Winnsboro Town Council Gives Official Nod to Water Authority

Winnsboro Town Council unanimously threw their hat in the ring of the water authority, passing a resolution during their Aug. 21 meeting to become one of the charter members of the water distribution entity. With Blythewood customers are now receiving water from Columbia, taking the strain off the Mill Creek Reservoir, Rion Quarry and Sand Creek, the regional water authority will be able to begin securing new raw water sources for Fairfield County.

But, Mayor Roger Gaddy noted, an extreme drought is still in effect.

“Hopefully we get more rainfall so the reservoir has a chance to replenish itself, and then we can loosen water restrictions,” Gaddy said.

Until then, water use is still restricted.

Opening last week’s meeting was Brenda Miller, a citizen who presented a letter to Council in hopes to improve the community’s appearance.  Her letter focused on broken down buildings that are health concerns and that affect property value.  Miller said her goal was to protect the appearance of Winnsboro in order to make it an attractive place to live for families and provide economic stability.

Near the end of the meeting, Councilman Bill Haslett, echoing Miller’s comments, rehashed these same concerns. Haslett had compiled a collection of what he said were rundown properties inside the town limits that need to be cleaned up. Haslett attempted to present these pictures to council, but was halted by Councilman Clyde Sanders.

“I think if you send pictures around, then according to the Freedom of Information Act, I believe that would enable the paper to get these pictures,” Sanders said. “I do not think, myself, without legal counsel we can do this and show pictures of people’s property. It would be a liability someone’s house without approval.”

Haslett said later the decision on whether or not to release the photos would be made at Council’s Aug. 27 work session.

Council also discussed a capital expense request by Southeastern Consulting Engineers to start re-connecting power lines on the 321 Bypass.  There is a 1-mile stretch from Cedar Terrace going north to Highway 34 that is in need of repair.

“The power lines on the Bypass were not built to accept the wattage of power they now carry,” Gaddy said.

The council approved a $30,000 study to prioritize the project, which will cost an estimated $300,000.

During their work session Monday night, Council tapped Gaddy to serve alongside Town Manager Don Wood on the regional water authority.

Council also interviewed Vanessa Hollins, Debra Matthews, Trey Spong, William Stidham and Jonathan Goode in executive session for the position of Municipal Court judge, a final decision on which will be made at their Sept. 4 meeting.

Following the interviews, Council discussed the International Property Maintenance Code. If the Code is adopted, the Town would need to hire at least two officers for code enforcement.

“It seems to me there has got to be some sort of compromise,” Gaddy said. “I think the codes need to be looked at and maybe not passed in total.”

Gaddy said violations of the code would have to come with consequences.

“There would be fines with some teeth in it,” Gaddy said.

Gaddy recommended the formation of a committee to review the International Property Maintenance Code and decide what, exactly, the Town of Winnsboro would like to adopt. Council agreed to revisit the issue at another work session in two to three weeks.