Society Hill Council discusses range of issues

Society Hill Town Council members look on as citizens ask questions during the Town Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023. VIDEO CAPTURE BY SCOTT DIXON

By Stephan Drew, Editor

The Society Hill Town Council gathered on Tuesday, September 12, 2023, for a crucial meeting that addressed a range of community concerns and opportunities. The meeting commenced with a discussion of the town’s General Fund, currently holding $156,993.17 earmarked for town operations. Mayor Dwayne Duke suggested allocating a portion of these funds to the Reserve account, a prudent move aimed at securing the town’s financial future.

One highlight of the evening was Police Chief Renea Worden’s announcement. Worden had been in Columbia in August, contributing to the community by instructing classes. During her stay, she managed to secure a generous donation—a car camera—for the Society Hill Police Department. Worden emphasized the significance of this acquisition, stating, “You can make a DUI stop without a car camera, but you can’t prosecute a DUI without one.” In addition to this, she revealed plans to acquire a permanent “speed trailer,” a roadside device that informs drivers of their speed. In the interim, the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office loaned a speed trailer to the Town of Society Hill.

Councilmember Melissa Burch also had exciting news to share. Clemson Extension Service was performing an extensive chemical analysis of the paint adorning the historic 1822 Library. This endeavor reflects the town’s commitment to preserving its rich heritage.

Dick Baird then provided an update on the Community Garden, which had an exceptionally successful inaugural year, thanks to robust community support. Mayor Duke took the opportunity to encourage greater participation in the One-Street-At-A-Time program, emphasizing the importance of community engagement.

Another point of pride for the Council was the new digital sign recently installed in front of the Town Hall, enhancing communication with residents.

Mayor Duke reported that the Darlington County Water/Sewer Department had approved the town’s plans for a new storage building. Their consideration was needed because the a portion of the building will rest on a very small strip of land which is owned by the department. This structure, measuring 18ft by 30ft with a 9ft ceiling, would cost approximately $13,320. The Council allocated a $2,000 deposit to initiate the construction.

Furthermore, the Council heard the reading of Ordinance 01-2023-2024, which was approved for a final reading and vote at next month’s meeting. This ordinance, mandated by the State of South Carolina, would authorize the town to impose a business license tax on gross income, requiring renewal every odd-numbered year.

In closing, Mayor Duke discussed the recent Galey & Lord fire and the subsequent Boil Water Advisory, reassuring residents that the town’s water supply remained uncontaminated. He also announced an upcoming meeting by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address community concerns on September 27, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Center, located at 223 Hall Street. The meeting promises to be an important opportunity for residents to engage with environmental matters affecting Society Hill.

Author: Stephan Drew

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