Ridgeway accepts bid for restroom

RIDGEWAY – Before voting to raise water rates, accept a bid for new restrooms and clarify the cost of living increase for town employees at its May 9 meeting, the Ridgeway Town Council first voted to pass first reading of the Town’s FY 2019-20 budget of $751,959 with only Councilwoman Angela Harrison dissenting. Harrison said she wanted to see the audit for the previous fiscal year before voting on the budget.

Council also clarified that the annual cost of living increase for Town employees will be set at three percent instead of the previously listed two-to-three percent.

Water Bills Up

The town’s water customers will see slightly higher water rates beginning with the July water bills if a second reading of the ordinance passes in June. The increase in wholesale water rates is a pass through from Winnsboro water service which supplies water to Ridgeway. Those rates will increase by $.18 per 1,000 gallons which amounts to a 3.5 percent increase for all customers.

“We have no choice,” Councilman Rufus Jones said. “Council is not voting for any increase from the Town of Ridgeway by choice. Our water comes from Winnsboro and we are just having to pass along the same rate increase that we received from them.”

Restrooms for Downtown

Restrooms in downtown Ridgeway may finally become a reality. After a second sealed bid process was offered by the Town last month, a bid of $43,000 from W. T. Murphy’s Construction of West Columbia was the low and winning bid for two new public restrooms to be constructed in a building behind the Olde Town Hall Restaurant in downtown Ridgeway. The other bids opened at the council meeting were Taylor Made for $197,000 and Southern Renovations for $46,770.75.

Council accepted Murphy’s Construction’s bid contingent on the outcome of a special called meeting at the construction site to discuss licensing, insurance and other details including a start and end date for construction. That meeting was held on Wednesday, May 29 at 6 p.m., just after The Voice went to press.

The first set of bids submitted in March, ranging from $51,849 to $215,150, were rejected by Council.

Farmers Market $ Request

In other business, Council considered a request from Brad Hoffman of the Fairfield County Farmers Market for $1,500 to help fund the 2019 Ag + Art event.

“What are they doing with the $1,500?” Councilwoman Angela Harrison asked. Councilmen Dan Martin and Rufus Jones also questioned how the money would be spent.

“They had a booth at Arts on the Ridge and they sure weren’t full of customers,” Jones said. “So I think $1,500 is way out of line just for Ridgeway to be mentioned in the overall Fairfield County advertising. I suggest we give them $200 as we have in the past.”

A motion by Harrison to reject the $1,500 offer failed for lack of a second. Council voted, instead, for Councilman Don Prioleau’s motion to meet with the Farmer’s Market people at the May 29 special called meeting to further discuss the matter.

Council did approve a proposal for the Fairfield County Farmers Market to set up for two Thursdays each month in the Cotton Yard when available during the next six months at no cost.

Historic RW Signs Tabled

An agenda item put forth by Councilwoman Harrison to install “Historic Ridgeway” signage in partnership with funding grants was tabled for reconsideration in six months.

Delivery Parking on Palmer

Parking on Palmer Street, an agenda item regarding temporary blocking out of spaces on Palmer Street to allow access for 18-wheel tractor trailers to make the turn into the Ruff Hardware store for deliveries, was tabled until the next meeting to allow research from the DOT to be investigated.

Family Night

Council expressed strong support for the upcoming Family Night on the Ridge celebration on Saturday, June 8, from 4 to 8 p.m., at the Ridgeway Park. Proceeds from the event will go to support Ridgeway’s Barclay School.