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Council approves agreement between Loris, Myrtle Beach

The Loris City Council met on Monday, June 3, at the American Legion Hall at 6 p.m. Present at the meeting were Joan Gause, Lewis Hardee, Terrence Hardee, Todd Harrelson, Mike Suggs and Jan Vescovi.  Department heads present were Damon Kempski, city administrator, Brandon Harrelson, code enforcement and public works director, Loris Police Chief Gary Buley, Kenneth Moss, city attorney, and Kenya Wright, city clerk and treasurer.

The meeting was opened by Todd Harrelson, acting mayor, asking for the invocation and the pledge of allegiance.  He then asked to approve the minutes of the Monday, May 6, meeting. The vote was unanimous to accept the minutes.

The first item on the agenda T. Harrelson reported the Prayer Breakfast will be held on Tuesday, June 11, at 7 a.m. at Loris First United Methodist Church.  He then stated that a special election run-off will be held on Tuesday, May 11, for the office of mayor.  The two incumbents running in the race are Todd Harrelson and Mike Suggs.  He encourages voters to go to the polls on Tuesday and elect the mayor who will run the city.

The city newsletter was mailed to residents on Monday, June 3, filled with valuable information about the run-off election next week, the Loris Chamber of Commerce agenda for the upcoming months and business license renewals.

Each department head provided a detailed report to council.  The Loris Chamber of Commerce, Samantha Norris, addressed the council The Heritage Festival had 32 vendors,18 youth entrepreneurs and a kids area.  They were discouraged with the turn-out and hoping that next year’s festival will produce a larger crowd. She thanked the city for their help prior to the festival and after the festival ended at 3 p.m. The Miss Loris Pageant for girls ages 0 to 24 will be held at the Loris High School auditorium on Saturday, June 15, to compete for the titles with a meet and greet, fun fashion, evening gown and talent segments beginning at 4 p.m. The Miss South Carolina Pageant will be held this month with Ragan Dennis representing Loris as the Miss Loris Bog-Off Festival Queen at the Miss South Carolina Pageant and Sarah Carroll will be competing in the Miss South Carolina Teen Pageant; both pageants are held in Columbia.

Kempski reported that Verdin Company will be in Loris on Tuesday, June11, to repair the town clock that was donated by the late councilwoman Estelle Wright.  The $7,000 to repair the clock will be taken from the hospitality tax. They did not anticipate the storms last fall would damage the inner workings of the clock and did not budget for repairs; the hospitality tax was the only funds available to use for the repair.

Tom Cocke reported that baseball season has come to an end and girls softball is winding down for the season with their last few games.  One team, 14U, remained undefeated during the season and 12 of the boys from the team will be heading to All Stars.

Council unanimously approved the Mutual Aid Agreement between the city of Loris and the city of Myrtle Beach. This agreement allows Loris to use Myrtle Beach Police Department personnel to assist as necessary and for the Loris Police Department to assist Myrtle Beach when needed.  This agreement allows temporary transfer of law enforcement jurisdictions for the purpose of criminal investigations.

Chief Gary Buley reported the LPD responded to 15 accidents, 43 alarms, 8 assaults, 8 CDV/domestic calls, 1 CSC, 32 drug investigations, 11 larceny calls, 1 robbery, other calls totaled 534 requests for assistance, and a total of 273 traffic stops in the city of Loris.  The total calls received for the month of May were 926.

Loris Fire Department Chief Jerry Hardee reported 96 calls for the month of May. That is up five percent from the years 2017 and 2018 at this date.  The pay-per-call from January 1 to May 30 has been submitted.  As of May the hose testing is 80 percent finished.  Three vehicles are out of service units or out for repairs, Engine 422, Brush 425 and Utility 420.  Pagers and radios are either requiring replacement or out for repair. The SCFA testing for the summer and fall SCFA and infection courses are being scheduled. The EMS responding, the LFD will need to designate an MD or RN for AED state compliance.  AED SQ427 is at the end of its service life, replacement is expected this year.

Brandon Harrelson, Code Enforcement Director, issued 12 permits, performed 23 inspections, mailed zoning violation letters, reviewed six new house plans, responded to several zoning violations and attended the S.C. Building Official class. The remodel of the restroom at the recreation department is completed.   He met with SCDOT regarding drainage projects.  Main Street from Hardee’s to Loris Elementary School will be paved soon; planned the work for maintaining the major drainage canals; monthly mowing to prevent undergrowth to a minimum is underway; spraying Round Up as needed; rotation with the backhoe is used for the high spots and clean debris.  All the drainage ditches are scheduled to be repaired or replaced.  They are resolving pump station issues by correcting many infiltration issues with the sew system.  B. Harrelson stated this is a process and we are working diligently in the field to make the corrections as suggested in the Hydrology Study.

Two residents delivered their issues to council. One was regarding the flooding in their area.  Again, council stated that the Hydrology Study was completed and improvements are being made in areas of concern.  The second resident asked if there could be more signs outside the polls when a person votes in both precincts.  The east precinct is at Loris Elementary School. In previous years residents voted in the gymnasium; however, it is a bit confusing where to go into the school to vote.  The past couple of years the location to vote is through the front doors into a small conference room. The Voter Registration website shows the west precinct votes at the Public Safety Building; however, residents vote at the James P. Stevens County Complex on Walnut Street.  The city is ordering more signs to make the precincts more noticeable for the upcoming run-off election.

There was no reason to hold an executive session. The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m.

The next regular city council meeting will be held on Monday, July 1, at 6 p.m. at the American Legion Hall.

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