The Loris City Council met on Monday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at the McLeod Loris Seacoast Center for Health and Fitness Center. The delay of January’s council meeting was due to conflicting schedules at the fitness center.
Todd Harrelson, council member and mayor-pro tem, called the meeting to order asking T. Hardee 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 and Kenya Wright.
Mayor Henry Nichols was absent from the meeting due to health issues recovering from a recent surgery. He sent a message to the council members and the department heads that Harrelson read out loud, “I am recovering well and doing much better; I send good wishes and grateful for all the support, emails, cards and calls during my recovery.”
The first item on the agenda was to read the minutes of the November and December 2018 meetings. Gause requested a motion to amend the November minutes for a minor error, the council voted unanimously. The council voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Ronald Fowler, Election Commission Chairman. With his resignation there is an application on the city’s website available for anyone who wants to apply for the position.
A reminder to council members was made to file the 2019 statement of Economic Interests report that is due March 30.
Samantha Norris with the Loris Chamber of Commerce addressed the council first thanking them for the recognition of her dad’s passing last month. She stated that her father had served on council and stated that he served during the time that Edward C. Suggs was on council.
Mike Suggs stated that he not only served with his father, but he had served the first few years Suggs was on the council. Norris stated that the Loris Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet will be held on Saturday, Jan. 24, at the McLeod Loris Seacoast Center for Health and Fitness in the Community Room. She invited the council members and department heads to attend. She said tickets are available for $25 at the chamber office. The meet and greet begins at 6 p.m. with dinner served at 7 p.m. and the awards will be announced beginning at 8 p.m. Banana Jack Murphy is the emcee for this year’s awards banquet.
Norris also shared that her chicken bog recipe has been published in the Hens Across America 50 States of Chicken by Jody Rake. This book shares the October Chicken Bog festival and information about Loris. She was surprised to receive the book in the mail on Monday, Jan. 14, and wanted the council to be aware that the favored recipe notoriously known in the city has free advertising for the festival and the recipe.
The chamber board of directors and Norris are working on this year’s spring festival. There will be changes made this year, not only the date will change to accommodate other activities in the surrounding areas, there are some great plans to make this festival bigger and better and draw larger crowds. Information will be provided closer to the time of the event.
Kempski, the city administrator, spoke with council about the damage to Watson Park. Some of the damage was weather related and the bathroom being vandalized. Repairs will be made soon. He stated that SCDOT (South Carolina Department of Transportation) is working on the road conditions with the potholes throughout the city. Anyone who sees a pothole can report it to SCDOT at 1-855-467-2368.
The clock at the center of town has been fixed temporarily; however, the internal operating system needs to be replaced. He asked council to make a suggestion to repair the clock. It is a costly process as the company, Verdin Clock Company located in Cincinnati Ohio with 175 years of experience, and a cost is incurred for a representative of the company to travel to Loris and assess the inner clock works, then a charge is made to repair plus parts. Vescovi suggested that Kempski check into obtaining quotes for the repair/replacement of parts. T. Harrelson asked to check out quotes. Kempski said, “We’ll continue to shop it.”
B. Harrelson addressed the study of the public works hydrology study is continuing. He stated that the Pleasant Meadow Watershed is in need of an upgrade. He will have a full report which will have options and models to present to council next month, but with the amount of rainfall here it is not a guaranteed fix. He stated there are issues that SCDOT needs to correct to move forward on the project.
A second reading of the ordinance 08-18, an ordinance to change the time for the monthly regular council meeting, was voted on and approved. Council meetings will begin at 6 p.m. Feb. 4th.
A reading to proceed with the consideration acceptance of the annexation petition from Wilbert C. Lewis, Lot located on Suggs Street near Highway 701 South, identified as TMS #048-10-05-030 was approved. Another ordinance request for consideration and acceptance of the annexation petition from Thomas C. Johnson, Trustee of the Olive D. Johnson trust regarding the lot located on Fox Bay Road adjoining Speedway property, identified as TMS #048-07-02-090 was not accepted due to the missing signature on the documentation received.
Two citizens addressed the council with drainage and flooding issues on Forest Drive. A request for a committee to help the residents on Forest Drive to work together to fix the drainage. Both residents offered their property to be accessed by the backhoes or whatever equipment is required to help clear out the drainage ditch behind their homes. They also offered to work on the committee if they would help them to improve the area to prevent extensive flooding of their homes.
At 7:40 p.m. the council voted to go into an executive session to discuss a contractual matter. Council returned at 8:30 p.m. and called for an adjournment.
The next council meeting will be held at the McLeod Loris Seacoast Center for Health and Fitness in the Community Room on Monday, Feb. 4, at 6 p.m.