MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
OF THE WALHALLA CITY COUNCIL
June 16, 2020
Present: Mayor Danny Edwards, Councilman David Underwood, Councilman Dennis Owens, Councilwoman Sarai Melendez, Councilman Danny Woodward, Councilman Keith Pace, Councilman Josh Roberts and Brent Taylor, City Administrator.
Mayor Edwards called the meeting to order at 5:30 pm and led the pledge of allegiance.
Mayor Edwards called for a Public Hearing on the FY 2021 Fiscal Year Budget. The Mayor asked for comment. No one from the public had comments. The Mayor closed public hearing on the budget.
Mr. Luther Lyles stated, “His family lived here for 150 years. He has a History Degree from Newberry College and a Masters Degree from Clemson. He served on the Oconee Heritage Center Board of Directors and is Curator of the Museum of the Cherokee. He stated the Confederate Memorial on Main St. is not a monument, but a memorial to the fallen soldiers paid for by the mothers, wives, and daughters of the Women Pickens District. It was erected in 1910 on College and Main St. and moved in the 1950’s to its current location. The memorial should stay where it is. The Heritage Center has no place to put it. It will take 2/3 of both houses in the state legislature to move it.”
Mr. John Klement is a U.S. Navy veteran for ten years also spoke on the monument. He suggests moving it to another location. He stated, “Neither side wants it torn down. We need to hear all voices, comprise and come together as one.” He said, “The Commander of the Sons of the Confederacy suggested moving it to a place so it can be protected.”
Melissa Muller is a life-long resident of Walhalla whose family has a long history of living in the area. She stated, “Her ancestors fought in the Civil War. She was raised to respect history. She has no problem with the memorial, but with the flag. She has an interracial son and has experienced racial issues with that. She doesn’t want the flag destroyed, but moved to another place. She encouraged Council to come up with a solution to satisfy both sides.”
Michael Whitaker stated “When memorials are relocated, they aren’t necessarily safe. Some have been relocated to junk yards which is an insult. If people don’t see the memorials how are they going to learn about the history. We should leave them there as a reminder.”
Mr. Goldsmith stated the memorial needs to be removed. “Some people feel hurt and hate when they see them. He would like for these people to be able to see that side of it. It should be moved from its current location. People may not want to come to Walhalla because of it. We need to come together and have a good plan for it.”
Candance Richardson stated she had been up there to peacefully protest. She said, “It is better to have this relocated to a cemetery or museum. We need to celebrate our diversity and be respectful to each other and not be separate. We need to stop glorifying a history that wasn’t good.”
On a motion made by Mr. Woodward ORDINANCE 2020-10 AN EMERGENCY ORDINANCE ENACTING A CURFEW FOR THE CITY OF WALHALLA EFFECTIVE MONDAY, JUNE 15, 2020; AND DELEGATING TO THE MAYOR, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE CHIEF OF POLICE AND CITY ADMINISTRATOR THE ABILITY TO EXTEND THE BOUNDARIES, TO WHICH THE CURFEW APPLIES AND THE HOURS AND /OR DAYS IN WHICH SUCH CURFEW SHALL REMAIN IN EFFECT IN ORDER TO RESPOND TO CHANGING CONDITIONS to add to the agenda. The motion was seconded by Mr. Pace and was approved unanimously.
Approval of Minutes: On a motion by Mr. Woodward, seconded by Mr. Underwood and unanimously carried, the minutes for the regular meeting on May 20, 2020 meeting were approved.
Reading of Resolutions and Ordinances:
Mr. Roberts made a motion to approve ORDINANCE 2020-4 TO RAISE REVENUE AND ADOPT FOR THE CITY OF WALHALLA, SOUTH CAROLINA A BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR BEGINNING JULY 1, 2020 AND ENDING JUNE 30, 2021. The motion was seconded by Mr. Pace and was approved unanimously.
