MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
OF THE WALHALLA CITY COUNCIL
July 21, 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.
There was no public Input.
Mr. Roberts made a motion to add two items to the agenda. The motion was seconded by Mr. Pace and approved unanimously.
- Discussion for water payment plans and disconnects during coronavirus pandemic.
- RESOLUTION 2020-6 A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE EXECUTION OF AN EQUIPMENT LEASE PURCHASE AGREEMENT IN AN AMOUNT NOT EXCEEDING $120,000 RELATING TO THE PURCHASE OF CERTAIN EQUIPMENT BY THE CITY OF WALHALLA, AUTHORIZING THE EXECUTION OF OTHER NECESSARY DOCUMENTS AND PAPERS AND MATTERS RELATING THERETO.
Approval of Minutes: On a motion by Mr. Woodward, seconded by Mr. Pace and unanimously carried, the minutes for the regular meeting on June 16, 2020 meeting were approved.
Discussion of Water Billing
Mr. Underwood brought up for discussion about providing payment plans for people who are delinquent on water bills and are on the verge of getting disconnected. He referenced Ms. Wilson who doesn’t have a job, has five kids, and her bill is over $75. Mr. Parris stated at this time there are 98 customers who owe $23,938.06. He stated that if we go with a payment plan, we will not be able to do cutoffs this month. The Administrator stated, “The Governor’s Regulatory Commission is strongly urging us to do a payment plan. However, it will be a lot of work for staff.” Mr. Parris said, “The staff would have to keep track of it on separate spread sheets. Some people haven’t paid since January. Some people don’t even open their bills.” He also stated that customers get a courtesy phone call, but some haven’t contacted us because they know right now there are no consequences. They don’t react until they are about to be disconnected.”
Ms. Melendez asked, “Are people who owe before pandemic still cut off as opposed to the ones who became delinquent during the pandemic? Mr. Parris responded, “It is a mix and the Governor’s recommendation doesn’t distinguish between them as far disconnecting those before and during the pandemic.”
Ms. Melendez stated, “Some probably don’t open their bills because they know they don’t have the ability to pay. Mr. Owens asked, “What are the highest bills?” Mr. Parris said, “Some are between $500 and $1,000 or more.”
Mr. Underwood said, “I would like to help people even if it is a 3 or 6-month payment plan.” Mr. Parris stated, “If they don’t have a job, how are they going to pay in 3-6 months?”
Mr. Pace said, “We have tried to help by both extending cut-off time and balance that can be carried forward.”
Mr. Owens asked, “Should they be required to pay 20% more on each bill until they are current? Mr. Parris said, “It will be easier to just have 6 equal installments.”
After some brief discussion, Council agreed and directed staff to require the 98 customers by August 12 to come in person to establish a payment plan. Staff is to send out a letter and disseminate information on the website, Facebook and use local media informing them of the payment plan opportunity.
Reading of Resolutions and Ordinances:
Mr. Roberts made a motion to approve RESOLUTION 2020-6 AN RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE EXECUTION OF AN EQUIPMENT LEASE PURCHASE AGREEMENT IN AN AMOUNT NOT EXCEEDING $120,000 RELATING TO THE PURCHASE OF CERTAIN EQUIPMENT BY THE CITY OF WALHALLA, AUTHORIZING THE EXECUTION OF OTHER NECESSARY DOCUMENTS AND PAPERS AND MATTERS RELATING THERETO. Mr. Woodward seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Discussion: The Administrator stated this is for a backhoe in the water department. The purchase is not to exceed $120,000 with an interest rate of 3.35% for five years. If we approve tonight, we can move it forward. The Mayor said, “This was approved in the budget.”
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. Underwood seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Discussion: There was no discussion.
Mr. Roberts made a motion to approve RESOLUTION 2020-4 A RESOLUTION TO CHANGE THE TRAFFIC FLOW ON SOUTH CATHERINE STREET AND OTHER MATTERS RELATED THERETO– Mr. Woodward seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Discussion: Norm Canada, reporter from the Seneca Journal, asked, “If there was a recommendation from the General Government Committee?” The Administrator replied, “It was recommended by the General Government Committee.” Mr. Woodward stated, “He measured the width of the road. He thinks it is possible to get angle parking if we don’t have to have the buffer like on Main St. If we had to have the buffer, we would need to take out sidewalks and relocate utility poles which would cost too much. If we couldn’t have angle parking, we should have enough for eight parallel parking spaces.
