NEWBERRY – Newberry City Council recognized this year’s Newberry-PMPA Community Scholar Scholarship recipient, Dexter Stinson last week. Stinson is a senior at Newberry High School with plans to attend Columbia International University.
The scholarship recognizes students who attended, at a minimum, three years of high school or home-schooling within the city limits and who themselves, or whose legal guardian has a current residential electric utilities account within the city.
Those receiving the scholarship must demonstrate outstanding academic potential, as evidenced by a GPA of 2.5 or above in college preparatory coursework, and demonstrate personal leadership as reflected in leadership roles related to academics, co-curricular organizations, clubs, etc.
“We appreciate you representing the City of Newberry,” Mayor Foster Senn said to Stinson. “You’re highly respected.”
Also recognized by the council was the Newberry Fire Department for being recent recipients of the Fire Safe South Carolina Community Designation.
The department was one of 104 local fire departments across 36 counties to receive the designation in recognition of actively working to develop community risk reduction plans for their jurisdiction in 2021.
“I know y’all do a great job on promoting fire safety,” Senn said.
Minick attributed the success of his department to the staff and that by working to educate the community, they could, “prevent it [fire] so they didn’t have to fight it. “
Under updates and announcements, Meg Muir spoke on behalf of the Newberry Museum sharing the success of their previous exhibit – celebrating 75 years of WKDK Radio. The museum’s current exhibit, “She said… Yes!” is open through August 13 and holds wedding fashions dating back more than 200 years as well as opportunities to learn about the design, artistry and skill that brought them into being.
Following this exhibit, Muir said in September, “Coming Home to Newberry” will allow the community to learn about Newberry College and the different locations it began before settling into Newberry.
Finally, Muir announced the museum’s new director, Steven Knapp, would be starting on Monday, May 16.
A proclamation was signed by Senn Tuesday designating the month of May as Older Americans Month in Newberry. Senn read the proclamation and said he was glad that Newberry could be a great home for seniors.
In other business, Parks Recreation and Tourism Director Scott Sawyer told the council that the city had been pursuing a bike and pedestrian master plan that would be sponsored by the Central Midlands Council of Governments (COG).
The plan, he said, was proposed in February, passing a second reading by the COG and was open for public comment through April 27. A second reading was passed on April 28, Sawyer said.
While the process will not happen quickly, he said that in fiscal year 2023, when funds were available a firm would be selected through a request for qualifications. That firm will work with staff, SCDOT as well as information taken through community input.
Sawyer said the bicycle and pedestrian master plan for the City of Newberry will serve as a guiding document to prioritize and catalyze active transportation projects as the city strives to create a sense of place.
“The safe and connected bicycle and pedestrian system will benefit residents and visitors,” he said.
In other business, Several community members spoke, to include Patricia Caldwell, in favor of the renaming of Wise Street Park to Israel Brooks Park. City Council renamed the park in April.
Caldwell spoke highly of Brooks’ career accomplishments and presented the City of Newberry with a copy of a resolution from the SC General Assembly, a copy of the program from the dedication of Israel Brooks Jr. interchange, and a copy of the bulletin from the Newberry Museum exhibit on Brooks.
Lillie Hunter also spoke in favor of the renaming of the park. Hunter mentioned many of the accomplishments from Brooks’ life and that his life could be used as an example to inspire young people within the community.
Jimmy Smith spoke on his plans for a celebration for first responders in Newberry County. Smith said he is planning a three-day event around July 4 and asked for council’s support.
Giacomo Knox addressed the council with the idea of creating the Mayor’s Office for Film and Television. Knox said he believed creating a one-stop shop for permits, road closures, a liaison with police and fire, etc. would encourage film and television production in Newberry.
In other business, Senn held two public hearings Tuesday, the first pertaining to an ordinance granting council approval for a mural at 1109 Caldwell Street. Hearing no one speak in favor or opposition of the proposed ordinance, Senn closed the public hearing.
Public hearing was also held on an ordinance to provide for amendments to the revenue and expenditure appropriations in the fiscal year 2021-22 budget. Hearing no one speak in favor or opposition of the proposed ordinance, Senn closed the public hearing.
In other business, Under old business, second and final reading was approved of an ordinance to repeal and replace a previous ordinance to establish the standards for the placement of small wireless facilities in the City of Newberry.
Senn said the city previously enacted ordinance # 2018-1013 on October 9, 2018, and ordinance # 2018-1020 on November 26, 2018, which established the terms, conditions, procedures, rates, and fees that shall apply to the deployment of Small Wireless Facilities in the right of way.
