Mayor Foster Senn, City Manager Matt DeWitt and Utility Director Tim Baker recognized Brandon Riddle Tuesday for his 10 years of service with the City of Newberry’s Water Treatment Plant. Riddle began working with the city on July 20, 2009 and currently holds the position of Water Plant Operator C.

“Water is something we use every day and something we don’t have to think about because of the outstanding folks like Brandon that work at our Water Plant every day,” Senn said.

Baker described Riddle as contentious and a leader at the water plant.

Under updates, Senn told council he had received many positive comments across all city departments regarding the efforts of city staff and departments going above and beyond their duties to provide the citizens of Newberry with excellent customer service. Senn went through these comments with council and thanked each department for their efforts to serve Newberry’s citizens.

Project Updates

Assistant Utility Director David Eldridge provided his monthly update for council on the fiber rollout within the city limits. Eldridge said that Zone 1 that included the Newberry Hospital area was now complete with the exception of areas in the vicinity of Forrest Ridge due to underground construction.

Zone 2, he said was underway and includes the areas from the lower end of Wilson Road into the Mollohon area. The Tanyard Street fiber distribution hub that includes the areas around Evans Circle is also being constructed along with Zone 2.

Senn asked Eldridge about the coil brackets in the shape of wreaths that residents may notice on electrical poles in their area. Eldridge said as fiber cable was installed, additional lengths of approximately 50 feet were installed for future maintenance and repair. This additional cable is stored on the coil brackets. As residents see these brackets going up in their neighborhood, Eldridge said they can expect to be hooked to the network within a few months.

Baker updated council on the Nance Street construction of water and sewer infrastructure.

“We’re currently rebuilding the water, sewer, electric and data lines along Nance Street,” he said.

The project was split into two phases. The first, Baker said included the areas of downtown until the intersection of Pope and Nance Streets and has been completed. The second phase from Pope Street to the cross street at Kendall Road is underway.

Baker said the water line for the second phase had been laid and was currently undergoing pressure testing. The sewer line is also in, he said but awaiting testing. As an estimate, Baker said approximately 90 percent of the electric and date lines were complete, with sewer close to that point. The estimated completion of the project would be this fall, he said. The upgrades are expected to last approximately 50 years.

“I know everyone will be glad to see the project completed and we appreciate the residents’ patience as work is being completed,” Baker said.

Baker also provided council with an upgrade on the progress of the Mollohon substation to which he said one transformer had already been put into service. Because of its location to the football stadium at Kendall Park, Baker said they partnered with the Parks, Recreation and Tourism department to have netting installed behind the field goal post with a sign saying “City of Newberry Utilities Supports Youth Athletics.”

Circuits are currently being installed down Dixie Drive, Baker said and are approximately 70 percent completed. The substation will supply the power to the city’s new recreation complex when competed. An estimated completion date, Baker said was mid to late fall.

Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Scott Sawyer provided two updates for council Tuesday, the first on the Capital Project Sales Tax (CPST) recreation complex. Both the splash pad and playground area should be finished sometime this fall, he said.

Sawyer said the public would have an opportunity for a preview of the complex on Sunday, September 8 as the Newberry Fire Department would be hosting their annual Kids Fun Day event on the property. While the playground will not be available at this time, Sawyer said the public will be able to access the parking lots and multi-purpose fields.

“Whatever we can open, we will as projects are completed,” Sawyer said.

This would most likely include the multi-purpose fields, playground and nature trail, he said.

As another update to council, Sawyer said their department had received a $20,000 Park and Recreation Development (PARD) fund grant to assist in building a bathroom at both Wise Street Park and Marion Davis Park. Sawyer said currently Marion Davis did not have a bathroom that was ADA accessible.

By the end of next week, Sawyer said they were hoping to have three quotes on the projects. The bathroom at Wise Street Park will be installed first, with plans after the first of the year for the bathroom at Marion Davis Park.

“We anticipate within the next month to have work started at Wise Street Park,” he said.

Under public comment, Margaret Riebe and Bruce Palmer addressed council regarding the speed enforcement on Nance Street, just beyond the Dixie Drive interchange. Palmer said he was concerned for his safety when backing out of his home into the street and felt the police department needed more coverage in the area.

Police Chief Roy McClurkin said he had had officers running stationary radar of cars traveling in and out of town as well as enlisted the use of a speed limit detector sign from the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office in the area while the Newberry Police Department’s detection sign was repaired.

“My officers will be there making sure you all are safe, that is my number one concern,” McClurkin said.

Senn asked if there could be an update presented to council in October with reports of how traffic had been in the area, etc.

Old Business

Under old business, council approved second and final reading of an ordinance to amend the city’s flood damage prevention ordinance. Recently, city staff received communication from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) – Flood Mitigation Program requesting an update to the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance to safeguard the public interest by protecting the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the city.  The Legislature of the State of South Carolina has in SC Code of Laws, Title 5, and amendments thereto, delegated the responsibility to local governmental units to adopt regulations designed to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare of its citizenry. The adoption of these changes to the model code would align the City with the state regulation. Motion was made by Councilman Thomas Louis Boyd and seconded by Councilman Edwin Wicker.

New Business

  • Motion was made by Councilman Zebbie Goudelock and seconded by Councilman Lemont Glasgow to approve first reading of an ordinance to establish policies, standards and procedures for the protection and management of public trees within the city limits. Senn said council and city staff were working to pursue a Tree City USA designation, a nationwide movement that provided the framework necessary for communities to manage and expand their public trees. As part of the process, it is necessary for council to adopt a tree care ordinance.
  • First reading was approved of an ordinance to amend the Newberry Opera House bylaws. The Newberry Opera House Foundation requested that council approved changes in the bylaws to better align the practices of the board to match the policy. Changes to the bylaws include an amendment that specifies that no member will receive compensation, an addition of a finance and program committee and a change in staff from a bookkeeper to business manager. Motion was made by Boyd and seconded by Councilman David DuBose.
  • Due to a recent change of leadership at the Prosperity Police Department, a mutual aid agreement was re-executed between them and the Newberry Police Department. With the agreement in place, both departments are within the legal confines of the law to offer assistance in situations that are deemed necessary. Motion was made by Goudelock and seconded by Wicker.

 City Council recognized Brandon Riddle for his 10 years of service with the City of Newberry’s Water Treatment Plant. He is pictured with Utility Director Tim Baker.