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City Council approves Declaration of a State of Emergency

Loris City Council held a special council meeting on Tuesday, March 17, for the second reading of two ordinances and to present the Declaration of a State of Emergency for the City of Loris.  The three motions were unanimously approved by council.

By Annie Rigby

The Loris City Council called a special meeting for Tuesday, March 17, at the American Legion Hall at 6 p.m.

All council members were present, mayor Todd Harrelson, Joan Gause, Lewis Hardee, Terrence Hardee, Carroll D. Padgett, Mike Suggs, Jan Vescovi and Amanda Causey. Department directors present were LPD Chief Gary Buley and Lt. Larry Williams, Robert Rudelitch, Tom Cocke and Brandon Harrelson. Interim city administrator, Dennis Drozdak, was absent from the meeting. City attorney, Kenneth Moss, arrived after the meeting ended; he said he travels from North Myrtle Beach and with the rain traffic prevented him from arriving on time.  He did, however, meet with the mayor a few minutes for an update.

Lewis Hardee presented the invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance before council got down to business. Causey read the second reading of the annexation from James K. Poston, the lot located north of Carolina Drive, along the western side of Longleaf Drive and further identified on the tax assessor’s record of Horry County as Map-Block and Parcel number 048-22-01-0500, and pin number 177-09-02-002, including any and all highway and/or road rights of way. The motion received unanimous approval.  She also read the second reading of ordinance 02-2020, an ordinance of the city of Loris to repeal and replace ordinance 04-02 Hospitality Tax; the motion was unanimously approved.

A motion was made to adopt an emergency declaration pertaining to the COVID-19 ordinance number 05-20.; an emergency ordinance declaring that a localized state of emergency exists within the city of Loris and authorizing the appropriate action to be taken in connection therewith.

The ordinance states the Loris City Council is empowered by Section 5-7-250 of the S.C. Code of Laws and Section 16-1 of the City of Loris Code of Ordinance to enact an emergency ordinance to meet public emergencies affecting life, health, safety or the property of the people. And, whereas the council finds it necessary to enact an emergency ordinance as a result of its determination that a localized health emergency exists throughout the City of Loris, and directs that certain measures are to be taken to address that emergency: Therefore, be it ordained, by the power and authority granted to the City Council, that the following is hereby enacted:

First Declaration of State of Emergency: In accordance with Section 5-7-250 of the S. C. Code and Section 16-1 of the City of Loris Code, City Council hereby declares that a localized civil emergency exists throughout the City of Loris, effective 6 p.m. March 17, 2020, more particularly described in the attached Declaration of a State of Emergency for the City of Loris, and hereby directs that appropriate action be taken as set forth in such Declaration. Termination/Expiration of this ordinance will remain in effect for sixty (60) days unless sooner terminated by city council.  Severability, if any section, subsection or part of this ordinance shall be deemed or found to conflict with a provision of the S.C. law, or other pre-emptive legal principle, then that section, sub-section or part of this ordinance shall be deemed ineffective but the remaining parts of this ordinance shall remain in full force and effect.  Effective date, this ordinance shall become effective immediately, done and ratified by city council duly assembled this day of March 17, 2020.

The Declaration of a State of Emergency for City of Loris, whereas, in January, 2020, the World Health Organization designated the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International concern, and whereas, on March 13, 2020, Henry McMaster, Governor of the State of South Carolina, declared a State of Emergency due to the coronavirus, CODVID-19, and whereas the Loris city council, as a result of an emergency meeting called to address this situation, finds that a state of emergency has been created by the CODVID-19 as a menace to the preservation health and welfare of its citizens; therefore, be it resolved that Loris City Council does hereby declare that a State of Emergency exists in the city of Loris and directs that the City of Loris city interim administrator take the measures to mobilize the necessary life safety mechanisms and responses, that all reasonable actions and precautions be taken as are necessary to ensure the fullest possible protection to public health, welfare and safety; and in addition this Declaration be transmitted to the Governor for the Sate of S.C.; and be it further resolved under the authority granted under state and local law, that Loris City Council does hereby authorize the city interim administrator to authorize all reasonable actions and precautions to be taken as necessary to ensure the fullest possible protection of health, welfare, and safety for the citizens of Loris, and to issue a subsequent notice of a lifting of the State of Emergency when conditions warrant.  Done and ratified by Loris City Council duly assembled this day of March 17, 2020.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:22 p.m.

When the meeting concluded the mayor stated that the next city council meeting will not be an open meeting due to the restrictions in meeting.  He said, “To protect everyone from possibly exposing the CODVID-19 virus to others.”  He continued, “We want to keep everyone safe and will hold the meeting through a live stream.”  It is understood that council members also will be attending the meeting through the live feed.  The next city council meeting will be held on Monday, April 6.  Check the city website at www.cityoflorissc.com for updates and information.

The city of Loris offices are closed to the public until further notice. A drop-box is attached to the brick column at the front doors of the Public Safety Building on Walnut Street. Amanda Causey stated that the city is asking residents to place their payment in the box between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. They check the box periodically throughout the day and empty the box at the end of the work day. They have asked to place checks or money orders in the box and please do not place cash in the box. If writing by check and a resident wishes to receive a receipt, they request that a note to be attached making the request; money orders will automatically have the receipt mailed to the resident. The city is waiving the $3 fee when using a credit/debit card until the State of Emergency ends, again a receipt will be mailed to the resident. Causey also stated that building permits are set up on the website to request and receive a building permit or call Deborah Cannon at 843-756-4004 to make the request or ask questions. Mayor Todd Harrelson said, “We are taking the precautions for our employees by closing the office to the public.” He stated he wishes everyone the best and to continue using the social distancing, washing hands and keep safe from this virus.

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