The Loris City Council meeting was held on Monday, March 11, at 6 p.m. at McLeod Loris Center for Health and Fitness with Todd Harrelson, mayor pro-tem, presiding over the meeting. This is the first council meeting held without Mayor Henry L. Nichols in which Harrelson requested a moment of silence in his memory. Terrence Hardee gave the invocation and all stood for the pledge of allegiance.
Present at the meeting were council members Joan Gause, Lewis Hardee, Terrence Hardee, Mike Suggs and Jan Vescovi and Todd Harrelson. Department heads Damon Kempski, city administrator; Brandon Harrelson, public works and planning and zoning director; Tom Cocke, recreation director; Gary Buley, Loris police chief; Kenya Wright, city clerk and treasurer; Samantha Norris, Loris Chamber of Commerce; Kenneth Moss, city attorney; and Ricky Bellamy contractor.
Harrelson opened the meeting reporting the dates of the special election to be held on Tuesday, May 28.
The 2019 Statement of Economic Interest Report is due March 30. A special meeting will be held on Monday, March 25, for the presentation of the city audit; the city administrator will determine a time and place for this meeting. Meetings with council and other official meetings have been relocated due to the damage of the city hall building.
Samantha Norris with the Loris Chamber of Commerce stated there are plans in the works for the Easter Egg Hunt to be held at the Loris Nature Park on Sunday, April 14. They have requested items such as gift certificates, toys, stuffed bunnies and monetary donations to help with this event. She also stated that there will be a Heritage Festival in downtown Loris on Saturday, June 1. Due to the activities and festivals in the Spring they have rethought the festivities in hope to draw more crowds. Announcements will be made closer to the time of these events.
Brandon Harrelson announced the recognition to city employee, Ray Cox, who drives the leaf and limb truck through the city cleaning up yard debris. “Roy’s been with the city for a while,” he said, “Roy was named Horry County Solid Waste Authority driver of the month for January 2019.” He received a letter and read it aloud stating Cox’s courtesy; efficiency and professionalism are outstanding qualities that are recognized.”
Kempski requested a contractual decision to be made in executive session before the meeting ends. He stated that in researching the repair of the city clock on Main Street, there is an existing contract with The Verdin Company and recommends continuing the contract. The replacement cost would be over $7,000 to replace the inner workings of the clock which was damaged during the hurricanes last Fall. The council discussed the reasons for repairing and replacing the electronic carillons. Lewis Hardee suggested that if they could use the hospitality tax to replace the inner workings that would be his recommendation. Suggs, Vescovi and Terrence Hardee all agreed with replacement parts. It is a part of the city and with visitors coming in for events, the clock should show the correct time. Council voted unanimously to contact The Verdin Company and have the clock’s inner workings repaired with the position that the city’s hospitality tax is used for this purpose. Kempski stated they did not budget the possibility for such replacement, and that there is enough money in the hospitality tax to cover the cost.
Brandon Harrelson said that the planning and zoning commission meeting has been rescheduled to Thursday, March 18, at 5:30 at the Loris Chamber of Commerce conference room. He reported the recommendations to put plastic under the paved area to last another 40 to 50 years after paving the road. They will begin work on Walnut Street this week. Highway 9 Business beginning at Anne Street to the two-lane at the point will be fixed the same as Walnut Street; no date has been scheduled for this repair but should occur between Spring and Summer. Roads listed for repair are Fox Bay, Heritage Road, Highway 9 Business and Walnut Street. He reported to council that the Hydrology Study is complete with approximately 135 pages. The options presented for a plan for a specific resolution proposed and recommended would be to review the option number 4 in the plan in which it states there is a combined reduction in flooding of 49 percent throughout the city. This report is in his office at the Loris Chamber of Commerce building and can be reviewed by the public.
Cocke reported that opening day for baseball and softball at the Loris Recreation Center begins on Thursday, March 21, at 5 p.m. A schedule of teams and playing times will be posted online before opening day. Splash, the Pelicans mascot, will be present along with vendors. He encourages everyone to come out to support the recreation teams. If the games are called off due to rain they will hold the opening event on Friday, March 22, at 5 p.m. He stated they are working on the field drainage on fields three and four; this prevents delays and cancellations of games after a downpour of rain. They have had to move the sign at the park entrance where they placed rock and will plant flowers and beautify the park entrance. He thanked Brandon Harrelson and the city workers for their help with their labor and equipment to make repairs and replacements successful. The renovation of the existing bathhouse between the T-ball field and the big field has begun using the funds received from the PARD grant they received. This will bring the bathroom up-to-date and comply with handicap accessibility. The recreation department is planning a Pelicans’ night on Friday, April 12, at 7 p.m. at the Pelicans Ballpark at a cost of $9 per ticket. “We are hoping for a big turn out,” says Cocke. “The more people we have the more the Pelicans will do to recognize the group.”
Approval of Resolution Number 01-19, Wright read the resolution, “Resolution to Designate authorized signatures for city bank accounts, whereas the city council appoints mayor pro-tem Todd Harrelson to be an authorized signature on all city checks beginning on February 27, 2019.” The council voted unanimously.
The council unanimously appointed Joan Gause as mayor pro tem when or if Todd Harrelson is unable to attend meetings or make decisions.
New members of the Planning Commission were presented, appointed and approved unanimously by council. The members are Brett Powell, Joseph Flesch and Linda Morrison.
An agenda item for codification of ordinance books was discussed and will be reviewed.
Public comments came from Alan Levinson who lives on Forest Drive, about the flooding issue. He would like neighbors to meet to discuss what they can do to help one another. Johnny Lee, as an Horry County School District bus driver, addressed council about following the rules of the road when a school bus is preparing to stop, when the flashing lights are on, traffic in both directions must stop. He stated his bus has been preparing to stop when cars pass illegally. Chief Buley stated he will assist Lee with this issue.
The council and department heads went into executive session at 7 p.m. The meeting was open again to the public at which time they stated that no decision was made. The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.