By Al Dozier
The Irmo Town Council is considering imposing term limits on the town’s council members and mayor.
The proposal, introduced for first reading at Tuesday’s council meeting by newly-elected Councilman Erik Sickinger, would limit council members to three terms (12 years) and the mayor to two terms (8 years). But the council decided to defer the measure until a full council can decide on the change. Currently there is a vacant council seat which will be filled in a special election March 3.
The measure does not have the support of Mayor Barry Walker Sr., who said it’s up to voters to determine how long a councilman or mayor should run.
“People will make the decision, not us. We are taking from the citizens their rights.”
Councilwoman Kathy Condom said term limits is a good idea.
“I’ve been here for 20 years,” she said. “That’s too long.”
Condom said she would be stepping down when her current term expires in 18 months.
Sickinger said the limits would make the offices more accessible to citizens who wouldn’t have to wait for long-term incumbents to leave office.
During the public comment period, former councilman Mark Pouliot said term limits should not be imposed when you have non-paid volunteers dedicated to serving the town.
“If they are doing the job, let them serve,” he said.
The council did give final approval to an ordinance that places term limits on citizens serving on local boards and commissions.
The move is designed to provide more accessibility to citizens who may want to become involved in local government. The new provision would limit service to a total of eight years.
In other action, the council approved a $122,000 budget for the 2000 Okra Strut, up slightly from the $119,800 budget in 2019.
Okra Strut Chairman Larry Slaughter said the festival continues to grow. While costs are going up, revenues are increasing as new sponsors are participating in the event.
The council gave second reading approval to a nuisance ordinance that requires broken or cracked windows on commercial properties to be replaced within 30 days.
The council also gave second reading approval to rezone a property located adjacent to Muskrat Run Road from Fringe Agricultural to General Residential.
The council gave final reading approval to a new ordinance that updates zoning and land development ordinances and assures they are in line with state and county zoning laws.
The second annual Chili Cookoff held at Irmo’s Community Park January 19 was a success, according to Walker, attracting around 900 people. The event raises money for the National Kidney Foundation. Walker said a presentation on the contribution has been planned for February 7.
Town officials announced the town will host a “Build Your Own Rain Barrel” workshop March 20 from 9 am – noon at the municipal building.
The council heard a presentation from the League of Women Voters on a voter information program known as Vote411, an on-line guide which provides voters with impartial information on candidates in upcoming elections.