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Johnston Town Council Meeting Draws Crowd

By Anne Waits
web posted July 16, 2014

JOHNSTON The Johnston Town Council saw an overflow of guests at Monday night's regularly scheduled meeting. Council members Tyra Miller and Frank Nicholson were absent. Following the Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Terrence Culbreath called the meeting to order. The swearing-in of New Ward I Council member, George Attaway, by Town attorney Jennifer Sumner followed. This was followed by the presentation of a plaque to former Johnston police chief, Chris Aston. He was commended for his loyal service from 2006 to 2014.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, Charles Bledsoe inquired as to what is being done about the dilapidated houses and property in Johnston, specifically ones on Roland Street and Edisto Street.

"I know the house on Roland Street burned, but what about the remains?" he asked.
Mayor Culbreath answered that the one on Roland Street will be taken care of by the owner's insurance. "We previously could not find the owner, but we have been working with Wayne Collins of the Building & Planning Commission for Edgefield County and he found him. As for the one on Edisto Street, it is still under investigation."

Aston stated that although it was not exactly a public comment, he would like to thank the Town of Johnston and its citizens for their support during and following his service.

The June 9, 2014 minutes were approved, as well as the 2014 financial report and the June bills.

Under old business, Council briefly talked about the asbestos sampling of the old Johnston National Guard Armory. "While we usually try to get three, we have two bids going back to April on this," said Culbreath.

One bid was for $1,850 while the other was $14,715. The two companies were Arms Environmental Services and Safety Professionals. The mayor was asked why there was such a big difference in the prices and he said he did not know but both were for a sample survey and did not involve any repairs. References had been obtained on both companies.

Council member Tommy Burton commented that all the details were not there in the smaller bid and he felt it was inconclusive. "I think we need to look at this further," he said. "We need to find what was done the last time."

He was referring to a sample survey done in the past.

Culbreath said they were still hunting for the papers on what was done before.
It was also asked if there was any grant money available for the renovation and Culbreath said they have until October to apply.

Culbreath moved that they table this item until further investigation can be done and Council agreed.

Under new business, Council considered the 11th Judicial Circuit Selective Traffic Enforcement Unit Agreement. The mayor asked Interim Police Chief Lamaz Robertson to explain.

"This is similar to a resolution," said Robertson. "The Highway Patrol has asked us to grant mutual aid for traffic enforcement to all 24 law enforcement agencies within the Judicial Circuit including Edgefield, Saluda, McCormick and Lexington Counties. We come to an agreement to provide multiple law enforcement agencies to come here to work and vice versa. They are paid by their own areas."

Council approved the agreement.

Under committee reports, Burton said he would like to thank the police and fire departments for what they do for their town.

Under office of Town Council, Council member Tommy Stone reminded everyone that he and some other members had checked out the warehouse owned by the Edwards family next door. "It's a nice warehouse and good location," he said.

The mayor said he agreed that it has lots of space and he likes the location.
"It's just that do we do it budget-wise?" he said. Burton agreed. "It's a great location and a nice building, but we need to ask ourselves if we really have a need for it," he stated.

While Council agreed they don't need to wait too long, they decided to discuss it at a later date.

Councilman Burton mentioned that people in town are putting bamboo out by the road that the Town does not pick it up and it is trashing up the town.

"We need to enforce the fact that we do not pick it up and ask that they not put it out there," he said.

He also stated that there are a whole lot of complaints about dogs running loose and the Town needs to be consistent in what they are doing about them (the leash law) and not single anybody out.

Under the mayor's report, the mayor stated that he and all the officers are dealing with the situation about the dogs and the bamboo.He said he has also been personally following the situation with the dilapidated properties and is dealing with Mr. Collins and the Town Attorney to see what can be done. Letters have been sent out and people are following up slowly.

He also stated there are vacancies on two of the boards, the Planning and the Appeals. He asked Council members to talk to constituents in their wards and come up with some names, hopefully by next Council meeting.

He mentioned that officer Robertson has been appointed as Interim police chief which was effective immediately upon Aston's resignation. As to the problem of the shortage of police officers, the Town is doing interviews and is working to fix the shortage as soon as possible. Officer Casey Williams recently resigned.

The next Johnston Town Council meeting will be at the Johnston Learning Center on Aug. 11.






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