

He said some of the Councilmen didn't like the amount of time, some didn't like the amount of money and others didn't like the projects.

"But as our members were developing these lists, the chairman was getting the lists," he said. "They were looking at the lists. The committee thought they had given them a list that they liked--we had public input out here. And then the comments were that there were too many wants and not enough needs. I just wanted everyone to be clear on our role in the whole process."

Following executive session, Council voted to fill a vacant slot in the Public Works Department with Macon Campbell, a former Town employee.







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