With Act 179 of 2020, referred to as the South Carolina Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act, the South Carolina General Assembly established the terms, conditions, procedures, rates, and fees upon which small wireless facilities may be deployed in the right way.
To ensure compliance with Act 179 of 2020, the city repealed the previous ordinances and replaced them, effective immediately, with ordinance # 2022-1006.
Motion to approve second reading was made by Councilperson Lemont Glasgow and seconded by Councilperson Edwin Wicker.
Also approved under old business was the second and final reading of an ordinance to grant council approval for a mural at 1109 Caldwell Street. Motion was made by Councilperson Carlton Kinard and seconded by Councilperson Edwin Wicker.
Second and final reading was also passed of an ordinance to provide for amendments to the revenue and expenditure appropriations in the fiscal year 2021-22. Motion to approve second reading was made by Councilperson Jackie Holmes and seconded by DuBose.
Under new business, the council passed two considerations for outside water requests for properties located at 2300 Mayes Avenue and 2308 Mayes Avenue.
The property owners have both agreed to execute annexation covenants indicating a willingness to annex if the property becomes contiguous to the city limits and the council determines it is in the best interest of the city to annex the property.
For both pieces of property, there will be a $ 1,400 outside water tap fee and the property owners will also pay for the line extension.
The first reading was passed with a motion from Holmes, seconded by Wicker to amend Section 2-17 of the Code of Ordinance to establish the beginning of the term for offices of mayor and members of the council.
Senn said the code of ordinances currently states that newly elected officers shall be qualified to take office at any meeting of the council at least 48 hours after an uncontested election. The incumbent shall hold over until contests are finally determined and successors are qualified and take office.
If second reading is passed, the ordinance would amend section 2-17 to state:
“Newly elected officers shall not be qualified pursuant to Section 5-15-120 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, 1976, as amended, until at least 48 hours after the closure of the polls.
“Newly elected officers shall take office and be sworn in at the first regular meeting of the council in December of the year of the election provided, however, in the case of a contest, the incumbent shall hold over until the contest is finally determined. ”
With a motion made by Holmes, seconded by DuBose, the first reading was passed of an ordinance to amend Section 2-16 of the Code of Ordinances to establish a filing fee for mayor and city council. The code currently states that the filing fee for mayor or council member shall be 1% of the salary for the four-year term of the office the candidate is seeking, which may be waived upon affidavit of inability to pay.
Senn said he did not feel that a candidate should have to pay that much to run for office and if passed, this ordinance would change the filing fee to one-half of 1%.
In other business, a motion was made by Glasgow and seconded by Councilperson David Force to approve a request to allow alcohol in designated event areas for Juneteenth on June 18, from 10 am until 4 pm only.
The Newberry Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Department requested permission to allow beer and wine only, served and sold by approved event vendors only, using plastic cups to be no larger than 16 ounces, to be taken from said vendors into the event area. Event patrons will be carded and an over 21 wristbands provided to them by the approved event vendors. Liquor consumption is not to be permitted in the event area.
The event area includes Main Street from Nance to Holman Streets, McKibben Street from Main to Boyce Streets, Caldwell Street from Friend to Boyce Streets, Boyce Street from College to Nance Streets, and the Newberry County Courthouse parking lot.
Consideration of a request to allow alcohol in designated event area for the Spinners Outdoor Concert on September 10 was also approved with a motion from Wicker, seconded by Force.
The Newberry Opera House Foundation requested permission to allow beer and wine, served by designated event venue staff, using plastic cups, as part of their outdoor concert “Rock the Tower” event from 6: 00-9: 30 pm
The event will be held on the grassy section of the city property bounded by Nance, Trench and Caldwell Streets. All guests would have a wristband to identify themselves as ticket holders and 21 and over. No beverages will be allowed outside the set perimeter of the function.
The September meeting of the city council was changed from September 6, to Tuesday, September 13. The meeting will be held at 7 pm at City Hall. Motion to move the meeting was made by Holmes and seconded by Kinard.
Senn shared information on possible funding sources for road improvements, noting SCDOT primarily focuses on interstates and bridges, while occasionally working on local roads with high daily traffic counts.
The city recently had a U.S. Department of Transportation RAISE grant rejected and is currently working to submit a bridge application through funding available in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Senn said.
Senn said The Central Midlands Council of Governments (COG) is a limited opportunity, with some intersection improvements possible as their focus is primarily on safety. However, the County Transportation Committee, he said, is also an opportunity for streets.
Elyssa Haven is the Public Relations Coordinator at the City of Newberry.