NEWBERRY — Newberry City Council passed a request last week to allow the consumption of alcohol in Memorial Park and the Newberry Opera House at the Hejaz Shrine Temple’s Spring Ceremonial, scheduled for June 2 through June 4.
In recent years, the Newberry Opera House has served beer and wine inside the building. With an estimated 300 to 400 Shriners expected, the Hejaz requested to council to overflow into Memorial Park.
“As they have done before, they are going to have a drop-in session in the Opera House lobby. In the past we have allowed this, and I don’t see a problem allowing them to do it again,” said Mayor Foster Senn.
On June 3 at 10 a.m. a parade will take place down Main Street. The parade will assemble on Johnstone Street and will route from Calhoun to Nance. A lunch and memorial service will follow at Newberry College in honor of members that recently passed. The weekend will conclude with a dinner served at the Newberry Shrine Club. The opening reception at the Opera House will run from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
• City Manager Matt DeWitt reported an increase in electric units sold by 1.53 percent and water units by 1.05 percent. DeWitt also reported the City received $343,000 in state revenues due to $48,000 the City received in September for the purchase of police body cameras with an additional $295,000 grant from the CTC.
“We got that money before the tide turned in 2015. We secured that and then things started changing for us with the CTC. That was used to help repave Forest Ridge. We also have another $100,000 coming from CTC for the West End paving we just completed,” said DeWitt.
The Public Works and Sanitation expenditures totaled at $526,288. This included the purchase of a trash loader for $138,900 and a leaf machine for $167,224. The City budgeted $310,000 for those purchases and totaled at $306,124.
• Janice Wilson was recognized for her 15 years of service with the City’s Finance Department. Wilson began her employment on Feb. 11, 2002 and holds the position of Customer Service Coordinator.
• City Council presented the NHS Girls’ Varsity Basketball Team and Coaching Staff with a resolution highlighting the team’s impressive 2017 Upper State Championship win. Signed copies of the resolution were presented to Coach Melissa Mendenhall, Assistant Coach Tonya Deese-Jeter and players that were in attendance.
• A second and final reading of an ordinance to authorize police officers to perform off-duty jobs during off-duty hours was passed by Council.
• Melissa Sheppard with the Newberry County Community Players and the Ritz Theatre addressed Council on their recent changes to board, upcoming events, facade improvements and other updates.
“We are trying to make some positive changes. We’re all involved in the Chamber and we’ve been more involved in the Downtown Merchant’s Association. We’re working to make sure our building is safe for everyone and we just want folks to use the building more. It’s a community building that’s got 500 seats, so why not use it,” said Sheppard.
• Council approved the consideration of Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee’s Recommendations. Five applicants submitted applications, which totaled at $87,780. The following funding amounts were approved by the Committee:
Newberry Opera House – $18,300
Downtown Merchants Association – $7,320
Parks, Recreation and Tourism – $12,200
Newberry Community Players – $6,575.80
Oktoberfest – $9,979.24
• Council approved the annexation of the 214.98 acre parcel to be the Newberry Sports Complex. Before the reading of Ordinance # 2017-1004, Council had to adopt this resolution that would allow the City of Newberry to annex the 214.98 acre parcel that fronts Dixie Drive.
• City Council passed a resolution designating April as Fair Housing Month.
• The City accepted the annexation petition and first reading of an ordinance (2017-1002) to annex certain areas contiguous to the City Limits of the City of Newberry, into the City Limits- 42 Railroad Ave. Council also accepted a petition to annex and hold a first reading of an ordinance (2017-1003) to annex property at 252 Mt. Bethel Garmany Road.
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.