Orangeburg County Council welcomed a new member and elected officers on Monday. But a final decision on vice chairman was delayed while council awaited one of its members.
Newly elected councilwoman Deloris Frazier was sworn in, along with veteran council member Johnnie Wright Sr.
Frazier thanked those who voted her into office, and those who were in attendance to witness her officially take office.
Wright was unanimously re-elected chairman of council.
Wright thanked his colleagues and his constituents for re-electing him.
“To the county of Orangeburg, I would just like to say to all of you that I am very honored and very humbled, and very grateful to serve in this capacity,” Wright said.
“I will always try to do my very best, and I’m committed to Orangeburg County, I’m committed to my colleagues, I’m committed to the growth and the betterment for a better quality of life for Orangeburg County,” Wright stated.
The election for vice chairman of council did not go as smoothly.
Councilman Willie B. Owens, who was also set to be sworn in, had not arrived when council began to vote for vice chairman.
Council proceeded to vote for the position.
Councilman Harry Wimberly received votes from Councilmen Heyward Livingston, Johnnie Ravenell and himself.
Vice Chair Janie Cooper-Smith received votes for her re-election from Councilwoman Deloris Frazier and herself.
It appeared that Wimberly won the position of vice chairman 3-2, but council learned Owens was en route to the meeting.
Cooper-Smith asked that the vote be carried forward to the end of the meeting to allow Owens the opportunity to participate in the vote.
Wright granted Cooper-Smith’s request. Once the regular portion of the meeting concluded, Cooper-Smith conceded to Wimberly.
Owens arrived after Cooper-Smith’s concession.
After being sworn in, Owens made a motion requesting that he be allowed to vote. Wright denied his motion.
Owens then made a motion to override the chairman’s denial, but it did not pass.
The original vote stood 3-2, making Wimberly the new vice chairman of the council.
Also during the meeting:
• Council approved a resolution honoring former Councilwoman Ray W. Sabalis for her time on council and her contributions as a council member.
Sabalis served on council from July 2017 to December 2018.
• Council approved third reading of an ordinance amending the Animal Control Ordinance.
The amendment expands the term "domesticated" beyond cats and dogs to farm animals such as cattle, pigs, horses, sheep and goats. It also allows Orangeburg County Animal Control to conduct animal rescues in special cases.
• Council approved third reading of an ordinance authorizing a fire sprinkler tax credit for the installation of fire sprinkler systems in commercial residential living structures where installation is not required by law.
• Council approved first reading of an ordinance amending the Orangeburg County Flood Damage Prevention ordinance. The amendment adds a section regarding zones deemed reasonably safe from flooding.
County Administrator Harold Young stated that the amendments deem areas that aren’t in flood-prone areas as reasonably safe. The amendment allows those areas to be applicable for certain permits, according to Young.
• Council approved third reading of a zoning change for property located at 7018 Old Number Six Hwy. in Elloree from forest agricultural to commercial general.
• Council approved the appointment of Ken Davis to the Orangeburg County Fire Commission. Davis was recommended by Owens and represents District 7.
• Council approved a motion by the Public Works Committee to carry forward discussions regarding discontinuing maintenance of ditches on Bethel Forest Road and Garland Road.
Council approved a motion to allow the committee to deliver letters to loggers who damage county roads. The letters will provide an assessment of the damage done to county roads and an estimate of costs to repair the damage.
Council also approved a motion to allow the committee to conduct one-time fixes on county roads.