Society Hill Town Council discusses its budget and town maintenance

By Stephan Drew, Editor

Due to electronic difficulties, the January meeting of Society Hill’s Town Council was not broadcast and this caused a delay in reporting. Here is a report of the January 10, 2023 meeting:

On January 10, 2023, the Town Council of Society Hill met to discuss their latest financial report and the continual upgrading of areas around town. Each council member was given a copy of the complete Budget Performance Report and several items were discussed. Mayor Duke explained the monthly miscellaneous expenses of $668, spent for the Police Department’s Christmas program. $650 of that money came from donations and $18 went for an extension cord for the holiday event. There was a $3.49 charge for additional photos.

Bill Lynch of Asset Technology Group explained the $990 AT&T bill and spoke about FireFox installing and replacing wiring at a cost of $2,012.46. Lynch reported that he trusts FireFox and, it is the only company he uses to install equipment. It was stated that the wiring should last another 20 years. Mayor Duke asked why this amount was not included in his original bill. “Was it because you didn’t know the wiring was so outdated?” Dukes asked. Lynch agreed that was the reason. Mayor Duke stated that he has another bid for comparison. It is $4,000 for cameras alone. Councilmember Melissa Burch stated that Asset Technology Group’s bid did not include wiring and, Duke stated that Asset’s quote was for equipment and monthly billing. Burch and Duke agreed that a new system is needed. Duke stated that he wants cameras outside and they will be positioned where they are needed while someone inside can view the monitors. A vote was taken to accept the bid of $5,864.54 from FireFox and it passed unanimously. The work will include wiring and cameras.

Society Hill Police Chief Renea Worden gave her report on police department activities with the number of citations written, contacts, reports, arrests, and other court information. She is working on a police department policy audit (required by State Law) and has five policies left to write. Police Department policies have not been updated since 2016. Worden also expressed the desire to have a Kids Movie Night during the summer. Councilmember Burch asked Worden if she was still looking for a part-time officer. Worden responded, “Nobody wants to be a police officer but, Darlington is willing to loan us an officer to help.”

The One Street At A Time project remains ongoing. During the cleanup, a blower and some rakes were found in the town’s storage building. Participants in the project may receive a $50 gift card from Corner Cupboard and the recipients for January were Judy and Allen Byrd.

Ordinance 01-2022-2023, an ordinance amending the Society Hill General Fund Budget was approved.

Council discussed The Depot, which, along with the 1822 Library, is overseen by Mr. Brian Gandy, Executive Director of the Darlington County Historical Commission and Museum. Gandy has been extremely busy with the construction of the new museum and council wondered if they could appoint someone else to serve until Gandy’s schedule became less crowded. Mayor Dukes stated he had 3 HVAC companies look at the library. Council had voted to put air conditioning in the library but, Councilmember Burch stated she had a group which explained that A/C would harm the building. Mayor Dukes stated he would talk with Mr. Gandy. The town has received a $25,000 grant for upgrades to the library and that money must be spent by December 31, 2023. It was decided that Burch would head the Historical 1822 Library project.

 Maintenance was done on the Town Hall, The Depot and the Boat Landing. $1,300 was spent on windows and water line repair. Old equipment was removed and the shed was cleaned up. Mayor Dukes thanked Brandon Wilson for pressure washing the Veterans Park and he also thanked Councilmember Douglas for helping to sell the police car.

It was reported to council that the new digital sign was ordered. It will be the same size as the one at Corner Cupboard (2.6 x 2.3). Council also discussed upgrading Professors Park so more visitors will be attracted to that area. Society Hill resident Richard “Dick” Baird gave an update on the community garden. They received a grant and also several donations from the community as well as the Lions Club. Part of the money was used to purchase a deer fence to protect the shrubbery’s new growth from being eaten.

The next meeting of the Society Hill Town Council will be held on March 14, 2023.

Author: Stephan Drew

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