Last Council Meeting of 2021

Council Ends Year
With Long Meeting

Saluda County Council closed out 2021 with a lengthy meeting on Mon., Dec. 12.
  Public hearings, public presentations, ordinance readings and a long executive session accounted for the over two hour meeting.
  Vice-chairman Carey Bedenbaugh presided in the absence of Chairman Jerry Strawbridge.
  Ann Forrest Watkins and Brittin Bryan Padgett addressed the animal control problem in the county.
  Mrs. Watkins said no citizen of Saluda County is unaware of the problem, and listed several instances of stray and mistreated animals. She also told of an out of county case of a stray dog chasing a child into the road and the child was struck by a car and killed.
  Mrs. Watkins asked about the funds for animal shelter Saluda County citizens approved when they voted for an addition one cent sales tax.
  “We should know where that money is going,” she said.
  Mrs. Padgett said she works at a veterinary clinic in Newberry and sees stray animals on her commute every day. She said her clinic gets calls form Saluda County citizens about problem animals almost everyday.
  Saluda County law enforcement answered over 300 animal complaints this year, she said.
  She suggested the county pass an animal control ordinance, which would include fines for noncompliance. She mentioned Richland County has fines up to $500.
  Animal control could be partially self supporting if the county would implement fines and licenses for all pets. She estimated Saluda County had 13,400 pets, and at five dollars a license that would raise  $67,000.
  Both women mentioned to need for pet owners to have their pets spayed or neutered.
  Saluda County Water and Sewer Authority director Jason Fell asked Council to consider using some funds the county has received from the American Recovery Plan Act to go toward water and sewer projects.
  Fell said the SCWSA has partnered with the Town of Saluda to build a sewerage treatment plant, and has entered into an agreement with Ridge Spring to provide water and sewer for that town. The Ridge Spring project is due to go into effect in 2023. These projects  and others total $70 million.
  Fell said he would be happy to meet with Council to further explain the projects.
  Public hearings were held on the following:
    An ordinance to adopt a false fire alarm ordinance for the County of Saluda. This ordinance it to encourage business and home owners to maintain alarms systems properly.
   An ordinance to lease T-Hangars at the Saluda County Airport.
  An ordinance to repeal the old T-Hangar leasing ordinance.
  No one spoke at the public hearings.
  In the old business portion of the meeting, third readings were givens to an ordinance providing for the naming of roads and the addressing of properties in Saluda County, an ordinance to repeal No. 11-91, naming of roads and the addressing  of properties in Saluda County, and an ordinance to adopt a false fire alarm ordinance for the County of Saluda.
  Second readings were given to an ordinance to lease T-Hangars at the Saluda County Airport, an ordinance to repeal the old T-Hangar leasing ordinance.
  The third reading of the ordinance to transfer real property located at to 101 Civic Street, Saluda, to the YMCA hit a snag.
  Councilman Jack Atkinson raised some concerns. Unfortunately, his microphone was not working and no one listening to the meeting on Facebook live could hear a word he said.
  Council voted to postpone  voting on the ordinance until January. After coming out of executive session, however, Council decided to bring the ordinance back up for a vote and it passed.
  In new business, first reading was given to an ordinance granting a fee in lieu of ad valorem taxes for Project Thunder II, and authorizing the expansion of a multi-county business park.
  Fire Coordinator Luke Downing asked permission to apply for V-Safe Grants that can be used for to purchase equipment at the Fire Departments. The grant if approved would provide $30,000 for each county department and there is no required match.
  Emergency Management Director Josh Morton asked approval of the rental of space on the county’s radio tower.
  Downing returned to seek funding for the replacement of the Mayson Fire Department’s squad truck, which was totaled earlier this year. The county received $50,000 from the insurance company, and a new vehicle can be purchased for $63,285. Downing asked permission to use the insurance payment, plus $13,285 from the Fire Truck Account to purchase the new truck.
  All three of these requests were approved.
  The final item on the agenda was reappointing members of the GLEAMS Board.