City Council applauds
By Jana E. Pye, Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Attendees of the October council meeting of the City of Darlington broke into applause not once, but twice during their meeting after presentations by Fire Chief Pat Cavanaugh, and Recreation Department Director Lee Andrews.
The Darlington Fire Department was awarded a 1SO rating of 3, making them in the elite category for fire departments across the United States.
As explained by Chief Pat Cavanaugh, ISO rating stands for Insurance Service Offices, the rating set by national standards to set the rates for your home insurance rates for fire protection in municipalities. It is based on the city water supply, and local fire department evaluations.
“Three years ago we set out a goal to work with the citizens and help them with ISO,” said Cavanaugh. “When we started out years ago with Chief Stone we were at a 5, and he got us up to a 4. The lower your numbers, the better your scores and lower your insurance ratings are. We started off three years ago when I took over, to try to make our goal of 3, and we got our news last week that as of January 1, 2016 we will be a 3 for our ISO rating.
We are so far up the scale that we are close enough in the next couple of years we may even make a 2. There were 48,000 fire departments in the country that actually made a 10, which is the lowest one, and we are in the top 3% right now. And it’s all because of the hard work of the fireman, the Davis and Brown guys helping us out with water, and council and manager making it possible for us.”
City Manager Howard Garland asked, “Chief Cavanaugh, what’s Hartsville’s rating?”
Garland continued, “What does this mean for homeowners now?”
“It should lower their homeowner’s rate. It’s based on property evaluations. The lower the ISO ratings, when larger industries come in they look for low ISO ratings to establish their businesses. Hopefully this will make it easier for us to recruit businesses to come into the city.”
“Folks, I don’t think you know how lucky we are,” continued Garland. “We have the best fire and police departments in the state.”
Lee Andrews was also rewarded with hearty applause after he shared the success of the return of the Southern 500 Parade to Darlington. “It’s a new tradition,” said Andrews, who named Chip Wile and his staff at Darlington Raceway, and parade committee members Crystal Gibson, Will Isgett and Lisa Chalian-Rock for their hard work, along with the many volunteers that helped make the event so successful.
Other items discussed during the October meeting included:
Darlington Downtown Revitalization Association (DDRA) update: Director Lisa Chalian-Rock shared plans for the DDRA Improvement Incentive Program, to provide matching 50/50 grants for downtown businesses to improve their façade with paint, awnings, and signs for up to $1,000 until funds are depleted of the $5,000 raised from recent fundraising events. Rock said that the first loan has been awarded for the Build Up Darlington program that began in 2012. Future events include: Scare on the Square, October 29 from 4:30 – 6 p.m.; Business Costume Contest Friday, October 30; and an all day Christmas Market will be held on Saturday, December 12 at Trinity United Methodist Church.
Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce update: Director Sabrina Derry greeted council, and shared that three new members have joined the chamber. The next event will be the Toast on Darlington on Thursday, November 5th on Oak Street, and the Annual Banquet will be held in February.
Stanley Gym Naming: BoBBy Ross addressed council about renaming the A.W. Stanley Gym at the BA Gary Educational Complex at 100 Magnolia Street in Darlington.
Ross asked that the gym be renamed the A.W. “Man” Stanley Gem, to reflect the nickname that the late Arthur Whitfield “Man” Stanley was named for.
Stanley was the former president of the Darlington NAACP, and was awarded the Order of the Palmetto in 1995 for his service to the community.
After much discussion, council voted to add the nickname to the building.
The lone vote against it was John Segars, who countered that buildings should be named with proper names, rather than nicknames, and asked, “Is the nickname ‘Spot’ on the Mozingo Building?”
Housing Demolition List Approval:
Council voted to approve the list of houses to be demolished using the $40,000 budgeted for the project. Houses on the list (in no specific order)
105 Reid Street
219 Edwards Street
203 Lee Street
205 Lee Street
204 Second Street
509 S Dargan Street
204 Chalmer Street
509 Chestnut Street
115 Kirven Street
514 S Main Street
405 Second Street
408 Guess Street
606 W Broad Street
301 Darlington Ave.
305 Darlington Ave.
306 Darlington Ave.
310 Darlington Ave.
107 Pinehaven Ave. (in probate)
204 Chestnut St.
Council voted to approve. Homeowners were notified, and manager Howard Garland told council that in some cases the homeowner will tear them down. The number of houses actually demolished will depend on submitted estimates.
Resolution State Revolving Loan Fund Application: Council voted to approve the application for city to apply to the State Authority for a loan from the South Carolina Water Quality Revolving Fund Authority for a low-interest loan in the amount of $347,880 to finance the costs of constructing sewer force main, gravity sewer, and two lift stations to divert wastewater from Hartsville Oil Mill to Florence Regional Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP).
