Council Swaps Liability Carriers

BLYTHEWOOD – Town Council voted Monday night to drop its liability insurance policy with the S.C. Insurance Reserve Fund. The policy, which provides general tort liability coverage for attorney fees, carries a statutory limit of $300,000 per person and $600,000 in aggregate. The Town is currently being defended under the tort policy against a $10 million lawsuit filed by South Capital Group, LLC.

Council passed a resolution to apply for participation in the S.C. Municipal Insurance and Risk Financing Fund, effective May 1.

Town administrator John Perry told Council that while the new fund does not cover tort claims, it covers other insurance needs of the Town, such as event coverage, which is a big expense to the Town.

“Every time we have an event,” Perry said, “even if it’s just an afternoon event, we have to pay out $500 for special event insurance.”

Perry said the insurance bill for three weekend farmers’ markets came to $900. He said the new policy would also cover liability for Doko Manor and other venues in the Town.

Mayor J. Michael Ross said he felt the Town would save thousands of dollars under the new policy.

In other business, Council voted to appoint Bill Wiseman as the Town’s representative to the Richland County Transportation Penny Tax oversight committee. Wiseman was recommended to Council last week by a Council-appointed sub-committee.

Wiseman is expected to be seated on the oversight committee by Richland County Council during the first weeks of February.

Councilman Paul Moscati narrated a visual presentation giving his fellow Council members an update on the progress of the Doko Manor and Park construction. He said the Doko Manor should be finished by about the first week in February.

In his administrative report, Perry told Council the I-77 landscaping and signage will be finished by spring. The water wells are ready and irrigation is being completed. He said the design will include 390 crepe myrtles and more than 200 live oaks.

Moscati told Council that it was Perry’s five-year anniversary as Town Administrator, and Moscati said he felt indebted to Perry for all he’s done for the Town.

“All these things wouldn’t have been done without him,” Moscati said. Mayor Ross also praised Perry for making changes in the Town, and Council applauded Perry.

Perry added that traffic has increased so much in the town that a traffic study has been done that calls for reducing the speed limit on Blythewood Road, between I-77 and Highway 21, to 30 miles per hour. He did not say when the new speed limit will go into effect.

Bob Mangone, chairman of the athletic fields committee, reported that the County Recreation Commission had recently completed the infield for a softball field behind the Blythewood Community Center. He said volunteers would be called on to help construct a backstop for the temporary field. Mangone said he now hopes to get an estimate of the cost for the Recreation Commission to build four new fields on property behind Bethel-Hanberry Elementary School. The Town is currently negotiating the purchase of that property from the School District.

“The Recreation Commission has allocated $500,000 [from a bond passed three years ago] for the four-field complex,” Mangone said. “We need to find out if that’s going to pay for everything we need for the fields.”

In his remarks, Mayor Ross read a letter from Westwood and Blythewood high schools praising him and Martha Jones for assisting at a recent exchange student event. He also said the Council would be taking a field trip soon to Baxter [near Charlotte] and Davidson, N.C., “to see planned communities the way we’re going to look one day.”

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