$500,000 grant and new garbage truck discussed at Lamar Council

By Samantha Lyles
Staff Writer

With masks on and social distancing in place, members of Lamar Town Council gathered on June 8 for their regular monthly meeting, where discussion items ranged from new garbage trucks to animal control.
Speaking to council via Zoom teleconference, consultant Jannie Lathan gave updates on several projects:
All documents have been signed for receipt of the $500,000 grant awarded to Lamar by the S.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA). The grant money will fund an overhaul of the Zion pump station (the town’s main sewage lift station) and installation of 3,200 linear feet of gravity-fed sewer line. Lathan said the project timeline from design to completion is 24 months.
A project start-up meeting (via teleconference) between town officials and RIA representatives was scheduled for June 9.
Prices have been researched for a new garbage truck, and a grant application will be submitted to USDA Rural Development before the end of June.
Another smoke test was scheduled for Lamar’s sewer lines on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (June 9, 10 and 11) to locate points of stormwater infiltration for repair.
Lathan said she has e-mailed engineering firm Davis and Brown regarding the close-out requirements for wastewater infrastructure work done by the company. She said she anticipates all those requirements will be met in June, closing out the current consent order leveled on the town by S.C. DHEC.
New aerators at Lamar’s wastewater treatment pond have been installed, and new pumps were scheduled for installation by Professional Pump and Well by week’s end.
Council member Inez Lee asked Lamar citizens affected by water line breaks to please be patient and trust that the town will try to locate line breaks and fix them as quickly as possible.
“We are on it,” said Lee. “This didn’t happen overnight, so we can’t solve it overnight. It is not easy trying to locate those problems and solve issues that residents have. We appreciate your patience.”
Police Chief Carl Scott said Lamar’s Neighborhood Watch is shaping up, and the program’s four volunteer “zone captains” met June 4 to discuss plans.
“They were very enthusiastic about being part of the Neighborhood Watch, so we’re asking the citizens to assist them,” Scott said, noting that captains will be out recruiting watch members and co-captains over the coming weeks.
“The information that you give to (Neighborhood Watch) will be given to those captains, who will report it back to me so that we can fix the problems we have in our neighborhoods,” said Scott. “This is not a one-man operation, this is a town operation. … So if they contact you, please help us out.”
Scott added that increased complaints about dogs roaming loose have been relayed to Darlington County animal control officers. Citizens who encounter such animals can call police and request that a trap be placed in their yard to catch these nuisance dogs. Scott said that owners who neglect to secure their animals are violating Lamar’s leash law and are subject to fines.
Mayor Darnell Byrd McPherson said work continues on the town’s 2020/21 fiscal year budgets, which must be completed and voted into effect by June 30. Related to the town’s finances, McPherson said she has spoken with Douglas Poston of CPA firm Phillips Hursey & Farrell about serving as the town’s CFO and increasing the orderliness of Lamar’s finances.
“Jannie Lathan has agreed to provide some short-term operations oversight responsibilities along with grants management,” McPherson later told the News & Press.
At the meeting, McPherson said one goal is to provide detailed financial reports for council’s review each month.
Lamar Town Council meets the second Tuesday of each month at 6:15 p.m. While COVID-19 persists, these meetings will be live streamed to the public via the town’s Facebook page @Town-of-Lamar-SC.

Author: Stephan Drew

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