The Loris City Council met on Monday, Feb. 4, at 6 p.m. at the American Legion Hall.
Todd Harrelson, council member and mayor-pro tem, called the meeting to order asking Joan Gause to provide the invocation and the pledge of allegiance was recited by all. The Council members present were Joan Gause, Lewis Hardee, Terrence Hardee, Mike Suggs and Jan Vescovi. Department heads present were Damon Kempski, Brandon Harrelson, Chief Gary Buley, Thomas Cocke, Ricky Bellamy, contractor, and Kenya Wright. Mayor Henry Nichols was absent from the meeting due to health issues recovering from a recent surgery and pneumonia. He remains in the hospital at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center in Myrtle Beach.
The first item on the agenda was to approve the January 14 meeting minutes. Council unanimously approved.
T. Harrelson made note of the appreciation the city council has for allowing the use of their meeting room for the past few months. The meetings will be held at the American Legion Hall at 2608 Main Street until further notice. He thanked the Legion for providing a place for them to meet. He announced that the next prayer breakfast will be held at Emmanuel Seventh Day Church located at 1109 SDA Church Lane on Tuesday, Feb. 12, from 7 to 8 a.m. T. Harrelson stated that the Planning Commission meeting had to be cancelled and will be rescheduled at a later date.
Samantha Norris with the Loris Chamber was not available to attend the meeting. Jennifer Causey thanked those who attended the annual banquet. She said, “It was another successful year for the chamber.”
T. Harrelson announced that it is Terrence Hardee’s birthday where Wendy Baruch began singing happy birthday with others joining in. T. Hardee humbly thanked everyone for the wonderful birthday wish.
Kempski addressed Council first stating, “The audit has been submitted and is being reviewed. We spoke with the auditors last week where they provide their opinion no later than the March meeting.” The audit for the years 2014-15 will be completed and presented to Council at the March 4 meeting. He stated that he has been meeting with FEMA and the South Carolina Emergency Management Department (SCEMD) to review the information of what is going on with the building of city hall; FEMA is reviewing the project. The next step is to meet with SCEMD to determine the course of action. He said, “Basically there are three options, going back in the same building as is, going back in the same building with a different footprint or going into a different building.” Afterwards a decision will be determined and addressed to Council to make a decision.
Vescovi asked for an update on the town clock. Kempski stated he is waiting for a quote.
B. Harrelson said that the hydraulic study has been completed and he will present it to council in the next couple of weeks for their review to sit down to discuss the study. He stated he will email each council member a copy before they meet. He stated he will contact the Planning Commission to reschedule the meeting and will notify Council of date and time. He said he spoke with SCDOT earlier in the day regarding Circle Drive and Bryant Street, all the tile was replaced. He said he is meeting with SCDOT this week regarding repairs on Forest Drive and actual conditions of the road. Also they will discuss Circle Drive potholes and where the pavement has been cut into and will determine a solution.
Cocke said that the recreation department is accepting baseball and softball registration beginning on Feb. 4 until Feb. 15. The registration fee is $40 for both girls ages 5 to 15 and boys ages 5 to 14. Registration is Monday through Thursday until 6 p.m. and Friday at 5 p.m. He addressed the vetting of the coaches, which has always been enforced, but this year they will have background checks and vetting on the assistant coaches as well to meet the standards of All Stars. A coaches meeting will be held on Friday, Feb. 15, at 5:30 p.m. then will meet again for the selection process. The first practice will be on Monday, Feb. 25, picture day is Tuesday, March 19, and the kick off for the season will be held on Thursday, March 21. He announced that the recreation department has an intern, Lee Norton, from Coastal Carolina who is studying recreations sport management; he is working with them and they are exited to have him helping out. He said, “Basketball is doing well with this being new for us with this league we developed traveling and playing in a more sustainable league format I think has been great.” He said he has received feedback from the North Strand and Green Sea as well as our community and hopes that next year it will be something they can expand on to be able to grow a little bit. To register for a sport at the recreation department a birth certificate or proof of age is required.
Vescovi asked if there are any plans for summer programs at the recreation center. Cocke said that people have suggested volley ball and other sports. However, he would like to review the year that he has been with the city before setting up a program.
Public comments were short and given three minutes to speak. Ken Josephs Sr. spoke of the remodeling of a home in his neighborhood that has not cleaned up the materials removed from the home and would like it investigated. T. Harrelson asked for his phone number so he could contact him this week regarding the trash.
There was no executive session and the meeting was adjourned at 6:28 p.m.
The next council meeting will be held at the American Legion Hall at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 4.