Hartsville seeks funding for new well
By Samantha Lyles
At their Sept. 8 regular meeting, Hartsville City Council agreed to move ahead with plans to seek grant funding for the construction of a new well to augment the city’s water system.
In passing Resolution No. 09-20-02, Council cleared staff to apply for a South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority grant of $500,000 to help pay for the $1.5 million project.
Additional funds could come from an SRF (State Revolving Loan Fund) loan of $997,000, contingent upon Council’s approval at their October meeting.
According to the resolution, installing a new well on the high pressure side of the city’s water system “is a priority for the city’s capital improvements plan. …
“Currently, the well at the low pressure side serves the high pressure zone and is reaching the end of its useful life. There are two wells that produce 90 percent of the city’s drinking water. If either of these two wells fail, the city would be unable to produce enough water to supply demand. Once the tanks emptied, there would be little fire protection. Since these wells have outlived their useful life, repairs are continuous.”
The city has already received notice that SC DHEC has included this project in their 2021 provisional project list, making it eligible for SRF money.
The resolution warns that if this project is not funded, “repairs will continue to be costly until one of the two wells experiences a total system failure. Construction costs at that time would be several hundred thousand dollars more as we have seen them rise over the last two years. In addition, the city would be placed in a vulnerable position not being able to meet demand or provide fire protection.”
Council also approved Resolution No. 09-20-03, permitting staff to apply to the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HGMP) for a new generator at City Hall.
“Currently during severe storms or hurricanes, city staff must wait out the storm at the fire department since it has a backup generator and space is not adequate for the command staff needed during these events. Having a generator at City Hall would allow for adequate spacing of departments and ensure that city functions would still continue during a loss of power,” the resolution read.
The extract also noted that the generator would also allow staff enough space to maintain social distancing as a COVID-19 precaution, even during times of emergency.
The HGMP grant would fund 80 percent of project costs, leaving the city to pay an estimated $28,170 as its 20 percent match.
Also on the agenda, Council gave final approval to Ordinance 4400, leasing the property on the corner of Marlboro Avenue and Seventh Street to the Hartsville Rescue Squad for a term of one year from Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021, for the sum of $1.
Council also approved first reading of Ordinance 4402, which would lease the property at 231 West Carolina Ave. to Divine Destiny Ministries for six months to one year beginning Nov. 1, 2020, for the amount of $500 a month. Councilman Bobby McGee voted against the measure, citing a preference that downtown commercial spaces not be used for churches.
In other matters, Mayor Pro Tem Johnny Andrews (standing in for absent Mayor Mel Pennington) proclaimed Oct. 4 “National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Day” and Oct. 4-10 as “National Fire Prevention Week” in the City of Hartsville.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, council received positive feedback from Coker University President Natalie Harder on the city’s decision to require face coverings in public places to slow the spread of COVID-19. “It was very helpful in encouraging our students to learn the protocol of grabbing their mask when they’re on their way out the door,” said Harder, adding that communities with mask ordinances are showing lower COVID infection rates.
Hartsville City Council holds regular meetings on the second Tuesday each month at 5:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers at 100 East Carolina Ave. in Hartsville. Pursuant to Emergency Ordinance 4401, these meetings will be open to the public with social distancing and face coverings required.