Political News

Town of Summerton council hears public defender proposal, adopts surplus resolution


The Town of Summerton Council convened on May 14th to discuss several important matters, including departmental reports, a proposal to enhance the town’s municipal court system, and adopting a surplus resolution.

Land Management and Development presented zoning enforcement, permits, and construction for the town. The department issued several zoning permits for residents during the month of April. Issues for the requests varied from roof repair, an in-home chair lift, and an inspection. A business on the 100th block of Main Street requested a permit for three wall signs and a permit for a restaurant on Cole Street was issued on April 11.

The Town of Summerton Planning Commission met February 6th to discuss a petition for a rezoning request for the property located at 22 S. Church Street: 078-11-01-015-00. The commission heard from the petitioner and property owners near the lot in question regarding the potential zoning change. The petitioner wants to change the property’s current zoning designation, NB-Neighborhood Commercial, to R-10 Single Family Residential to allow for the installation of a manufactured home. The commission tabled the request due to a lack of information. Currently, the administration needs additional commission members to hold legal meetings and meet quorum standards.

The town’s capital improvement projects include a town-wide broadband study, to be announced per council directives. As well as a Street Improvement Program and stormwater town-wide assessment per the results of Resilience Grant Application. Those two projects will also be announced soon.

Anthony Smith, Director of Public Works, updated council on the Goat Island Sewer System Improvement Project.

The project is construction of approximately 35,000-LF sanitary sewer force-main and three sanitary sewer pump stations. Contracts have been executed with an anticipated start date of the week of May 8. Additionally, the Three Division Project is also underway. Division “A” includes rehab of 15,000-LF of trunk sewer, Division “B” includes a new elevated tank and well, and Division “C” includes fire hydrant and water meter replacements.

System Operator Joseph Oliver of the Water and Sewer Operations presented to council regarding Oliver Environmental completing 17 months of permit compliance at the Summerton Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Goat Island Wastewater Treatment facility. Both consent orders have been removed.

Oliver continued, explaining that all the town’s water systems; Gin Pond Shores, North Shores, Goat Island and Sigfield Water systems are being flushed several times a month to ensure quality. Three of the Town’s water systems are boosted with chlorine to ensure safety standards. The secondary well at North Shore (Polly’s Campground) is functional and operating at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCHEC) regulations. Also, the secondary pump at the North Shore Sewer Lift Station has been repaired and meets SCHEC regulations. The third booster pump for the water system at North Shore has been repaired and is operating. The North Shore water system passed its latest flow test with adequate pressure on May 1. Lastly, the Summerton Wastewater Treatment annual permit has been submitted to SCHEC for renewal.

During the month of April, the Public Works Department completed the following operational duties: completed 11 utility locates for SC-811, maintained right-of-way (ROW) throughout the town, repaired water leaks, completed monthly customer cutoffs & reconnects, completed weekly checks on sewer lift stations, and continued government campus maintain. As far as utility billing, 91 accounts were delinquent as of April 30, and received a penalty of $25.00. As of May 8, 21 or 23% of the delinquent accounts were still unpaid and scheduled to be disconnected.

All discontinued accounts will remain disconnected until payment is secured.

Next, Town Administrator Kenneth Geathers presented his report for council, including the minutes and agenda the Town Clerk had compiled and transcribed from the April 9 council meeting. The minutes are prepared and awaiting council review and adoption. The minutes from the February 13 council meeting are also complete and ready for council approval and adoption. Geathers also stated that the Town Clerk has obtained public notary status to officially sign documents and keep records for the Town Council.

Shantell Moses, Town Clerk, ended the departmental reports portion of the agenda with the Finance Report. The cash balance report is as follows:

Restricted Fund Balances - $179,048.55

Misc Accounts/Grants - $34,004.31

General/Government Fund - $64,404.35

Water and Sewer Fund - $30,085.49

Totals: $307,542.70.

Edgar R. Donnald Jr., Third Circuit Chief Public Defender, presented a proposal to align the town’s municipal court operations with state standards, which would require providing defendants with legal defense. The proposal suggests an agreement with the magistrate’s office to provide a public defender for the town. Currently, defendants needing a public defender must go to Manning, but this agreement would extend public defense to Summerton’s municipal court. The council listened to the proposal but tabled it for further discussion at a later date.

The council set a date for a budget workshop, which was to be held later this month. However, a scheduling conflict arose after the meeting adjourned and the workshop date is to be determined. Once rescheduled, this workshop will be open to the public, although the council plans to enter into executive session beforehand to discuss personnel matters.

Representatives from the Bull Street movie crew gave an impromptu presentation to thank the community for its hospitality during filming. The movie is now complete and available to the public in select theatres across the state.

The council tabled discussions on new applicants for the Planning Commission, opting for further discussion at a future meeting.

A surplus resolution was adopted, allowing the town to dispose of inoperable equipment, including two police cars, two Public Works trucks, a backhoe, and a chipper. This resolution grants the town discretion to sell or auction these items, with proceeds going into the town’s general or utility fund.

The council reviewed proposed amendments to the town employee handbook, specifically modifications to the sick leave policy and probation periods for new employees. These amendments will be revisited in June. The proposed changes include eliminating the carryover of sick time from previous jobs and adjusting the six-month probation period, which some felt was too long.

The council entered an executive session to discuss unspecified personnel matters. No motions were made upon returning to the public session. There were no significant comments from the mayor, council members, or the public during this meeting.

For further details, residents are encouraged to attend the upcoming budget workshop and follow town announcements for updates on the tabled proposals. For additional information or inquiries about the council meeting, please contact the Town of Summerton’s administrative office.