By Al Dozier
The Irmo Town Council held a special called meeting Tuesday in place of the scheduled Nov. 21 meeting during Thanksgiving week, but Mayor Hardy King didn’t show up because he concluded it was an improper schedule change.
King sent a notice of his decision to Mayor Pro-Tem Julius Waites, who read the letter to council members at the beginning of the meeting. King said in the letter there was no reason to cancel the already-scheduled meeting and the council did not present the necessary requirements to change the schedule.
Council member Kathy Condom acknowledged that she asked for the change in meeting dates so she could visit with her 90-year-old mother during the holidays. Condom said other council members agreed with the change, but she never heard from King.
“If he objected, he should have contacted me,” Condom said.
Walker said King’s absence is a sign that changes are needed on a council that should be working together.
Condom, who was recently reelected along with Walker, said she had hope for a better start for the council and its newly elected members.
But Councilman Mark Pouliot said it should not be something to worry about.
“We should give him the benefit of the doubt,” he said of Walker’s decision.
The council received a positive report from Okra Strut Commission Chairman Larry Slaughter on the outcome of the 2017 event held Sept. 29–30.
Slaughter said the parade was “flawless,” drawing the largest crowd in years.
An attendance count, conducted for the first time, found that the festival did draw people from areas outside the midlands –approximately 2,000.
He said other positive activities included a kid’s craft event, outstanding entertainment, successful amusement rides, a safe environment, promotional social media messages and a sports bar.
Amusement revenue, beer and wine revenue nearly doubled over last year. He said an early assessment showed festival profits of approximately $20,000.
Slaughter said some improvements could be made for next year’s festival, such as improving the traffic flow on Eastview Drive. He said the festival also needs to find ways to boost revenues higher.
Council members complimented Slaughter for the successful festival, now in its 44th year.
“It was a great strut” Walker said.
In other action, Jim Reed of Tyler Sanitation, made an appearance at the meeting and invited the council to report any problems with the trash collection service that has been under way for the past three months. Most council members expressed support for the new service.
Councilman Mark Pouliot asked about the service’s inability to pick up glass without charging additional fees. Reed said the disposal process for glass has increasingly become very expensive and has posed a problem everywhere.
The council considered amendments to the town’s land development ordinance aimed at requiring developers to submit plans that will not require the town to pay for expensive road improvements in the future, which has been a continuing problem for the town.
Rather than address the problem with an ordinance, council members decided to have the administrator establish a “policy” that would make sure safeguards were in place that would prevent the town from being hit with expensive road projects.
During the public participation period, council heard complaints from Linda Jackson of the Garden Brooke neighborhood about flooding problems and inadequate roads that are not being addressed by the developer, McGuinn Homes.
She said she was unable to find local government dockets approving the property’s development process. She also noted that the U.S. Corps. Of Engineers has cited property violations.
“You can’t do this to people,” she said.