Council Split on Portable Rest Rooms

RIDGEWAY (Dec. 15, 2016) – An ordinance that would have committed the Town of Ridgeway to renting portable toilets for town events failed to make it through first reading during Town Council’s Dec. 8 meeting.

“Our merchants want some kind of assurance,” Councilwoman Angela Harrison said, arguing for the ordinance, “and we need to stand behind them and do what we say we’re going to do.”

But Councilmen Heath Cookendorfer and Donald Prioleau were reluctant to tie the Town’s hands with a legal document.

“We don’t want to put it in an ordinance, because if we don’t have the funds then we will have to find them,” Prioleau said.

The ordinance called for the rental of portable facilities to be paid for either from event funds, budgeted funds or the hospitality tax.

“I think any event that’s a money maker, that should pay for it,” Mayor Charlene Herring said.

But while Prioleau expressed concern about committing funds from the Town’s meager general fund budget, Cookendorfer said he was concerned about keeping the hospitality tax fund solvent.

“You can’t ever overspend the hospitality tax,” Harrison said.

Prioleau suggested that a notation in Council’s minutes that the Town would provide portable facilities for events would be adequate, while Herring suggested modifying the ordinance to say that the money for the rentals would not come from the general fund budget.

Harrison, in her motion to accept first reading, accepted Herring’s suggestion, but the motion ended in a 2-2 tie and thus failed to carry.

Herring recused herself from the vote because of a conflict of interest, she said.

Harrison and Doug Porter, who seconded the motion, voted in favor of the ordinance, while Prioleau and Cookendorfer voted against.

“If there’s an event, I think we need to supply portable rest rooms,” Cookendorfer said, “but I don’t think we need an ordinance telling us to.”

The estimated cost of a portable rest room rental is $350, Council said.

Playground Bids

Council gave unanimous approval to a bid of $42,669.75 from Playground Packages for phase one of Ridgeway’s plans to construct a playground near the old school arch.

Playground Packages was the lowest of three bids, submitted by Game Time ($63,651.95) and List Products ($94,234.24).

The total cost for phase one of the project is $44,672.99. The Town recently received approval from the state for a Parks and Recreation Development (PARD) grant for $35,738.39 for the first phase. That amount will be reimbursed to the Town.

Ridgeway’s matching funds, totaling $8,934.60, is being provided by Fairfield County, Herring said, in the form of in-kind labor.

Phase two of the project is not expected to begin for two years. The total cost for the second phase is $35,576.40, with the PARD grant reimbursing $28,461 to the Town. The County has also agreed to cover the $7,115.40 match for the final phase, Herring said.