January 12, 2022

 

First reading was passed Tuesday to change the date of regular elections for the offices of mayor and members of council. If second reading is passed, elections will be moved to South Carolina Municipal Election Day, on the first Tuesday in November of each odd-numbered calendar year beginning November 7, 2023.

Per the current code of ordinances for the City of Newberry, regular elections for the offices of mayor and members of council are currently held in even-numbered years on the second Tuesday in September. A run-off election, if necessary is currently held two weeks following the election.

Mayor Foster Senn read a letter to council from Amy Perkins, director of Newberry County registration and election board encouraging City Council to move the election to the day, now generally known as “Municipal Election Day.”

In her letter, Perkins said the South Carolina State Election Commission continued to encourage the Newberry County Voter Registration and Elections Board to work with their local municipalities to change their election to fall on Municipal Election Day for the following reasons:

  • Statewide focus on elections
    • More media coverage
    • Voter education will improve
    • Voters will know when election day is
    • Meaningful voter participation will improve
    • Election Night Reporting which gives media, candidates, and the public faster centralized results.

Perkins said it would also streamline election administration for reasons such as saving time and resources by eliminating duplication of efforts and simplifying training of poll managers.

Senn said approximately 60% of municipalities in the state currently hold their general elections on that day as well.

Motion was made by Councilman David DuBose and seconded by Councilman Edwin Wicker to pass first reading. If second reading is passed, the code of ordinances will be amended to state that regular elections for the offices of mayor and members of council shall be held on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November of each odd-numbered calendar year beginning November 7, 2023. A run-off election, if necessary, shall be held two weeks following the election.

The ordinance would be effective such that the election presently scheduled for September 2022 for Districts 1, 3, 5 and the office of mayor would be held in November 2023 and the elections presently scheduled for Districts 2, 4, and 6 to be held in September 2024 would be held in November 2025.

Senn also said that council is studying the current starting date for elected officials and election filing fees and that these items may be addressed in a future ordinance.

Also under new business, first reading was passed to provide for amendments to the revenue and expenditure appropriations in the fiscal year 2021-22.

City Manager Matt DeWitt told council that staff needed to amend the current budget due to various unknown factors when submitting the original budget requests as well as the unknown revenues stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic. The factors are as follows: Purchase of police cars, addition of one position in the police department, completion of the Marion Davis bathroom, purchase of the Newberry Arts Center building, renovations at Wise Street Park, gear and training for new fire department hires, accounting for American Rescue Plan funds, repairs for the Firehouse Conference Center, the purchase of a front gate and mower, as well as polish for the Newberry Recreation Complex, renovations at Wells Japanese Garden, adjustments for the Main Street water line project, and adjustments in the Utility Capital Fund.

Councilman Carlton Kinard made a motion, seconded by Councilman Lemont Glasgow to approve first reading.

Further Discussion

Senn announced that DeWitt had been nominated and elected to serve a full, three year term on the South Carolina Municipal Insurance Trust Board. The SCMIT was formed in 1983 as an unincorporated entity sponsored by the Municipal Association of South Carolina for the purpose of providing worker’s compensation coverage to its members.

The City of Newberry joined the SCMIT pool in 1984, Senn said as one of the charter cities to participate. DeWitt said he was honored to be able to represent Newberry and the other participating municipalities from around the state.

Following a return into open session, Kinard made a motion to reappoint Steve Foulis and Frank Kelly to the Accommodations Tax Committee for two-year terms. Councilwoman Jackie Holmes seconded the motion.

Councilman David Force made a motion, seconded by Wicker to reappoint Cile Hursey, Robert Montgomery and Lisa Senn to the Architectural Review Board for two-year terms.

Charles Sims was appointed to the Planning Commission for a three-year term, following a motion by Holmes and second by Kinard.

Senn made a motion to appoint Scott Malyerck to the Planning Commission, also for a three-year term. The motion was seconded by Holmes.

For the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals, DuBose made a motion, seconded by Holmes to reappoint Mike Graham and Ed Satcher and to appoint Scott Bellows for two-year terms.

In the discussion for premium pay for city employees, Senn again thanked city staff for their hard work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Glasgow made a motion, seconded by Kinard to approve Tier 3 premium pay of $500 for volunteer firefighters.

City Council’s next monthly meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 8.