Society Hill Council discusses budget and city beautification

The Town Council of Society Hill (left to right): Melissa Burch, Mayor Dwayne Duke, Denise Douglas and Chuck Baker. Council member Debra Harrell was not present. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

By Stephan Drew, Editor

The Town Council of Society Hill met on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, and discussed their budget  and  the ongoing efforts to beautify the town. Six months ago, a camera was placed at The Boat Landing, located outside the town. This area has been littered over the past several months, prompting the surveillance to catch those who are throwing out their litter and debris. Mayor Dwayne Duke explained that the camera can hold about 250 pictures before sending those images to the database. A new computer system and electronic equipment will be purchased, using $3,700 in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds from the Federal Government.

Council reviewed the yearly audit and Mayor Duke explained that the auditing firm stated “the town looks very good.” Duke further stated that city assets were $1.9 million and the fund balance as of June 2022 was $264,170. Even if ARP money is removed from the city’s coffers, the city would still have $171,251. “We’re doing  good as far as this audit is concerned,” Duke stated.

Police Chief Renea Worden stated that crime numbers went down for the month of February. She reported that the police department, in conjunction with county law enforcement agencies, plans 2 checkpoints per month, searching for drugs, stolen property and checking for other violations. Mayor Duke discussed the “dog problem” with Worden. For several weeks, an increased number of dogs have been found roaming wild and some have been discovered dead on roads in Society Hill. Worden explained that, unless it is a traffic accident involving another vehicle or injury to a pedestrian, the state probably won’t step in to change signage or implement different traffic regulations  in the area. Duke stated that Animal Control had been notified and they are investigating. Councilmember Melissa Burch asked if they could put a leash law into effect. “I saw six in a pack just the other day,” she said, “we need to know where all these dogs are coming from.” Duke stated he had apprehended several of the dogs and made attempts to return them to the owners. Duke stated he would get a trap in an attempt to catch the animals and council agreed to work closely with Animal Control regarding the matter.

In other business, Councilmember Burch reported that more vendors are signing up for tables at the Taste of Society Hill. This year, there will be a table decoration competition between vendors and the Southern Rock band ShugaBob will provide entertainment. The event will be held on April 22, 2023, at the Adam Marshall House on Main Street. Burch also reported that a $1,000 grant is available for applicants who have improved the appearance of older buildings in town. So far, no applications have been received. Burch explained that the building does not have to be a house, just an older structure.

In discussing the improvements to the 1822 Library, Mayor Duke requested that paint samples be sent to the Clemson Extension Service to analyze so that it may be removed and replaced with similar paint, which is appropriate to the era of the building. Duke also reported that the work on the Community Garden, behind St. David’s Academy, is progressing well. Duke suggested that others contribute by adding their own boxes to the site. “Go down there and get a box,” Duke stated, “and put some tomato plants in them. I’m going to do one.” Duke reminded those in attendance that the Miss Society Hill beauty pageant was coming up soon and help from the community is needed. The event was held in Florence last year. The One-Street-At-A-Time city beautification program continues and the mayor reported that community involvement is exceptional.  Duke also told council that Society Hill is ready to acquire the $5,000 digital town sign voted on several months ago.

The next meeting of the Society Hill Town Council will be held on April 11, 2023.

Author: Stephan Drew

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