Staff from the Newberry Museum presented the City of Newberry with a copy of the 1832 Village of Newberry Charter to thank them for their support of the museum. The charter was presented to council on Tuesday by John Favors, Ernest Shealy and Sheridan Murray.

“The grand opening for the museum is set for Sunday, December 15 at 2 p.m. It’s been quite a journey and one that’s been a community team effort,” Favors said. “It wouldn’t have been possible without the dedicated efforts of citizens, Newberry County Council, our city and town councils in the district and financial support that has been key in helping us reach this goal.”

Mayor Foster Senn thanked the museum for the surprise gift and said he looked forward to the museum’s opening and people enjoying it for years to come.

“This is your museum,” Favors said “And we hope it’s one you’ll be proud of. One that we hope your grandchildren will be proud of.”

Several city staff were recognized Tuesday for their years of service with the city. Waldo Tapia was recognized for his five years of service with the city’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism (PRT) and Public Works departments. Tapia began working with the city on September 15, 2014 and holds the position of PRT Services Supervisor.

Senn said residents may see Tapia working all over town from early mornings to evenings and he appreciated his work for the city.

“It’s not really a question of where is Waldo, he’s everywhere you want to go,” said Scott Sawyer, parks, recreation and tourism director.

Sawyer said Tapia had done an outstanding job and worked all over the city.

“If you see him around town, tell him you appreciate what he does because we certainly do,” he said.

From the utility department, Tim Cogdell was recognized for his 15 years of service with the city’s Waste Water Plant. Cogdell began his employment with the utility department on September 13, 2004 and holds the position of Waste Treatment Plant Superintendent.

“He’s always willing to help out and always does it with a smile,” said Utility Director Tim Baker.

Baker said that Cogdell works with many industries to make sure the wastewater they discharge is held to the same as domestic standards.

When new industries consider the city, Senn said it was crucial to them that the city’s water and waste water departments can accommodate them, and he was proud of the utility department for the work they did with the city’s industrial base.

As a special recognition, council recognized Assistant Utility Director David Eldridge for recently being named as a board member to the Municipal Technology Association. The Municipal Technology Association of South Carolina promotes the effective use of information technology by municipalities and offers training on how to improve services and achieve greater efficiencies using the latest technological innovations for municipal government.

“You’ve done an outstanding job here, so it doesn’t surprise me that you’ve gotten involved on the state level,” Senn said. “We congratulate and applaud you.”

City Updates

Assistant Utility Director David Eldridge provided a monthly update for council on the fiber rollout within the city limits. Eldridge estimated that fiber was approximately 55 percent completed across the city, with Zone 2 about 65-70 percent completed.

The Tanyard Street fiber distribution hub, he said had been turned on for service, with the Mollohon fiber distribution hub completed and the Glenn Street fiber distribution hub having been installed last week.

Eldridge said the Forest Ridge area would soon be ready for service with the fiber already pulled to the area.

“Next week it should be spliced in and be service ready,” he said.

At this time, he estimated they were a little over two weeks behind schedule with their contractor bringing in an additional crew to help get back to their original timeline.

“We look forward to more progress over the next month,” Senn said to Eldridge.

As an update to council, Senn read and signed a proclamation naming October 6-12, 2019 as Public Power Week in the City of Newberry and thanked the utility department for the work their crews did on a daily basis.

Under another update, Police Chief Roy McClurkin provided an update to council on the efforts by the police department to combat speeding in the area of Nance Street as several citizens had expressed their concern several months prior.

McClurkin said they began enforcement efforts in July by looking at traffic patterns as well as speeds in the area, identifying that while there is some speeding, the majority happens earlier in the morning as people are coming into the city limits.

“We have been placing officers in the area doing stationary radar and plan to continue to do that moving forward,” McClurkin said.

As another effort, McClurkin said they contacted the highway department about lowering the speed limit, but that the request was denied.

McClurkin said that the Sheriff’s department had also been gracious enough to help them with enforcement in portions of the street that were not in the city limits.

Senn thanked the police department in their recent efforts during the hostage situation in the city limits as well as thanked all of the departments involved in the city’s recent Oktoberfest event.

New Business

Under new business, City Council approved a request by the Newberry Downtown Development Association to allow alcohol in designated event areas of the Holiday Open House Sip and Shop Wine Stroll in downtown Newberry. The event area includes Memorial Square and the closing of McKibben Street between Boyce and Main Street and Boyce Street between McKibben and Nance Streets to traffic. The wine stroll is in conjunction with the Holiday Open House on November 16. While the additional area would allow participants to carry glasses of wine from one host business to the next within the downtown area from 5-8 p.m., NDDA President Aimee Talbot told council that participants would be encouraged to finish their wine in the business they’re visiting before walking to the next.

Motion was made by Councilman Lemont Glasgow and seconded by Councilman Edwin Wicker.

Also under new business council approved consideration of a request for outside water service for property located at 2136 McCravy Street. The property owner has agreed to execute an annexation covenant indicating a willingness to annex if Council determines it is in the best interest of the City to annex the property. This property is adjacent to an existing City water line and will require no extension beyond a standard tap. Motion was made by Councilman Zebbie Goudelock and seconded by Councilman Thomas Louis Boyd.

With a motion by Boyd and seconded by Councilman David DuBose, council approved first reading of an ordinance to amend the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget to provide for the levy of property taxes with the values of the City of Newberry tax reassessment and to reduce the established millage of 83.8 Mils to 80.7 Mils.

Every five years, Senn said Newberry County performs a countywide reassessment, with the Newberry County auditor determining the reassessment values for property taxes within the city. During this year’s reassessment, the county auditor determined the new value of a mil as $27,239, compared to the previous five years at a rate of $26,125. City Council has decided to rollback the city millage from 83.8 to 80.7. The change represents a 3.1 mil rollback in the city’s overall millage rate.

A public hearing and second reading on this ordinance will be held next Tuesday, October 15 at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall, Senn said.

First reading was also passed Tuesday on an ordinance to amend the zoning map and future land map for parcels 340-1-57.  Motion was made by Boyd and seconded by Glasgow.

The proposed assignment of zoning classification and future land use and Zoning Map amendment is the result of the owner’s petition to reclassify parcels from PD – Planned Development to RD- Residential Development.

The change is made possible now that the zoning code has been updated to include the designation of RD- Residential Development. The parcels intended purpose would allow for single family dwelling use. This designation would apply to the 26.823-acre property located on Smith Road known as Newberry Landing.

The Newberry Planning Commission recommended a zoning classification of RD – Residential Development for the zoning and future land use maps. A public hearing will be held at next month’s council meeting prior to second reading.

Next month’s City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 12 at 7 p.m. at The Old Newberry hotel downtown. Senn said light refreshments would be served immediately following the meeting.

 City Council recognized Waldo Tapia for his five years of service with the City’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism and Public Works Departments. He is pictured with PRT Director Scott Sawyer. 

 Tim Cogdell was recognized by City Council for his 15 years of service with the city’s utility department. Cogdell is pictured with Utility Director Tim Baker.

 Staff from The Newberry Museum presented City Council with a copy of the 1832 Village of Newberry Charter. Pictured from left to right are John Favors, Ernest Shealy, Mayor Foster Senn, Mayor Pro Tem Zebbie Goudelock, Sheridan Murray, and City Manager Matt DeWitt.