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Denmark okays 2012 budget Print E-mail

With a majority vote June 20, Denmark City Council approved the 2012 general fund budget of $1,195,500 and $1,081,000 water and sewer fund. “Projected revenues,” city accountant Russell Munoz said, “is expected to be less than the budget so we will have to make adjustments at the right time of the year. However, the sewer and water revenues,” he said, “are pretty much as we expected.”

Councilman Rufus Jamison asked if it would be possible for a more detailed account of the budget. “I would like to see an expanded, more detailed financial report and would like to see where the money is going.”

“You can review the expenditures at city hall,” Mayor Gerald Wright explained. “There is a complete, detailed financial report at city hall and you are welcome to come in and review it at any time.”

The Denmark Police Department “created 109 new cases from May 16 through June 20, Chief of Police Leroy Grimes reported. “We had one officer, Kenneth Simmons, resign his position as a police officer on June 14. We are currently searching for officer Simmons' replacement,” he said. “We caught the individuals who have recently been vandalizing air conditioner and heating units in the city. We estimated that at least 15 units were vandalized by these individuals.”

Fire Chief Breland reported that the Denmark Fire Department responded to 20 calls during May to June, including six structure fires, five false alarms, five auto fires, four grass fires and nine firefighters attend the monthly fire department meeting.

Mayor Wright commended the Denmark Fire Department “and all of your volunteers. I’ve been very impressed with the quick response these people give to the city and our residents. I and the city thank you.”

Councilman Jamison asked the mayor and the fire chief when “we will begin again to go back to paying our volunteer fire fighters?”

Councilwoman Hope Long Weldon responded, “I contend that these volunteers are volunteers and volunteers are unpaid. We would not be in a position to pay these individuals.”

Mayor Wright said that it may be ‘wise for a committee to meet and come up with a recommendation.” A few years ago, in the past, volunteer fire fighters were paid a stipend for responding for fire department calls but had been stopped when the city began to fall into the economic budget crunch.

Fred Martin, engineer for ERC (Engineering Resources Corporation) of Orangeburg reported on the renovation and replacement of the Rice Street lift station, one of several station pumps that lift and pass on sewage to the sanitation site.

ERC is a civil engineering company that has been working with the city of Denmark for the past 25 years. Mr. Martin, as an engineer, has been closely working with the city for as many years. “A few months ago the city requested that we design an upgrade that would provide more reliable performance for the Rice Street station,” he told Council.

“We are highly aware that the operation and maintenance of the Rice Street pumping station has been more and more difficult for city personnel to maintain,” he told the council. “The Rice Street station serves not only the surrounding area but also serves Denmark Technical College’s gymnasium. After conversations with city personnel,” he explained, “we prepared specifications and drawings to obtain a construction permit from SCDHEC that was then issued June 7.”

Denmark advertised for construction bids and received five bids from various companies. The city then issued a Notice of Award to G. H. Smith Construction Company for its low bid of $61,000.

Martin suggested two alternatives to the replacement pump for the Rice Street project – a suction lift or a submersible (shredder type) pump. “Either alternative would be effective and would improve the reliability of the pumping station for many years. The shredder type pump,” he explained, “not only pumps the raw sewage on to the sanitation site but shreds any matter that comes through the system.”

Council then voted and approved the installation of the submersible (shredder) pump for installation at the Rice Street pumping station.

A pre-construction conference was scheduled for Wednesday, June 22 at City Hall. Completion is expected within 2 or three months.

In other business

• Mayor Wright said that the city has initiated a 4 week summer recreation program. The program began at the gymnasium at Denmark Technical College with tentative plans to expand to Voorhees College’s swimming pool and perhaps to the Denmark- Olar High School gymnasium.

• Discussion on the new Denmark branch library. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided grants for a new 2,900-square-foot freestanding public library for the City of Denmark. Denmark received a $377,390 grant to construct the library on U.S. 321. Officials broke ground for the new facility in March of 2010.

Denmark City Council members were informed in 2010 that they will retain ownership of the new Denmark Branch Library of the Aiken Bamberg Barnwell Edgefield (ABBE) System, a move they did not plan for.

Denmark City Administrator Heyward Robinson reported to council at their April 19, 2010 meeting that the city was attempting a land transfer of the city owned property located next to the fire department to the (ABBE), at the site of a groundbreaking ceremony on March 15, 2010 it was told that the (ABBE) “doesn’t want to own any real property”.

“They want to let the land stay in the name of the City of Denmark,” Robinson said, adding the (ABBE) wants to continue receiving funding from the county and maintenance of the new building, including utilities from the City of Denmark.

Under the present arrangement the City of Denmark pays the light bill and maintenance on the Denmark Library that is housed in the Walter E. Brooker Center.

The City of Denmark will have the responsibility of maintaining the library housed in the new facility. The regional library system will have the operation of the library.

The City of Denmark will own the land and the new library, “not the way it was anticipated to be,” Wright said in April, 2010.

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