By Al Dozier

The Irmo Town Council Tuesday unanimously approved a proposed budget for the 2019 Okra Strut in the amount of $119,800.

The budget represents a 6 percent increase over the 2018 budget, according to Larry Slaughter, chairman of the Okra Strut Commission.

Slaughter said the commission will be seeking more money from Richland County for the 46th annual festival.  

The fall festival, which attracts around 25,000 visitors annually, is a two day event featuring a street dance with a live band, a Saturday morning parade, arts and crafts, rides and amusements, and cooking contests featuring okra meals. It’s held at the Community Park of Irmo.

Slaughter said the festival is making more contributions to scholarships than it has in the past. An additional expense during the coming year will be the widening of paths in the park to accommodate some of the activities.

In other action the council adopted the Lexington County Animal Control ordinance (19-02), which provides animal services to the community and sets forth guidelines on pet control. The program now has a cat program that provides spay and neutering for stray cats.

During the administrative briefing, the council was advised that East View Road near the Community Park of Irmo will not be paved as previously planned because of right-of-way problems.

The council heard announcements of upcoming events, including The Great Irmo Chili cook-off, to be held be held January  19 at the Community Park of Irmo. The free event features competition among chili cooks.  

 An Easter egg hunt is scheduled April 14 at the community park.

The Lexington Countywide Stormwater Consortium will host a “Build Your Own Rain Barrel” Workshop on March 15, 8:45 a.m. to 12 pm in an effort to educate citizens on rainwater harvesting and stormwater conservation. Attendees can learn how to construct their own rain barrels at the event, which will be held at the Municipal Building in Irmo, located at 7300 Woodrow Street.

The council held a discussion on streetlights, a topic that has recently surfaced on Facebook pages in the Irmo community. Town officials said repairing or adding street lighting is the responsibility of SCE&G, or Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative.

Members of the community can call the electrical providers to replace lights that have gone out.

Council members agreed that the town cannot afford to provide lighting, but can help citizens contact the service providers.

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