RW Council agenda shorts FOIA

Ridgeway Council members sailed through a lengthy agenda last Thursday, voting on amendments to five ordinances and a resolution that were designated on the agenda as action items. They also voted on one expenditure for which there was no indication a vote would be taken, agreed on one without a vote and tabled another expenditure without voting to do so.

Four items were listed under the heading ‘Police Report’, one of which was voted on even though there was no indication that any of the four were to be voted on. The first item, titled ‘reimbursement for mileage/meals for employees’ was discussed, then voted on, passing unanimously, 4-0. Councilman Heath Cookendorfer was out of town.

Specifically, Council discussed whether to reimburse Police Chief Christopher Culp for meal expenses he incurred during a recent trip to The S.C. Association of Police Officers in Myrtle Beach. Culp had asked to be reimbursed for his meals at the conference.  Mayor Charlene Herring said the Town had no policy for that but asked if they should reimburse Culp anyway.

“We definitely need a policy,” Councilman Don Prioleau said. “I spoke with the Chief this afternoon about it. I don’t care who you send to a conference you take care of the room and meals and mileage,” Councilman Don Prioleau said. “We’re less than a municipality if we can’t take care of not only the Chief but any employee. Definitely in the future we’ve got to come up with some kind of guidelines to follow.”

“Should we go ahead, then? Are we in accord that we’ll go ahead and reimburse him for what he’s incurred?” Herring asked.

Council voted 4-0 to reimburse him the full amount for his meals during the conference.

Fuel Cards

A discussion about whether to purchase fuel cards for the three Town vehicles was tabled without a vote to do so. Each card would be tied to a certain vehicle and could be used anywhere, but the monthly charge for each card would be $35.

Council again discussed whether to paint the Crown Victoria, but held off for the second time as they questioned whether the car was worth the investment. The Town would only be purchasing the paint. The Fairfield County School District’s Career Center would paint the car.

The Council discussed magnetic signs for the doors of the two Town pickup trucks. It was the fourth item under the Police Report. The cost for signs for each vehicle would be $52.

“We’re all in agreement so we don’t need to vote on this,” Herring said. “It’s in the ordinance.” Asked later what she meant, she said that because the expense is not over $500, they don’t have to vote on it.

The Town’s purchasing ordinance does not address not voting on expenditures under $500, it only addresses the requirement to seek bids for expenditures over $500.

After voting to approve the monthly financial report, Council discussed where they stood on several bids on designated capital expense items, and voted on only two of the five listed expenditures.

Surveillance Cameras for Town

Council voted to accept the low bid, $6,900 submitted by Capture it Surveillance, for security cameras for the Town. The other two bids were from KR Systems for $11,356.44 and Truvista for $19,282.

“The only thing with the $6,900 is that the $11,000 and the $19,000 bids probably have more quality cameras,” Prioleau said.

“The big difference that I noticed was that the $6,900 has a 16-channel DVR whereas the other two have 32-channel DVR, but are we really going to need 32 cameras,” Councilwoman Angela Harrison asked. “The 16-channel will cover us I think.”

Council also voted to have someone apply preservative to the Town Hall deck at a cost of about $450.

Councilman Doug Porter said he had not finished getting bids for heating/air for the Welcome Center. Other council members said more time was also needed for bids for Christmas decorations, the annual Christmas on the Ridge event and repair work on the teacherage.

No More Trucks

Five amendments of ordinances were also passed unanimously.

Final reading was given to an ordinance addressing the need for trucks to observe the truck routes around the Town.  The ordinance states that all trucks in the regulated vehicle classification within the Town shall not be operated over and along the ‘no through truck routes’ which are designated as W. Church Street and Coleman Highway, Dogwood Avenue and Ruff Street, Dogwood Avenue and W. Church Street, Palmer Street and W. Church Street and Palmer Street and Ruff Street. Exceptions are made for emergency, Town and delivery trucks.

Citations for Junkers

First reading of an amendment was passed to the ordinance governing the storage of junked motor vehicles on both public and private property. The changes will now allow the Ridgeway Police Department to issue a written citation when any junked motor vehicle or motor vehicle accessories have been stored or permitted to remain on any private or public property in excess of 30 days by the owner.

The 30-day window is calculated based upon the date of receipt for a certified notice from the Town. After the allotted time-period, the Town may remove the vehicle from the property.

Bidding amended

First reading also passed on an amendment to the part of the Town’s purchasing ordinance that deals with the securement of bids. Currently, Council is be required to secure three bids for any services, supplies, materials or equipment over $500. The new amendment would require three bids for items costing over $1,500. Porter said the amendment was patterned after a Kershaw County procurement ordinance.

“So that means if it’s under $1,500, you don’t have to get the three bids?” Harrison asked.

“That’s right,” Prioleau said.

No Overnight Parking

Council also passed first reading to amend the ordinance that regulates the parking of vehicles in the Town. A new provision was added to establish three-hour maximum parking time on Main Street and no overnight parking with the exception of law enforcement and emergency vehicles. The ordinance also specifies no overnight parking on any property owned or leased by the Town unless for special Town approved events with the exception of law enforcement and emergency vehicles.

MOU with County

Last, Council signed a resolution approving the memorandum of agreement between the Town and Fairfield County to handle building and code enforcement for the Town. The resolution had already been signed by the County.

“The reasons for the nature of this request are that the County already issues building permits to the citizens of Ridgeway, but the town does not have a code enforcement division,” Herring said.

“The Town employs a part time zoning administrator, Rick Johnson, who lives in Ridgeway but isn’t available to monitor building issues. Construction and property nuisances,” Herring said. “And the Town does not want to rely on the Chief of Police to monitor civil issues.”

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