Last week our Citizens Academy kicked off at Town Hall. We have 12 citizens, including me, who have signed up to participate in this six-week course to learn more about public safety and law enforcement operations. Shari Driggers, an attorney and law enforcement officer from the SC Criminal Justice Academy, was the featured speaker, and she provided an informative overview of case law and statutes that guide law enforcement operations.
Chief Zeigler reported at our department heads meeting last week that we have received our funding from the state for body cameras, and he is working on the final procurement of the equipment and necessary storage. In addition to confirming with state law, this new technology will provide a firsthand view of the police officers’ interactions within the community. And the police department received a $2500 handheld LIDAR and $4800 in-car camera system for one of the patrol vehicles as a result of their participation in DUI checks by the SC Law Enforcement Network. Our police force is certainly a point of pride in our community, and I commend the chief and all the officers for their hard work and dedication to keeping our citizens and businesses safe.
We had an informative public hearing last Thursday on the preliminary engineering report for the expansion of our town’s wastewater treatment plant. Although we only had two citizens speak at the meeting, some of important points the engineers and our utilities staff made were the outdated technology we currently use (a lagoon system) will not be sufficient to handle the more stringent requirements that DHEC is requiring for the treatment of effluent; a lack of sludge maintenance over the past 30 years is negatively impacting our current processing capacity; and that if we choose to do nothing, lawsuits and DHEC fines will eventually force us into action. I appreciate Councilman Mike Clonts’ input and questions, drawing from his experience as an engineer and concern for the welfare and benefit of the community as we embark on a major financial project.
I know there are critics that think we’re motivated by driving development to our community. To the contrary, growth in our community is natural progression resulting from an excellent school system and a high quality of life by our proximity to the lake. It is imperative to be compliant with state and federal regulations, maintain our commitments to people who have purchased sewer taps, have more control over the type of development being managed within our service district, and ensure high quality sewer operations for all of our utility customers. Let’s be honest. We have an aging sewer system that requires ongoing maintenance and expensive repairs. It is time for us to invest in upgrading our wastewater treatment system to prevent breaks in service and the inconvenience caused to customers as well as endangering our public health and safety.
This week we look forward to the public meeting on our proposed master plan for a town park. We welcome feedback from our citizens on what the designers and engineers have come up with for our property. As a result of the community survey, town council will be discussing specifics on how to address funding sources as well as specific projects. You are encouraged to make every effort to attend the council meeting and share your ideas.