NORTH -- The Town of North received a clean audit report at March’s council meeting.
Lori Salley of accounting firm McGregor & Associates told council members that the town is in healthy standing financially.
“You have an unmodified opinion, a clean opinion (on the audit),” Salley said.
Mayor Patty Carson added, “The town is in very good financial stability at this point.
Under new business, council approved a resolution introduced by Carson authorizing the submission of a grant application for a new police vehicle to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. The grant will be about $33,000, Carson said.
Carson also proposed an ordinance amending the business license ordinance adopted by the North Town Council in June 2018, which was originally laid out by the Municipal Association of South Carolina.
“If a business is outside the town limits, the ordinance states that the business license fee should be doubled,” she said. “I thought that was detrimental for a small town.”
She added, “I thought that would prevent contractors from coming to the town to do work.”
Councilman Julius Jones asked if the business license fee would be the same for those in town and outside the town, and Carson said yes.
After discussion, first reading of the ordinance was approved unanimously, and second reading will occur at a future meeting.
In other business:
• Councilwoman Jennifer Williams, who was sworn in last month, mentioned that Sen. Tim Scott’s legislation noting certain small states and rural communities as Opportunity Zones -- benefiting them with federal funding -- would not be applied to the Town of North but that they could petition Gov. Henry McMaster to let him know.
“In the Opportunity Zone, a business would be tax free for five to seven years,” she said.
• Jones gave his report as the county and state liaison and said that he had directly observed a supervisor for Orangeburg County tell an employee to come to the town and look for street signs to replace. He said the town will still need to submit a list of street signs that need replacing to the county sign shop. Carson said that each council member has been given a quadrant of the town to report missing, faded or broken signs.
Jones said he is looking into a 90/10 split grant with Lower Savannah Council of Governments for funding for a generator for the town and is also looking into alternate ways to purchase the generator if the town doesn’t receive the grant.
• Councilman Daniel Jackson gave his report on neighborhood revitalization. He said he mowed the grass around an old barbershop building and is talking with Orangeburg County about moving a concrete pile there. He also said the town hopes to paint the building.
• Councilwoman Deborah Cook gave her report on economic development. She said she is looking into funding through the USDA and other programs for a potential farmers’ market downtown. She said that she and others are trying to organize a clean-up of Highway 321/Savannah Highway.
Cook said the town is looking for volunteers to assist with cleaning up before the Spring Fling on Saturday, March 30, and that more volunteers are needed for the Spring Fling itself. Carson asked Cook and Jones to coordinate the Clean Where You Live/Work Challenge of Orangeburg County Litter Control and Keep Orangeburg County Beautiful from April 13-27.
• Lt. Curtis Mizell of the North Police Department gave the police report and said there were 71 calls for service during the past month.
• Council voted to enter closed, executive session to discuss contractual matters regarding the Silver Springs Water District. Upon return to regular session, Carson announced that decisions were made.