The Administrator stated, “We would get SCDOT to design the parking and the road. It will be easier to get the encroachment permit with their design.
Mr. Underwood asked, “Which way will traffic flow?” The Administrator said, “From Main St. to South Broad St.” Mr. Underwood said, “We really need to keep on street parking.”
The Mayor stated he had a couple of calls against it. The Administrator stated he received 3 emails against it.
Mr. Pace said, “It is dangerous. Also, with the additional business and foot traffic down there, he sees this as a gain for Walhalla.”
Mr. Owens said, “He drives a big pick-up truck and he has to straddle the center line when driving down that street. It will be a good move to make it one way, increase parking and also add a cross walk.”
Ms. Melendez asked, “What will happen with traffic light on Main St.?” She also added her support for cross walks. The Administrator replied, “SCDOT will consider that in the overall traffic plan.”
The Mayor said, “Safety is an issue. There are more cars in the area now and it is dangerous.”
Mr. Roberts made a motion to approve RESOLUTION 2020-5 A RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE CITY’S PARTICIPATION IN THE WALHALLA TRAILS CORPORATION AND APPROVAL OF PHASE III OF THE STUMPHOUSE MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK – Mr. Owens seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Discussion: Mr. Roberts said this is a great idea. He rides up there and the parking lot is always filled.
Fire/Codes: Mr. Pace reported the Department had
109 calls for service. 50 inside the City and 59 outside the City.
21 instances of mutual aid. Average time on scene was 1hour 52 minutes.
Staff trained 265 hours.
Fire Marshall completed 20 business inspections, 5 residential inspections and 9 rental inspections.
Working on a Sign plan for Stumphouse Park with Libby and JoAnne. Also, getting Wi-Fi established.
Scheduling training on incident recovery fees.
He is working on FEMA grants.
Hired 3 part-time fire fighters.
Several staff members recertified for their EMT credentials.
Working with County and State Park systems to inform people of the issues of hiking at Stumphouse, Yellow Branch etc.
Mr. Roberts reported:
- Discussed video and audio system to live stream and record meetings.
- Discussed and voted to recommend making S. Catherine St. a one-way street with on street parking.
- Discussed and directed administrator research more information regarding on street/off premises consumption of alcoholic beverages.
The Administrator said, “He asked a couple of companies to look at providing the service.” He should have something by next committee meeting. Mr. Owens asked, “What is the range?” The Administrator replied, “The cost will range between $2-8,000.” Mr. Owens asked, “Can we move forward?” The Administrator said, “You can, but you might want to know what you will get for the cost.” Mr. Owens said, “He would like to move forward.” The Mayor said, “I think we need more information and should be able to have it by committee meeting.”
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:
We have 241 participants registered for youth sports. This is about 200 less than last year.
We have instituted a new background check procedure.
Our staff is working with various state and local agencies to determine the best course of action for fall sports.
Ms. Melendez said “School will start on August 24. The Mayor said, “The recreation programs may have to be adjusted due to the corona-virus.
Mr. Woodward reported the committee received the following information:
Issued 263 tickets
1113 Calls for Service
385 extra patrols
The performed 76 hours of training.
They have been updating their policies and procedures.
Received a radar/sign from SLED to use around town.
Finished updating body cameras as part of a grant program.
Worked several days of protest some days averaging between 80-100 protesters.
Became members of the ICAC network which helps with investigating crimes against children.
Mr. Underwood reported the committee:
We got an update on the July 4 existing water plant issues.
We received an update on new equipment purchases at the beginning of the fiscal year.
We were updated on the status of the new water plant.
Discussed cleaning options for City Hall.
Mr. Underwood asked about an update on the cleaning options for City Hall. The Administrator said, “He will get back with them.”
Mr. Underwood also stated he appreciates the work Lisa Hendricks performs.
Brent Taylor, City Administrator