Bamberg citizen concerned about street safety
Written by Jerry E. Halmon   

Bamberg City Council heard concerns about safety on one of its streets and danger at one intersection at Monday night’s January 14th, city council meeting. Bamberg business owner Tony Duncan, who owns a hair styling business at the corner of Cox Avenue and Heritage Highway, came before Council with what he said were two concerns related to safety issues on those two streets.

Duncan noted that his first concern was with the safety of children walking to his business on Cox Avenue. He asked council if they could look at having sidewalks put on Cox Avenue. The other issue Duncan raised was with the “very awkward” situation at the corner of Elm Street and Main Highway, where a stop light that had been in place was removed after the remodeling of downtown Bamberg. Duncan stated the city needed to look at having the stop light put back at that location. Duncan commended city council member Cynthia Summers for her work in having street signs erected in areas where children walk to school each day.

Bamberg Mayor Alton McCollum noted that officials of the city have met with Department of Transportation officials several times about having the stoplight put back at the corner of Elm Street and Main Highway and the city would continue to, “stay on top of it.”

On the issue of Cox Avenue, Bamberg Police Chief George Morris noted in his police report that several years ago he tried to get Cox Avenue widened, but he was told there wasn’t enough right-of-way to have it done. The Chief noted however that he was successful in having two large, “beautiful oak trees,” removed on Cox Avenue that had been involved in a fatal accident where two people were killed.

“Times have changed and new people are in charge now. You might be able to get a little further than I did back in those days,” Chief Morris told council.

Also during Monday night’s meeting in the budget and finance report it was the noted the city was at 50% of its yearly budget. In his police department report, Chief Morris stated that the majority of the employees in the police department have requested automatic bank drafts be placed on their pay checks. The Chief also noted the department’s office phones did not have Caller ID and needed Caller ID on the department’s office phones. Otherwise the chief reported the BPD has its full allotment of officers and, “everything is going smooth.”

Sanitation Department and Chamber of Commerce Commissioner Janeth Walker reported that two employees are studying for their CDL Licenses and the Bamberg County Chamber of Commerce is still accepting new memberships. She noted that the 4th Annual Julius B. Daniel Blues Festival sponsored by the Bamberg County Historical Society will be held on February 23, from 6:00-9:00 pm at the Dane Theatre. Commissioner Walker reported that the John E. Bamberg and Dr. M. C. Watson Education Scholarship Luncheon sponsored by the Bamberg County First Steps Program will also be held on February 23rd, at 12 noon at the Richard Carroll Elementary School, with the theme, “Connecting Early Education Business Partners.” The speaker for the luncheon will be the Honorable Bakari Sellers, House District 90 Representative.

Fire Commissioner Buck Fralick noted the BFD will hold its annual Banquet on Thursday night January 17th. Insurance Commissioner Kevin Sandifer reported the city is looking at a $35,000 increase from last year on its employee insurance rates; with workman’s compensation increasing about $10,000; property and liability about $15,000 and medical insurance increasing about $10,000.

Public Buildings Parks and Economic Development Commissioner Nancy Foster reported Tobul Accumulator is still working on its expansion and other industry is looking at locating in the Cross Rhoads Industrial Park on south Highway 301. As for money from the Capital One Cents Sales Tax to make repairs to the Bamberg Civic Center City Clerk/Treasurer Bruce Watson noted the city will not receive any funds until the bonds are floated. Watson said, “then we can put it in an account, because when we start talking to architects they will send a bill for us to pay them.”

Council members also gave approval to two ordinances: 2013-01 an Employer Resolution on Tax Deferred Payroll Deductions for Installment Service Purchase with the SC Retirement System and Resolution and 2013-02- Authorizing A Mutual Agreement with the Department of Public Safety For the City of Orangeburg. It was noted that Resolution 2013-02 would allow the cities of Bamberg and Orangeburg and several other cities to share resources (i.e.) officers in case of a natural disaster and establish procedures from a liability standpoint.