Council OK’s Armory Rate Hike

WINNSBORO – Renting the Town of Winnsboro’s Old Armory is going to get more expensive in 2013, according to a vote by Town Council Jan. 8. Council voted 3-0 to raise the rates on Armory rental by $100 for the new year, upping the rental fee to $550. Councilmen Danny Miller and Jackie Wilkes were not in attendance and did not vote on the rate change.

Council also voted on a change to their gratis use agreements for the Armory. Previously, groups granted gratis use of the Armory had also had the clean-up fee of $200 waived. Jan. 8, Council voted to no longer waive the clean-up fee.

Earlier in the meeting, Council announced that they would be accepting applications for their annual awards (employee, citizen, volunteer and business of the year) through Feb. 14. The awards will be announced in March. Council noted that last year’s winners in individual categories would not be eligible for the same awards this year and that individuals would be eligible for recognition in only one category. Nominations may be made through the Town’s new Web site, www.townofwinnsboro.com.

Absent from the Jan. 8 meeting was any input from the Friends of Mt. Zion Institute (FOMZI) on the fate of the Mt. Zion school building. Last month, Council voted to sever ties with Red Clay Development, the North Carolina firm that, nearly three years ago, purchased the Mount Zion Institute from the Town for $100,000.

“We feel like the FOMZI people are very dedicated to the project,” Winnsboro Mayor Roger Gaddy said following the split with Red Clay last month. “Whether or not they’ll be able to make the financial commitment that will be necessary will be their decision, but we’re willing to explore different avenues with them and to work closely with them in any way we can to hopefully save the project.”

FOMZI’s Vicki Dodds said this week that FOMZI had met with Mayor Gaddy and members of Council in early January.

“We were encouraged by their receptiveness to our thoughts and our plans and think we at least have a commitment of time and verbal support,” Dodds said. “I can’t speak to their procedures as far as taking the buildings back from Red Clay but, for now, FOMZI will continue our action plan and has begun work on the grounds as of this weekend.”

A revised contract between Winnsboro and the City of Columbia, designed to bring an additional 600,000 to 1 million gallons of water into the Winnsboro water system, has also not been addressed. Steve Gantt, Columbia’s City Manager, said at the end of December that Columbia’s City Council would vote on the new contract in January. Council did not take the matter up at their Jan. 8 meeting.

Fairfield County, meanwhile, has agreed to spend the $400,000 to purchase pumping equipment, which will be necessary to feed water from Columbia and into the tower on Highway 34 near Ben Arnold.