Denmark recognizes citizens for beautification

Denmark City Council members took a few minutes out of their December 19, meeting Monday night to recognize several of their citizens for their efforts “overtime” to make the city a more beautiful place to live and work. Denmark mayor Gerald Wright noted in handing out the certificates of appreciation from the city of Denmark, Community Pride Awards that the purpose of the presentations was to “promote pride among the citizens and recognize several people for having pride in the city.”

Citizens recognized Monday night were: Former Denmark Mayor Sam Neeley, Joseph and Sabrina Broxton, Ernestine Washington and Mr. and Mrs. Willie F. Thompson. Takethia Brooks was presented with a plaque for being named 2011 City of Denmark Employee of the Year.

Former mayor Sam Neeley took a few minutes to recognize the late Charles Smith of Denmark for his efforts in helping to get the “welcome to Denmark” signs erected and his work to keep them beautified. Neeley also recognized Gloria and Norman Limehouse for their efforts to keep the signs attractive to people coming into the city. Neeley encouraged the citizens of Denmark to “take pride in your personal property and the community.”

Also during the meeting council members gave approval to several action items including making last month’s fiscal year 2011 audit report that was reported as a “clean audit” the “official” city audit. The vote to make the audit official was 4-1 with councilmember Hope Long-Weldon opposed. Council members also gave their approval by a 4-1 vote with Long-Weldon opposed to moving $22,000 from a Rural Water Reserve bank account that is non-interest bearing and is no longer needed to an interest bearing account.

Further in the meeting Fire Chief Charles Breland reported the fire department had “a real slack” month with seven fires and no structure fires. Breland noted the Denmark Fire Department has responded to 166 calls so far this year, with an average of seven members per call and 22 members attending training meetings. Police Chief Leroy Grimes reported the police department created 90 new case files from November 21 - December 19 including the following: hit and run, discharging firearm into a dwelling, vehicle theft and missing person to name a few.

In the public works report it was reported that William Rose was hired as a consultant for the water and sewer departments. Rose, who has 23 years of experience in the field told those in attendance in dealing with the city’s water problems: “As long as we do what we say we want to do it will be alright.”

In the public comments portion of the meeting; Denmark resident Vic Whetstone called the DHEC report on the Denmark water system “very disturbing.” Whetstone said his main concern was that the new hospital, of which it was said, would be located somewhere in the Denmark area might now be located somewhere else because of the problems with the Denmark water system. “If we lose this, we’re talking about millions of dollars lost to this town and area,” he said.

Joe Rosa, in addressing council members said he didn’t believe water meters in the city were being read because of the four water bills he had in his pocket, the last three of them were for “exactly the same” amount of money.

Johnnie Ruth Rosa, in addressing council members about the city’s water system and finances said she has turned documentation over to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and is requesting an investigation into the city’s water fund. Rosa, in reading the duties of mayor and sighting alleged inconsistencies in the city’s 2008 audit concerning water rates said to Mayor Wright: “I’m saying to you and asking you to resign,” Rosa said, alleging that the Mayor has not followed the city’s guidelines and ordinances.

After Rosa made her comments Mayor Wright said the city has committed additional resources “financial and human” to addressing the concerns the city considers “extremely serious,” adding “we will deal with them expeditiously and comprehensively, that is exactly what we intend to do.”