Discussion: The Mayor asked, “If anybody wanted to amend the budget.” Mr. Woodward asked, “If this included amendments from the prior budget meeting?” The Administrator replied, “It did.” Ms. Melendez stated, “There should be some additional funds allocated in the future if need be for the Police Department for travel, training and overtime. She specifically mentioned allocating resources so the department can receive cultural/diversity training. This type of training can help bridge a gap in the community.” She referenced the Sheriff’s Department is taking steps in that direction. Mr. Roberts stated, “We can monitor this and adjust as we go.” Mr. Underwood said, “We got what we need to operate and we can adjust as we go. I agree 100% if we need to do it in the future.” Mr. Woodward said, “All departments had to take a cut.” Mr. Owens stated, “If we need to do more for police we can do so in the future.” The Mayor stated, “Due to Co-vid 19 we aren’t sure what the future is going to bring. However, we can always amend the budget in the future.”
Mr. Underwood made a motion to approve ORDINANCE 2020-5 TO AMEND ORDINANCE 2019-6, AN ORDINANCE TO REGULATE, RESTRICT AND LIMIT, IN THE INTEREST OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY, THE USE AND OPERATION OF THE WATER WORKS SYSTEM MAINTAINED AND OWNED BY OR WHICH MAY BECOME THE PROPERTY OF THE CITY OF WALHALLA AND PROVIDING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION THEREOF. Mr. Pace seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Discussion: There was no discussion.
Mr. Roberts made a motion to approve ORDINANCE 2020-6 AN ORDINANCE TO RAISE REVENUE AND ADOPT A BUDGET FOR THE CITY OF WALHALLA, SOUTH CAROLINA, WATER AND SEWER DEPARTMENTS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR BEGINNING JULY 1, 2020 AND ENDING JUNE 30, 2021. Mr. Underwood seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Mr. Roberts made a motion to approve ORDINANCE 2020-7 TO RAISE REVENUE AND ADOPT FOR THE CITY OF WALHALLA, SOUTH CAROLINA, A LOCAL 2% HOSPITALITY BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR BEGINNING JULY 1, 2020 AND ENDING JUNE 30, 2021. Mr. Underwood seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Discussion: Ms. Melendez asked, “What was the Hospitality Revenues last year?” The Administrator said, “It was around $255,000.” The Mayor stated, “The rate isn’t going to change.”
Mr. Roberts made a motion to approve ORDINANCE 2020-8 AN ORDINANCE TO ANNEX PROPERTY INTO THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE CITY OF WALHALLA. Mr. Underwood seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Discussion: The Mayor recused himself from the discussion because he owns most of the properties. Mayor Pro-Temp conducted the meeting for this ordinance.
Mr. Pace made a motion to approve ORDINANCE 2020-9 AN ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR THE RECOVERY OF COSTS BY FEES FROM USERS OF FIRE PROTECTION AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES. Mr. Woodward seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Discussion: Mr. Pace stated this will help the City recover cost from incidents involving the Fire Department by billing the recipient insurance company.
Mr. Woodward made a motion to approve ORDINANCE 2020-10 AN EMERGENCY ORDINANCE ENACTING A CURFEW FOR THE CITY OF WALHALLA EFFECTIVE MONDAY, JUNE 15, 2020; AND DELEGATING TO THE MAYOR, IN CONSULTATION WITH THE CHIEF OF POLICE AND CITY ADMINISTRATOR THE ABILITY TO EXTEND THE BOUNDARIES, TO WHICH THE CURFEW APPLIES AND THE HOURS AND /OR DAYS IN WHICH SUCH CURFEW SHALL REMAIN IN EFFECT IN ORDER TO RESPOND TO CHANGING CONDITIONS. Mr. Underwood seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Discussion: Mr. Owens made a motion to amend the ordinance to state June 15 instead of June 16. The motion was seconded by Woodward and it was approved unanimously.
