City of Bamberg continues Fourth of July Celebration

After weeks of uncertainty, Bamberg City Council members gave their unanimous approval to continue the Annual Fourth of July Celebration at the Ness Sports Complex. Fourth of July Committee Chair Janeth Walker noted at Monday night’s April 12, meeting that after discussions with officials from Phoenix Specialty Manufacturing and Tobul Accumulators, the two co-sponsors of the annual event, it was learned that the two companies would be able to supply the fireworks at no cost to the city.

Walker stated that the cost of entertainment, stage lighting and a sound system would cost the city approximately $1,200. “We recommend that the Fourth of July festival proceed at the cost of $1,200,” she said.

The only issue that needs to be resolved was whether to have the event on Saturday July 3, with the Fourth of July falling on a Sunday this year. Walker noted that the event would mostly likely be held on Saturday, July 3.

The issue of whether the City of Bamberg would have the annual event, now in its 14th year, came up at council’s March 8th meeting. Mayor Alton McCollum noted the event “brings in people to the City of Bamberg, but he stated funds are really tight this year.” The mayor said the celebration cost the city about $10,000 to put on.

“I know it is an opportunity for people to come out and enjoy themselves, but it comes down to a matter of not what we enjoy, but what we can afford, he said.

Also during Monday night’s meeting:

Bamberg City Council members voted 4-3 with Mayor Alton McCollum casting the deciding vote to approve a recommendation from the Parks, Recreation and Buildings Committee that Mr. Rex Williams, who is affiliated with a group called For Our Sons And Daughters (FOSAD) not be allowed to address council at any time in the future.

Council members Bo Griffin, Buzzy Bunch, and Nancy Foster along with Mayor McCollum voted in favor of the recommendation from the committee to bar Williams from appearing before council. Council members Janeth Walker, Teresa Hannibal and Ella Bamberg voted against barring Williams from appearing before city council.

A letter read by Mayor McCollum from the Parks, Recreation and Buildings Committee said in-part, “It is our recommendation that Mr. Williams or any group he represents not speak or recommend on behalf of the City of Bamberg on these issues. It is the recommendation that Mr. Williams not represent the city at any function or in any capacity. The City of Bamberg only engages refutable individuals to run the sports program.”

The letter went on to say that “this committee further finds that Mr. Williams isn’t a resident of the City of Bamberg, but a resident of Orangeburg County. Further research by the Bamberg Police Department has uncovered that Mr. Williams has a criminal record.

The letter noted that Mr. Williams has not been at the basketball courts for some time and if he had he would have observed the improvement that have been made some time ago including; water fountains, new fencing, lighting, goal post and bathrooms are made available during organized play.

The Letter further said that Mr. Williams “still continues to come before council with accusations and arguing about what needs to be done. It doesn’t matter what has been done at the basketball courts there is always some other request,” the letter noted.

Rex Williams nor any other representative of For Our Sons And Daughters (FOSAD) was in attendance at the meeting Monday night.