Whitmire considering ban on texting while driving

By Elyssa Parnell

April 16, 2014

WHITMIRE — Whitmire Town Council has voted unanimously to have an ordinance written to ban texting while driving within the city limits of the town.

“I know Clemson, Greenville and other cities are doing it now,” Councilwoman Cassie Fowler said Monday during the meeting.

Mayor Billy Hollingsworth said the idea was brought to him via a letter to the town asking if it would consider an ordinance.

The first reading of the ordinance will be held at next month’s town council meeting.

In other business, in the absence of Recreation Director Joe Dillard, Hollingsworth said there are a lot of good things happening within the recreation department, and that T-ball would start up in the next week or so.

Police Chief Jeremiah Sinclair reported that for the month of March, Whitmire had 52 incident reports, 102 citations, four warrants served or withdrawn, and one traffic accident.

Some of the department’s calls included driving under suspension, trespassing, littering, and simple possession of marijuana.

The Town of Whitmire reported a beginning balance for March of $80,618.17, with $16,200.95 in deposits. Expenditures totalled $73,178.85, leaving an ending balance of $23,640.27.

Resolutions and motions

For about a year now, Hollingsworth said council has debated buying radio read meters for the town and felt it was finally time to do something about it.

“We’ve got a financial plan through BB&T for $200,000 at 2.8 percent interest for seven years,” Hollingsworth told council.

Nearly $10,000 has already been spent this year on meters, and Hollingsworth said the amount will only continue to get worse because of the age of the town’s equipment.

Depending on the price of the meters, Hollingsworth said he estimates that the town’s payments would be about $2,600 per month.

Because of the interest rate given by BB&T, Hollingsworth said he felt it was the cheapest way out for the town.

Councilwoman Chrystal Harsha made a motion to sign a resolution to finance the meters, which was seconded by Fowler.

Hollingsworth also announced that the S.C. Department of Transportation has given the town $25,000 that will be used in asphalt, sidewalk, and pothole repairs.

Of three bids that were submitted, Willingham and Sons in Newberry had the lowest bid at $18,500. Council voted unanimously to use Willingham as the contractor.

Councilman Dwight Lane asked if the remaining monies would be taken back if not used. Hollingsworth they would be used on more road repairs that would probably surface while they examined the town’s roads.

Sewer and water lines were another issue of concern for council members as fixing some lines that should be the responsibility of the homeowners could cause liability issues for the town.

“If we fix one sewer line, we’ve got to fix them all,” Hollingsworth said.”We want everyone treated fairly.”

Council members agreed that they would handle them on a case by case basis.

In other business:

• Christianna Gilliam spoke on behalf of the Whitmire Jaycees. The group is still looking at bids for less expensive estimates for electrical boxes for the town’s Party in the Pines event. The event will be held June 12-14, with the parade held that Saturday at 1 p.m.

“We’re trying to keep everything local,” Gilliam said.

• On Aug. 9, the Whitmire Jaycees is planning a back to school bash. Gilliam said they have been talking to local businesses to have bookbags and school supplies donated before the start of school.

• Maria McMurtury reminded council of the Blooms for Mom’s event on May 10, the veteran’s parade on July 19, and the 49-mile long yard sale on June 6 and June 7.

• Council passed a Fair Housing resolution that the town would provide a decent, safe and sound living environment that rejects discrimination in housing services.

• Peggy Brickles, president of the Pearl of the Piedmont Artisans group, updated council on their progress of completing their first art class. The group will have a crafts table set up for kids at the upcoming Blooms for Moms event. Currently they want to house an art show, inviting surrounding towns such as Union and Chester to come and showcase their art as well. The show would be held in the fall.

• Brickles said this fall Pearl of the Piedmont Artisans would like to join with the Rosewood Lodge in Whitmire for a country, western and blues night.

• A special meeting regarding a Pow Wow for the town was held last month. Hollingsworth said he feels it would be a good thing for the town to do. A committee will be appointed at the next meeting to do the legwork to put it together if it’s something the town votes to do.

• A budget meeting will be held at 1 p.m. April 21 at the Town Hall Annex for the town’s first budget meeting.