Council bolsters National Night Out budget

By Kevin Spradlin

CHERAW, S.C. — After clarifying just how much additional funding was being requested, Cheraw Mayor Andy Ingram and Town Council members approved on Friday an extra $500 to Police Chief Keith Thomas.

CherawThomas and Councilwoman Jacquline Ellerbe-Shannon are the two catalysts behind the event, set to run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 7 at Centennial Park. The purpose of the evening is to have area residents, and especially the youth, learn that police officers and other first-responders are part of the community.

Thomas addressed the council during a special public meeting at noon at Town Hall. Ingram brought the meeting to order at 12:02 p.m. and adjourned the meeting 14 minutes later.

Thomas acknowledged that council members had already allotted $1,500 for the program. However, he came with a budget that showed he and Ellerbe-Shannon had already spent $1,658, including $933 in supplies such as identification kits for parents and balloons and activity books to distribute to children.

Thomas said he anticipated a dee jay would cost an additional $200. In addition, Thomas said the event is hoping to lure a guest speaker that won’t be paid but could be reimbursed for fuel expenses and perhaps “a meal or two.”

Beyond that, Thomas said, “we have some unknowns. We didn’t want to overspend without having council’s approval first.”

Ingram first made a motion to approve an additional $168. The motion received a second, but Ellerbe-Shannon halted the conversation to allow Thomas to clarify his intent. She also offered reasons why the council should approve the amended figure.

“We did not have a back-to-school event,” Ellerbe-Shannon said. “We don’t do enough for our youth. We need to have more positive things like National Night Out. It’s a chance (for children) to get to know our first-responders.”

Town Administrator Mike Smith stepped in and suggested council members authorize a budget of up to $2,000. Without any further discussion, the council authorized up to $500 more with a unanimous vote.

Fire department project needs $3,200 

A contract to replace concrete in the bay areas of the Cheraw Fire Department was approved by council members at their June meeting. The contract was award to Griggs Trucking, of Chesterfield, for $6,850.

Then workers started digging, Ingram said, “and found the soil was not suitable, not solid to pour concrete on the existing soil base.”

After the site was inspected further, Griggs Trucking said the work could be accomplished for an additional $3,200, “and do it the way it should be done,” Ingram said.

The motion passed unanimously.

Drainage improvement grant accepted

Council members approved the second reading of Ordinance 2015-04, making official the acceptance of a Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $315,640 from the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

The funds will be used to purchase two parcels totaling 6.67 acres and make drainage improvements, which will help eliminate flooding in low and moderate-income neighborhoods. A 4.1-acre tract — formerly Long Middle School — owned by the Chesterfield County School District, appraised for $15,000.

In addition, a 2.57-acre tract owned by J & S Company, of 1101 W. Green St., Cheraw, appraised at $20,000, will now belong to the town. The parcel is part of the old Robertson Plant, according to online records of the Chesterfield County Assessor’s Office.

The city will use $16,250 of Community Development Block Grant funds for the purchase and the balance of $18,750 will come from the town’s utilities fund balance.

Riverside Park update

Rather than starting from scratch, town leaders agreed to work once again with Clifton Keith, of Clifton Keithi J land Surveying, Ruby, to finish the topographical survey of Riverside Park.

Keith provided the town an estimate of $4,000 to do the survey, an issue which was tabled at the regular September meeting because there was no estimate. If the town wanted to begin with a new surveyor, the cost could be between $8,000 and $10,000.



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