Linda Hayes-Hudson resigns seat

Bamberg Mayor Alton McCollum reported at Bamberg City Council’s December 12 meeting that District 1 Councilmember Linda Hayes-Hudson had announced her resignation from city council “today.” McCollum noted that Hayes- Hudson, who defeated Betty Mack 43-34 in an April 5, election for the District 1 Seat “has moved her residency, which makes her ineligible,” McCollum said.

Bamberg Clerk/Treasurer Bruce Watson in explaining the process required to fill the vacant seat left by Hayes- Hudson said that because the seat came open with more than 180 days before the next election, a special election must be held the 13th Tuesday after the day of the resignation (approximately March 6). Watson noted that he is in the process of coordinating the details when people can start coming in to file for election and an ad will be placed in next week’s paper. Watson also noted that he had to coordinate the details with County Voter Registration Director Patti Jeffcoat to review and make sure it applies with state law. The Justice Department must be notified to get pre-clearance and a letter will be sent to them tomorrow.

December 30, is being looked at as the date filing for the seat can began and will last for about two weeks. “And, we will be well on our way to the next election unless something changes, that’s how it starts with a special election,” Watson said.

Also during the meeting, in an update on the renovation of the roof at the Bamberg Civic Center, Bamberg Clerk/Treasurer Bruce Watson described the city’s efforts the last two years in trying to get money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to upgrade the facility as a staging area as “jumping through hoops.” Watson noted that one of the main criteria for FEMA was that the building withstands 140 mph wind loads.

“That jacked the price up over $1 million dollars. When it came down to the final criteria we knew, we were not going to be able to jump through all those hoops.” Council will now look to secure $333,000 obtained for the project by Representative Bakari Sellers and has filled out an application to obtain more funds from the Budget and Control Board to retro-fit the roof of the building after it is signed off on by Rep. Sellers and S.C. State Sen. Brad Hutto. “That’s kind of where we are, kind of how things have played out,” Watson noted, adding that Rep. Sellers is still working with U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint to get the funds originally promised for the project. “It’s been a long drawn out, hard process.”

Also during the meeting:

• In an update on the PARD Grant for the basketball courts at the Ness Sports Complex it was reported that all the paper work has been in for three weeks ago and must be signed off by Rep. Sellers and Sen. Brad Hutto.

• In an update on the replacing of parking for downtown Bamberg, it was reported that Harry Crissy, the community and economic development agent with Clemson University was working on the project to move fencing so people can park downtown again. Again it was noted that this was another project that Rep. Bakari Sellers was instrumental in and a meeting needed to be setup to involve him.