The Administrator explained, “This established a curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The boundary includes from Maple St. to John St. North Broad, South Broad and Main St. Also, includes S. Pine St. Diedrich St. basically all County Buildings. The curfew time or boundaries can be reduced or increased by the Mayor in consultation with Police Chief, City Administrator and when possible other members of Council. It doesn’t include people going to work or seeking health care.” Mr. Underwood asked, “What about people checking on their business?” The Administrator said,” That is included going to and from work.” Mr. Owens asked, “What about tourist going through town.” The Administrator said, “They aren’t going to get stopped.” Mr. Underwood expressed concerns about protesters being in people’s yards. Chief Brinson sated that protesters that were in people’s yards had the consent of the owner.
Chief Brinson reported, “A group of people showed up today at the monument to have a peaceful demonstration. They had a peaceful discussion and no law enforcement action was needed.”
The Administrator asked the Chief, “In your opinion is a curfew needed?” The Chief replied, “It isn’t needed tonight, but it would be good to have the ordinance in place in case we need it. It is because most of the protest that have happened have been unplanned protest.” Ms. Melendez asked for clarification on the dates. The Administrator suggested that the dates be eliminated and this become a 60-day emergency ordinance. He also stated the consulting process of the Chief, Administrator and Council when possible would still apply.
Mr. Owens made a motion to not include in the ordinance:
WHEREAS, On May 25, 2020, George Floyd died while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department. Since Mr. Floyds death, many have expressed their frustration in a peaceful and constructive manner. While peaceful demonstrations are essential to our democratic system, some individuals have engaged in unlawful activities. These activities threaten the safety of lawful demonstrators, the surrounding communities and emergency personnel and,
He stated, “He didn’t see the need for this statement as it wasn’t relevant to the protest in Walhalla. Therefore, it should be struck.”
Ms. Melendez stated, “The reason for the protest occurring was because of what was happening nationally and Mr. Floyd’s death was the catalyst for this happening. This needs to be included so people in the future will know why this is happening.
Mr. Owens and The Mayor both agreed this was a good point.
Mr. Owens withdrew his motion.
Mr. Underwood said, “We need to create a permanent ordinance to enact a curfew if necessary, in the future.”
Mr. Pace reported the Department responded to:
85 calls for service
9 instances of mutual aid.
Staff trained 400 hours.
Fire Marshall completed 24 business inspections.
Chief presented a plan for Stumphouse traffic control.
Presented an ordinance establishing incident recovery fees.
He is working on FEMA grants.
Mr. Roberts reported:
- We got an update on Independence Eve plans.
- We are going to look at Catherine St. options at next committee meeting.
- Informed our Code Enforcement officer left.
- We went over the budget.
Mr. Owens reported:
The Department collected
251 tons residential garbage
77 tons commercial garbage
96 tons of brush = 32 loads
32 tons of C&D = 9 loads
1.69 tons of furniture = 3 loads
1.95 tons of mattress = 63 mattress
Department is working on beautification of the City Parking lot.
Updated on status of garbage trucks.
Ms. Melendez reported:
Football, Cheerleading, Soccer, Fall Baseball and Softball registration is going from June 15-26.
The season is intending to start around August 1st.
We received an update on the pool.
Ms. Melendez thanked everyone who came out today to express their concerns. She looks forward to hearing more concerns in the future. She thanked the Mayor for starting the diversity committee and believes we will learn a lot from it. She thanked the Police Department for their work during the protest.
Mr. Woodward reported the committee received the following information:
Issued 293 tickets
1100 Calls for Service
319 extra patrols
They haven’t trained as much due to the Coronavirus.
Received personnel and equipment.
Mr. Underwood reported the committee:
We got an update on quotes for Stribling Shoals pump station.
We were notified that we were awarded the Rural Infrastructure Authority grant for the Cane Creek Sewer project.
We were informed the Sewer Authority is going to pursue some grants and how that may affect us.
We got an update on the progress of the new water plant.
Mayor’s Comments: The Mayor thanked the Police Department, Fire Department, Administrator and Street Department for their efforts during the protest. He also said, “He is starting a diversity and inclusion committee and will ask some council members to be a part of it along with the Chief of Police. He will invite others to be involved.
Brent Taylor, City Administrator