The city will then grant to the State Authority a pledge of all revenues of the City’s combined water and sewer system for repayment.
“The loan is only 2.5 percent, and could get lower, and after five years can be forgiven completely.” said Garland.
He explained that this will allow the bypass area of the city to be more attractive to future business growth .
Street Paving Requests, Darlington County Transportation Committee (CTC):
Council received the list of following streets recommended for repaving by the CTC: First St., between B Ave. and D Ave.; First St. South of Cain Elementary School and Joe Louis Blvd.; Sparks St.; Gandy St.; Jordan St.; Abe Lincoln St.; Hunter St.; Howard St.; Dargan St.; Jessamine St.; S Main St., between E Hampton and Chestnut; Russell St, between Jessamine and Schuler; Schuler St.; Darlington Ave.; Pine St.; West Hampton St.; Spain St., between Orange and Pearl; Dargan St., between Orange and Pearl; Haynesworth St.; Fountain St.; Spring St., between Cashua and Evans; Oak St.; Cashua St., between Public Sq. and S Williamson Park Dr.; Ward St.
Mayor Pro Tem Coleman Cannon suggested that Third Street be added, councilwoman Dyan Cohen suggested Country Club Road be added, and councilwoman Gloria Hines suggested Lee Street be added.
Paving Funding Request SCDOT Orange/Wells Streets: Council voted to add the Orange and Wells Street Drainage issue to the list of FEMA requests, as they were greatly affected by the recent flooding of October 2 – 4.
First Reading Ordinance 2015-14 “Transfer Portion of Patience St. to Miriam W. Jones”:
Council voted to approve the conveyance of the strip of land from the right of way on South Main Street to the rear property line of homeowner Miriam W. Jones in return for her inconvenience of having Patience Street closed. The city of Darlington will supply grass and materials to landscape her property.
Bid Approval Phase III Renaissance Grant:
Six contractors submitted bids for the Southeast Neighborhood CDBG Renaissance Grant; the lowest bid was significantly lower than the other five, so the council voted to table the bid while further information and recommendations are gathered.
Carnegie Library Update:
City Planner Lisa Chalian Rock shared that an estimate from Cummings & McCrady, Inc. revealed that the cost to update the upstairs of the historic building will be much higher than originally thought – $475,000. Council had already voted to approve $65,000 – $70,000 of hospitality tax to continue work on the former library. Per recommendations from city manager and council, Rock will move forward on fundraising efforts to complete the restoration, and will use the approved funds to stabilize the supports necessary to make the first floor safe, including installation of supports, replacing the garage door, replacing wood floors, installing cabinets and a security camera system.
City Manager Update:
During update by Howard Garland, he shared with council that police, fire department, and city workers did an outstanding job during the recent flooding which caused much destruction in the historic 1856 Administration Building. All city offices are now in the City Hall building.
“I can’t say how proud I am of the police, fire and sanitation departments over the weekend,” said Garland. “Homes were saved because of their efforts.” He also thanked council members Jimmy Cooper and Gloria Hines for helping call in issues in the city and checking up on neighborhoods affected by the flooding.
Garland also updated council that the testing is complete of the water in “The Ditch” on Chalmers Street, and the extremely pungent, smelly area. “The fecal matter in there is not human or animal waste. We will discuss the findings of this with DHEC in the next week or two. They need to step up and do their job, so to say,” continued Garland. “We have determined it is not human waste, and it is not animal waste in that ditch.”
After the meeting, Garland said that when certain chemicals are combined in stagnant water it tests positive for fecal matter.
Garland also shared that Davis and Brown did smoke testing in Southeast Darlington and found irregularities on sewer lines and camera-ed from 1st Street from D to H Avenue and found some issues with the work that was done in Phase II from engineered by Stone Engineering. A letter was sent to the engineer and the city is awaiting a response on that.
“The cost to repair some of the work that needs to be done over probably is going to be $130,000 to $150,000- we are going to have to pick that up. Our plan is for Phase III contractor to do the repairs to that area.,” said Garland.
According to Freddie Kinsaul, director of Water and Sewer, the problems are critical.
“The critical thing is we have three sewer lines …that are put together with a plastic connector in the middle of these catch basins. That is what we suspected when we smoke tested; we saw smoke coming out of the new storm water catch basins. That gives indication the sewer is leaking somewhere in that new storm water area.”
Reminder of Election Day in City of Darlington Nov ember 3, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The next monthly meeting for the Darlington City Council will be held Tuesday, November 10 at 7 p.m.