John Andoh, CEO of the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority presented an update to City Council Tuesday about the Comet bus service coming to Newberry this summer. Andoh presented an updated timeline, route and other information regarding the new transit system.

The route coming to Newberry, Andoh said would be named 93X, the I-26 Express. The two-way service will originate in Columbia and make stops along the way in Ballentine, Chapin, Little Mountain and Newberry before going back to Columbia.

“The goal was to have one round trip was for people in Richland County that wanted access to jobs in Newberry County and for Newberry County residents that wanted access to jobs or medical services in Columbia could do so through this route,” Andoh said.

The transit system will operate Monday-Friday with a proposed fair of four dollars for a one-way pass, six dollars for a day pass and $28 for a seven-day pass. The proposed fair for a 31-day pass is proposed at $80, he said.

Currently, The COMET is still finalizing stop locations for Newberry, with one set up at the Tractor Supply and a discussion of the possibility of a stop at Piedmont Technical College.

“This is a big deal for us,” said Mayor Foster Senn. “It’s something we have needed and we’re glad they’re going to be running from Newberry starting this summer.”

City employees were recognized for their achievements by City Council on Tuesday, the first being Mary Sims on her recent retirement from the Newberry Justice and Law Department. Sims began working with the city’s Public Works department on August 20, 2001 and retired on December 28, 2018 as the Clerk of Court.

Judge Frank Partridge described Sims as his right-hand employee, saying she had done a great job for him for the past 11 years in the justice and law department.

“I want to thank her for being a capable and efficient employee as well as friend for 11 years,” Partridge said.

Also recognized by council was City Clerk Jennie O’Shields for her recent completion of the South Carolina Municipal Clerks and Treasurers Institute administered by the Municipal Association of South Carolina and the College of Charleston.

The three-year program consists of 120 required hours for certification. O’Shields intends to work towards completing a Capstone Project to receive an additional Certified Municipal Clerk designation.

New Business

Under new business, council approved first reading of an ordinance to provide amendments to the revenue and expenditure appropriations in the fiscal year 2018-2019 budget.

Mayor Foster Senn said that due to several changes over the past few months, city staff recommended that council amend the budget as it did not contain an unforeseen expenditure for Freon treatments and a new unit for the second floor of the Firehouse Conference Center. City Manager Matt DeWitt said there were leaks in the current unit that they were unaware of until after the passing of the budget and after trying to salvage the unit, it was best to replace it altogether.

The budget also did not contain an expenditure to cover a rate study for the S&P Bond rating review. Senn said city staff was told a more comprehensive review needed to be completed than the one that was originally budgeted. Lastly, the budget did not contain an appropriation for bonuses awarded to employees in November 2018. The auditor has also suggested, Senn said that the current budget must contain an appropriation in the Utility Fund for Facilities and Grounds and Garage departments.

First reading of the ordinance was passed with a motion by Councilman Lemont Glasgow and seconded by Councilman Thomas Louis Boyd.

Also under new business, council approved a memorandum of understanding joint project to purchase and implement the CodeRED service. DeWitt explained to council that CodeRED, the community notification system that the city had been using for a little over a year, was now the sole communication method for the city to include the police department.

In the past, DeWitt said the police department relied on the Nixle system, however they recently did away with their text messaging platform for the free service. The city partnered with several organizations in the county to implement one joint system for Newberry County that allows one centralized place for residents to register for updates.

“I think it’s a great thing to have a uniform system,” DeWitt said. “It keeps us on the same page and operating the same way.”

Motion was made by Councilman Edwin Wicker and seconded by Boyd.

Returning from executive session, the following actions were taken in open session:

  • Perry Threat and James Hunter were reappointed to the Housing Authority Board for a five-year term, expiring in February 2024. Motion was made by Boyd and seconded by Wicker.
  • Beth Hipp and Luvester Davis were reappointed to the Architectural Review Board for a two-year term, expiring February 2021. Motion was made by Boyd and seconded by Wicker.
  • Kevin Whitesides was reappointed to the Planning Commission for a three-year term, expiring January 2022. Motion was made by Councilman David Force and seconded by Councilman David DuBose.
  • Christie Gardner and Wanda Crotwell were reappointed to the Miss Newberry Scholarship Board for a three-year term, expiring January 2022. Motion was made by Boyd and seconded by Wicker.

 Mary Sims was recognized by City Council Tuesday on her recent retirement from the Newberry Justice and Law Department. Sims began working with the city’s Public Works department on August 20, 2001 and retired on December 28, 2018 as the Clerk of Court. Pictured from left to right: Mayor Foster Senn, Mary Sims, Judge Frank Partridge and City Manager Matt DeWitt.