May 12, 2023
Newberry City Council recognized the Newberry-PMPA Community Scholarship recipients Tuesday evening.
Recipients of this year’s scholarship were Bethany Sawyer, Alyssa Ward, Shaquil Good and Abigail Yi. They plan to attend the following schools respectively: Piedmont Technical College, Winthrop University, Newberry College and the University of South Carolina.
The scholarship recognizes students who attended, at minimum three years of high school or home-schooling within the city limits and who themselves, or whose legal guardian has a current residential electric utilities account within the city.
Those receiving the scholarship must demonstrate outstanding academic potential, as evidenced by a GPA of 2.5 or above in college preparatory coursework, and demonstrate personal leadership as reflected in leadership roles related to academics, co-curricular organizations, clubs, etc.
“They’ve done outstanding academic work and provided great leadership and we’re just really proud of them,” Mayor Foster Senn said.
Senn presented good news from Newberry sharing that the city recently recognized their Team of the Year as part of Employee Appreciation Week. The Water Distribution team included Brandon Crowley, Dillon Amick, Daniel Shaw, Austin Harris and Will Griffin.
Recent events such as Pork in the Park, Newberry Shop and Dine, Lemonade Day, Drinking Water Week and a recognition of Newberry College seniors were also highlighted.
Senn welcomed new officers with the Newberry Police Department and highlighted the city’s employee spotlight for the month of May, Natasha Hill with the Parks, Recreation and Tourism department.
The fast-food chain Cookout, he said, should be starting construction within the next few weeks and will be located in the Tractor Supply parking lot.
Council also issued a proclamation Tuesday designating the month of May as Older Americans Month to be presented to the Newberry County Council on Aging.
Also under announcements, the City of Newberry has been recognized by the Municipal Association of South Carolina (MASC) as an honoree on the Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government’s Honor Roll. Established in 2018, the honor roll recognizes annually the city councils that can count all members of their sitting council as graduates of MASC’s MEO Institute.
Fire Chief Gene Shealy provided an update to council on the Newberry Fire Department by sharing that they were in their 150th year and planned to celebrate along with the Newberry Museum, with plans being released later on that partnership.
“We always want to celebrate our history and those that came before us,” he said.
Shealy spoke on the department’s mission of community risk reduction and their efforts in educating the community any way they can, including in visits to local daycare facilities and schools such as during Fire Prevention Month.
As another announcement, Senn shared that the city was recently awarded a $10 million grant from the Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) for major interceptor sewer replacement.
City Manager Matt DeWitt said the grant would be used to replace three major system trunk lines – one running from College Street to the city’s wastewater treatment plant, the Kraft sewer trunk line and the Bush River sewer trunk line. Conservatively, he said these new polyethylene lines would last the city at least the next 50 years.
Under old business, council passed second and final reading was passed of an ordinance authorizing and directing the City of Newberry to enter into an intergovernmental agreement relating to South Carolina Revenue Services. For many years, the Municipal Association of South Carolina (MASC) has offered collection programs for certain business license taxes. Historically, these programs have been known as the Insurance Tax Collection Program, the Brokers Tax Collection Program and the Telecommunication Tax Collection Program. In the last year, MASC has collectively rebranded these programs and renamed them as the Insurance Tax Program (ITP), the Brokers Tax Program (BTP) and the Telecommunication Tax Program (TTP). Because of the name change of the programs and changes to the state’s business licensing law from Act 176 in 2020, it required the city to pass new authorizing ordinances and agreements.
This ordinance would make sure the languages and programs matched in the intergovernmental agreement. Motion was made by Councilperson Lemont Glasgow and seconded by Councilperson David DuBose.
Under new business, two requests to allow alcohol in designated areas for city events were approved by council. The first, Newberry Shop and Dine on Friday, June 2 from 4-8 p.m. This would allow event patrons to travel the event area with an alcoholic beverage of beer or wine only, by foot, if they are carrying the allowed beverage in a plastic cup. Event patrons will be carded and over 21 wristbands provided by an event vendor.
The event area includes Main Street from Nance to Graham Street, McKibben Street from Boyce to Friend Street, Caldwell Street from Boyce to Friend Street, College Street from Boyce to Friend Street, Coates Street from Main to Friend Street, Lindsay Street from Main Street to the Newberry County Courthouse parking entrance, Wilson Street from Main to Friend Street and Boyce Street from Nance to Caldwell Street.
Motion to approve the request was made by Councilperson Carlton Kinard and seconded by Councilperson David Force.
The second approved request was for the Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 17 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. This would allow event patrons to travel the event area with an alcoholic beverage of beer or wine only, by foot, if they are carrying the allowed beverage in a plastic cup. Event patrons will be carded and over 21 wristbands provided by an event vendor.
The event area includes Main Street from Nance to Lindsay Street, Boyce Street from Nance to College Street, McKibben Street from Harrington to Friend Street, Caldwell Street from Boyce to Friend Street, College Street from Boyce to Friend Street, Coates Street from Main to Friend Street and the Coke mural parking lot (corner of McKibben and Harrington Streets).
Motion to approve the request was made by Councilperson Jackie Holmes and seconded by Kinard.
Also under new business, first reading passed of an ordinance to provide for amendments to the revenue and expenditure appropriations in the fiscal year 2022-2023 budget. This adjustment of $152,560 is needed to account for the completion of renovating downtown intersections.
DeWitt said the stamped intersections downtown had received a lot of wear and were in need of being updated.
DeWitt said they were looking at a more long-term solution and that council had decided to go with a thermoplastic application for the intersections of Main and Caldwell, Main and College, Main and Lindsay and Main and Calhoun Streets. While the product used in the past in these intersections was meant to last 5-10 years, DeWitt said the city was hoping this new application process would last up to 20 years.
To complement the existing brickwork downtown, city staff suggested going with a similar color and possibly similar brick design in the application found at the intersection of Main and McKibben Streets which contains original brick pavers laid when the streets of downtown Newberry were paved.
Within the next few months, DeWitt said the city anticipated SCDOT to repave Main Street and once paved, the intersections could receive the thermoplastic treatment in a days’ time, causing minimal disruptions to businesses and traffic.
DeWitt said the city had received a $75,000 appropriate from the state which would cover one intersection, as well as allow the city to purchase an LED display board for downtown. The location has not been determined, he said, but possibly in front of the home of the new Newberry Arts Center and would allow the city to partner with downtown merchants to put messaging out for the community.
The remaining funding for the intersections would be funded through the city’s general fund budget in the amount of $102,560.
Motion to approve first reading was made by Glasgow and seconded by Councilperson Wicker.
A motion was then made by Kinard and seconded by Holmes to allow city staff to make decisions to close off a part of the city streets, if needed, for the South Carolina Bike Walk Trails Summit being held in Newberry on June 8-9.
Senn said the conference would have 50-100 attendees coming to look at how to have better bike and walking trails throughout South Carolina. He said they were interested in possibly having an outdoor classroom downtown and demonstrations on reverse angled parking. Because of this, council wanted to allow for city staff to close a street for a minimal amount of time if necessary while the conference was downtown.
Community member, Chris Kemper gave public comment Tuesday and called upon council for several actions including a phased approach for Main Street repaving, activity in line with the 2020-2030 city comprehensive plan, and operations that would allow for more transparency.
City Council’s next regular meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 13 at 7 p.m.
PMPA Scholarship recipients from left to right: Shaquil Good, Alyssa Ward, Bethany Sawyer and Abigail Yi.
Council with their recognition as honorees on the Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government's Honor Roll.