Whitmire discusses sales tax

By Elyssa Parnell - eparnell@civitasmedia.com
Hollingsworth -

By Elyssa Parnell

eparnell@civitasmedia.com

Hollingsworth
https://www.newberryobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_Billy-Hollingsworth.jpgHollingsworth

WHITMIRE — Whitmire Town Council discussed several projects for the 2016 tax referendum Monday night. Mayor Billy Hollingsworth said the special meeting was called because he thought the scope of the projects had to be turned in by October 18, but he recently had learned they had until Oct. 30.

“We have to decide what projects to ask for,” Hollingsworth said.

Projects discussed Monday included the renovation of Town Hall and adjoining buildings, a water line on Church St., fixing up the Whitmire High School auditorium and updates to the town golf course.

Although he said he had not done a lot of thinking on it, Hollingsworth said something he had in mind to put on the ballot was to get a new water line put in on Church St.

“I have been trying my best to get Church Street repaved from 121 to the county line,” Hollingsworth said. “Our water line does not go all the way and DOT hesitates to repave it because of the infrastructure of the road.”

Hollingsworth said the new water line would probably be about an eight inch line.

Council member Cassie Fowler suggested a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) but Hollingsworth said the town would have to come up with 25 percent of the monies and should the line turn out to be a half a million dollar project, the town could not fund that much.

Fowler said she would like to see some of the CPST money go toward the golf course including adding additional restrooms to make it more women-friendly and maybe a recreational facility added between the golf course and the river. Another suggestion Fowler had was adding wireless internet to the course’s clubhouse.

“I think it would be good for tourism to fix it up,” Fowler said. “We definitely want to keep our younger members.”

Councilman Michael Thomas said that they all kept mentioning the old Whitmire High School and what they would do with the building and this could be the time.

“This may be the only opportunity we get to make it like a civic center,” Thomas said.

The main thing that needs to be done is the auditorium, Thomas said, so they could get schools or organizations in the building.

Hollingsworth told council they could finalize and prioritize their list at their meeting next month.

“Study the list and the general ideas and we can add to and finalize the two to five projects we want to submit to the county and prioritize them in order,” Hollingsworth said. “I say we need to submit at least five.”

In other business, council discussed how to improve their dilapidated buildings within the town limits.

Hollingsworth said he had someone look at properties and they found 10-11 that were recognized as hazards.

Because they have officially been recognized as hazards, Hollingsworth said the town needed to follow through with the properties. It could be as much as $7,500 for the abatement of buildings, he said.

Hollingsworth said he would look at the current year’s budget to try to see if there was anywhere he could amend to come up with $10,000 to get a few of the properties taken care of this year. More would be taken care of in the upcoming year.

“Bottom line, I don’t think there’s any help financially for us to get this done,” Hollingsworth said.

By the next meeting, Hollingsworth said he would get council a copy of the Newberry Planning and Development Services Department’s requirements for what determined a vacant building.

Hollingsworth said it would be a long, drawn-out process but he did not want to take the tax-payer’s money to take care of these buildings when they could find money in the budget for it.

Other updates:

• Council also approved first reading Monday of selling property on Cemetery Drive to Danny Wayne Southerland for $1,000. The property belongs to the town, but adjoins to property that Southerland bought. It is .938 acres, Hollingsworth said and was deemed that it would never have any real purpose to the town which is why they wanted to sell it.

Reach Elyssa Parnell at 803-276-0625, ext. 1868, or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.

Reach Elyssa Parnell at 803-276-0625, ext. 1868, or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.