Franklin takes oath as new town mayor

Baughman, Brock steated on Council
Blythewood Magistrate Diedra Hightower administered the oath of office to Blythewood’s newly elected mayor, Bryan Franklin. Franklin’s wife, Dusty, holds the Bible for Franklin as five of the couple’s eight children look on, from left, Sammy, Kaylyn, Gabi, Jordan and Bryson. | Photos: Barbara Ball

BLYTHEWOOD – After a long goodbye by outgoing Mayor J. Michael Ross, Bryan Franklin was sworn into office as the new Blythewood mayor along with two councilmen – returning Councilman Eddie Baughman and new council member Donald Brock.

Kim Roberts a spokesperson for County Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson’s presented a glass memento to Ross for his service to the town, and expressed Dickerson’s regrets that she was unable to attend.

The officials were sworn in by Blythewood’s new magistrate, the Honorable Diedra Hightower, who was appointed last summer by Senator Mia McLeod.

After taking office, Franklin presented a plaque of appreciation to outgoing Councilman Malcolm Gordge and flowers to his wife Emily. Gordge had served four years on Council, but was defeated earlier this month in his bid for mayor. Because his council term was ended, Gordge was left without a seat on the Council. During remarks, Gordge expressed his intent to run for the seat previously held by Franklin on council. That special election will be held Feb. 11.

In other business, Ross presented a proclamation to Clarence Ray Smith, 91, who owns Smith Farms on Highway 21.

Council also passed final reading on an amendment to Section 155.373 (recreational Facilities Adjacent to Residential Uses) of Ordinance 2019.017. The ordinance was amended to include the following language: A neighborhood clubhouse, to include a swimming pool, picnic shelter, tennis courts and/or playground, accessory to and for the exclusive use of a residential subdivision, shall be permitted outright, regardless of the underlying zoning district.

The amendment include other minor changes.

Council also approved two awards of accommodation tax (A-Tax) funds.

It approved $20,000 for the S.C. Diamond Invitational Baseball Tournament to be held April 15 – 18, 2020.

“Projected attendance is 3,500 with a total budget of $39,500,” Steve Hasterok, assistant to the A-Tax Committee told Council.

Council also unanimously approved $25,000 for the 10th Annual Doko Rodeo to be held in Blythewood April 24 and 25, 2020.

Hasterok said the total budget for the rodeo is $82,500, but no other financial information for the rodeo was included in The Voice’s council packet.

Next year’s rodeo is being moved to April from June partially to avoid the heat of the summer months and to avoid graduation and families leaving for vacation in June, Hasterok said.

Increases in expenses are attributable to increased attendance, higher insurance costs, higher cost for seating and expenses for celebrities such as Miss Rodeo USA.

Council also adopted the 2020 Town calendar and elected Councilman Baughman to continue serving as Mayor Pro Tempore.

Newly sworn in Mayor Bryan Franklin presents outgoing mayor Mike Ross and his wife Nancy with a gavel plaque.