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Culbreath Takes Charge as Mayor at April Meeting

By Anne Waits
web posted April 16, 2014

JOHNSTON The Johnston Town Council met Monday night, with the first order of business being the installation of new mayor and Council members following the April 8 election. Town Attorney Jennifer Sumner administered the oath to Terrence Culbreath (Mayor) and Tommy Burton and Tommy Stone (re-elected Council members). On behalf of Town Council, Council member Tyra Miller then presented outgoing mayor Andy Livingston with a plaque for his loyalty and dedicated service during his time as mayor.

Culbreath then took charge of the meeting, There were no public comments from the large crowd of spectators.

Council approved the minutes form the March 10, 2014 meeting and the March 2014 Financial Report.

In old business, Council adopted on second reading Ordinance No. 2014-01, an ordinance approving required wording of the Procurement Procedure.

Katrina Fulmore then addressed Council for the second time regarding a proposal for the rental of the Garden Center for her business, Johnston Tropical Sno. At the last meeting, she talked about the long history of the building and it's having been a police station and Garden Club Center and wanting to preserve that history. Several Council members had expressed negative feelings about the business being in that location due to its proximity to the railroad tracks and traffic, as well as the Garden Club's interest in the building.

"I've done some research since the last visit and I believe we could put up a fence that would keep the children inside the graveled area, taking away from liability concerns," she said.

Also, she stated she had done some measuring and the building was no closer to the street than some of the other surrounding businesses and it was 43 feet from the railroad tracks.

She said she had further researched the history at the Genealogical Society.
"I found no references to the police station at all, but did find references and a picture of the Garden Club going back to 1954," she said.

A citizen from the audience tried to speak and say that the police station was there in the late 50s and early 60s, and was told she was not on the agenda to speak.
Councilman Stone said, "I hate to do anything that would stymie business in town--Lord knows we need businesses. But I stated before that we would have to go through the Garden Club to do anything and I feel it's not an appropriate place. I talked to some of the Garden Club members and it is an historical point and it would be a slap in the face to them for us to do anything without their consent. I don't, ever, discourage placing the business somewhere else in town."

Councilman Burton said he was concerned about kids playing and there is not a full sidewalk there. "I don't think the Town would be willing to rent the building and you get it up to par and then someone else rent it," he said.

Fulmore argued that the street has sufficient curb and that it is no closer to the street than other buildings.

Burton said it does not have full sidewalk like on the other side of the street. "I would love to see you have your business in a place where you would be comfortable and the kids would be safe," he said.

Councilwoman Miller said there are other parcels of land on Lee Street and property owners who would let her park a trailer there for her business. The proposal failed for lack of a motion.

Discussion of police vehicles was supposed to follow, but Miller said she thought they were still waiting on information from the bank about financing and interest rates. This was confirmed by Police Chief Chris Aston.

In new business, Councilman Stone nominated Miller for Mayor Pro-Tem, but she asked that her name be withdrawn. Culbreath nominated Councilman Frank Nicholson and he accepted and was approved by Council.

Burton moved to appoint Frances Quarles as secretary-treasurer and Attorney Jennifer Sumner as town attorney and Council approved.

Following a discussion on Peach Blossom Advertising, Council voted to contribute $2,000 out of their hospitality fund (the same amount as last year) for advertising for the festival. Council also approved a request from the Johnston Development Board for use of the Municipal Parking Lot and closing of the streets for the upcoming festival.

At the last meeting, the Clean-up Campaign for the Town of Johnston was discussed, and at this meeting Resolution No. 2014-03 was adopted. The resolution calls for efforts by the Town and its citizens to free the town of litter in view of the amount of travelers passing through the town during the month of April, designated as Clean-up Month. Special emphasis was put on the week of April 21-27. The mayor stated that Public Works would provide litter bags and he hoped all citizens would cooperate.
A request from Philippi Baptist Church to use Watson Park on Saturday, May 4, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. for a baseball camp was approved.

Council re-appointed Thomas Holmes to Edgefield County Recreation Department Committee and re-appointed Henry Black to Johnston Municipal Election Commission.
A date was set for FY2014/15 Budget Workshop for April 28 at 6:30 p.m.

A question was asked if new committees would be appointed and the mayor said he would wait until after the special election on July 8 for his seat as Council member to appoint new committees.

Under the Office of Town Council, Burton said he would like to mention that last year during the Peach Blossom Festival street dance there was a problem with the influx of teenagers.

"The Police Department handled it well, but we need to get a handle on it early before it erupts into real trouble, and we need to make sure there is enough police coverage," he said.

Stone said he understands there are problems with curbside pick-ups and Burton added that there is a serious problem. There was some discussion, and Nicholson said he feels that the real problem is some people don't want to work.

"Sometimes, you just have to make a change in personnel," he said.

Under the Mayor's Report, Culbreath asked for input from the committees and how they'll deal with the personnel issues. He thanked everyone for their support and for bearing with him during his first meeting as mayor.

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