Turning town property over to Schuetzenfest
Written by Jerry E. Halmon   

After hearing a request at last month’s meeting from members of the Schuetzenfest Inc. Committee to take control and make renovations to the old town hall and possession of an adjacent lot, one member of Ehrhardt Town Council expressed his disapproval of the idea at this month’s meeting.

“I think we are foolish,” Ehrhardt Mayor Pro Tem Bill Edinger, who was absent from last month’s meeting, told Ehrhardt Town Council members at their July 17, meeting. “I would vote no,” Edinger said, adding “I just want to get my opinion out there. Selling the best piece of property we have or giving it away, isn’t good for the town. And if we get this park (Capital Sales Tax Project) where would you put the park if you give it away. I would rather see that (the park) in there, If we’re going to increase and make this town look good for some businesses to come in.”

Edinger also wanted to know when was the last time the Town got an audit from Schuetzenfest Inc. “They work with the town all the time,” he said. Councilman Freddie Copeland, who voted last month to consider the transfer of the property to the Schuetzenfest Committee because the property was no longer being used by the town, seemed to have had second thoughts since the last meeting. “What if Schuetzenfest closed? What would happen then?” Copeland asked.

Copeland noted that there should be a stipulation as long as Schuetzenfest continues to exist there would be “no problem using the property” but if “they fold”, hopefully they don’t close, but you never know,” Copeland said.

Mayor Bill Stanley said that Council would go ahead and prepare an Ordinance for the transfer of property, but would take no action on a transaction until the town sees what will happen with the One Cent Capital Sales Tax referendum. “We don’t want to jeopardize that,” Stanley said.

During the regular portion of the meeting; Department of Public Safety Chief Chad Dilling reported that the department responded to a mobile home fire at the home of Ella Black, who lost all of her belongs. Dilling noted the department will host a Fire Advisory Board meeting on July 26. The Chief stated the department turned in its fire contract with the County of Bamberg and will receive its check later.

In his police department report Dilling noted the department made three case files including an alcohol violation, a domestic call and an assault. Water Department Commissioner Freddie Copeland reported that collections in the water department for June 2012 were $13,852.05. Copeland stated that 16 customers were cutoff for non-payment of their water bills. Collections for July to date were $9,837.72.

Streets and Sanitation Department Commissioner Bill Edinger reported that he had been in contact with Representative Bakari Sellers and requested $15,000 for a side walk. Edinger said Rep. Sellers suggested that the town receive $25,000 for the sidewalk, which he said he wouldn’t turn down. Edinger noted that he was waiting for an invitation to meet with Rep Sellers.

Also at Tuesday night’s meeting Council members agreed to purchase a new computer for Town Clerk Teresa Smith at a cost $854.00 after taxes. Mayor Bill Stanley in his report noted if the one cents sales tax referendum is successful the town would use the $60,000 for town beautification and would like something similar to what is in place in Swansea.