Council Gets Serious About Code Enforcement

WINNSBORO – A year after considering, then tabling, an ordinance to provide for code enforcement in the Town of Winnsboro, Council revisited the issue at Tuesday night’s meeting with the prospect of voting on the ordinance at the next council meeting.

“I think we have code enforcement officers in our budget this year,” said Councilman Jackie Wilkes, “and I think it’s time we implemented that position. We have this packet Billy Castles (Director of Building and Zoning) put together for us last year. It will be intense work concerning the ordinance, but it’s time we got started enforcing some of these codes.”

Councilman Clyde Sanders made the argument to ask Fairfield County code enforcement officers to enforce codes in the Town.

“It would be cheaper for us in the Town to pay the County than to bring employees in, provide vehicles and pay insurance and benefits for them than to go under the County. We’re part of Fairfield County. Before we jump into hiring somebody we need to talk to the County and try to get them to enforce in the town,” Sanders said. “They’ve got three or four officers.”

“If you remember,” Wilkes said, “that was something we said last year, but no one ever talked to the County.”

Mayor Roger Gaddy said Winnsboro’s Town Manager, Don Wood, would be the appropriate person to talk with Interim County Administrator Milton Pope.

“If the County says ‘no,’ then it behooves us to have our own code enforcement officers,” Gaddy said.

Wood reminded Council that, “Before we do any of that, you have to pass some ordinances to enforce. We spent months on this thing last year. The ordinance is ready to be voted on,” Wood said. “But you all will have to take some action to accept, reject or modify it before a code enforcement officer would have anything to do with it.”

Gaddy urged Council to pass the codes, then go to the County and ask if they would be interested in enforcing the codes (for Winnsboro.)

“They may not want to,” Gaddy said. “Then we need to make a decision about hiring our own.”

The Mayor said he would put the item on the agenda for the April 1 meeting.

In other business, Wood presented a draft ordinance to deal with animal complaints. The ordinance identifies any animal that is unrestrained, a persistent noise maker, odor causer, etc., as a public nuisance and subject to impoundment and issuance of a misdemeanor citation to the owner.

The target of the ordinance is apparently a brood of chickens domiciled in the yard of a mobile home on Evans Street. A woman who said she lives in the neighborhood but did not identify herself told Council that, “we’ve had to tolerate chickens in our neighborhood for a long time. So please consider the new ordinance carefully and as soon as possible. We’re awakened by one to five roosters at 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Chickens and ducks make noise all day and night and run loose in the yards. Town is not country.”

Gaddy said the ordinance would be presented for first reading at the next council meeting.

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