Town Councilman: Pull Up Your Pants!

Ordinance Aimed at Sagging Britches

WINNSBORO – Town Council, on the suggestion of Councilman Clyde Sanders, instructed the Town’s attorneys Tuesday night to craft an ordinance that would impose a civil penalty for wearing pants that hang down below the wearer’s undergarments. The fashion statement has become so prevalent, Sanders said, that it has become an embarrassment for the entire community.

“It’s embarrassing to me to go to Wal-Mart or walk down Main Street and have somebody holding their pants up just to take a step, and that’s what they’re doing,” Sanders said. “A couple of years ago it wasn’t quite as bad. They went down to just showing the top of their drawers. Today, it’s below the bottom of their underwear. . . . If a female, 18 to 40 years old, walked into Wal-Mart with their pants below their butt, she would probably be arrested for indecent exposure.”

Councilman Danny Miller said he agreed, but questioned how such an ordinance would be enforced and by whom.

“Who’s going to enforce it? Law enforcement? They’re going to be dealing with that all day long,” Miller said.

Freddie Lorick, Chief of Public Safety, suggested that Council consider making the infraction a civil violation, and not criminal, so that officers could write tickets instead of carting violators off to jail.

“One town is charging a $114 fine,” Sanders said. “I think that’s probably a little excessive. But if you go to Wal-Mart or somewhere and our police force sees somebody, ask them to pull their pants up and if they don’t, write them a ticket for $10. If you get very many $10 tickets, you’re going to get the point at some point and start wearing your pants like you’re supposed to.”

Mayor Roger Gaddy agreed and asked the Town’s attorneys to come up with an ordinance.

Water

Sanders also requested a work session with Margaret Pope of the Pope Zeigler Law Firm in Columbia, the firm that counseled the Town during their failed attempt to form a water authority. Sanders said Pope may be able to help direct the Town in its efforts to find the funds to run a water line to Lake Monticello. Explorations into a potential bond to fund the estimated $8-12 million project have hit a bit of a snag, Town Manager Don Wood said.

“We have conflicting information,” Wood said. “We have an ordinance, somewhere among our ordinances, that says a utility that benefits from a particular loan, the debt service has to be paid from the revenues produced by that utility, which would imply that if we got this $8-$12 million loan, the water rates would have to support the debt service with that, which would put them very high.”

On the other hand, Wood said that Trish Comp, with the State Revolving Loan Fund, told the Town this week that if a town has a combined utility, the revenues from all utilities may be used to pay back the loan.

“So that would be gas, electric, water and sewer, rather than just water by itself,” Wood said. “That would be the only way we could afford to repay that.”

Last month, Blythewood resident Jim Landmeyer, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), told Council that it may be possible to solve Winnsboro’s water issues with wells. A groundwater survey would be necessary first, Landmeyer said, noting that such a survey had never been done in Fairfield County.

Tuesday night, Mayor Gaddy said Council had made no movements on Landmeyer’s suggestion.

“We haven’t really talked with the County about that,” Gaddy said. “The cost of that was about $200,000 and a three-year study, so we took that under advisement and we have not done anything with that.”