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Pageland Council talks finances and animals

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By Gary Phillips

The Pageland Town Council discussed several items at their monthly meeting Tuesday, July 3, resulting in a longer than usual session.

The meeting started with the council receiving the annual audit report from accountant Eve McCoy. McCoy reported the 60-page audit report was good and revealed no major discrepancies, but she advised the council on a few financial matters that could be improved upon.

“Overall you have a very good report from a financial standpoint,” she said.

Lynches River sale put on hold 

The council voted to postpone the sale of the old Lynches River headquarters building at the corner of McGregor and Arant Streets. They voted in June to advertise the property for sale on the recommendation of the town building committee, who concluded repairs and modifications to the building for use as a new Town Hall would be too costly to justify.

In that June meeting it was said there are potential buyers interested in the property, but now it appears they need more time to get their arrangements finalized to proceed with the deal.

“Those plans were put on hold after we found out one of the potential bidders has some other issues that need to be resolved,” Mayor Brian Hough said. “So we’ve postponed issuing an advertisement for bids.”

The council agreed to hold off on taking bids until September and will study and consider those bids at their Sept. 4 meeting.

Gazebo repairs

Gazebo repairs at Moore’s Park were also discussed, as it has been found that replacing the railings around the structure would be more expensive than previously thought due to newer building codes that require the rails be made taller and the vertical slats in those rails must be closer together than the previous ones. 

”The posts are going to have to be 42 inches high, whereas now they are 32 inches high, because the building was constructed in 1991,” Town Administrator Linda Long said. “You’re looking at $9,400.”

Councilman Shane Hancock suggested the gazebo looks fine without railings and a $9,000 savings makes it look even better.

”I’m satisfied with how it looks now,” he said. “Let’s dress the big columns up good and it looks fine the way it is.”

Councilman Jason Evans agreed.

“It looks more modern the way it is now,” he said. 

Sidewalk grant money
comes through

Hough announced the town will be receiving nearly $500,000 in grant money for new sidewalks in town. As reported earlier, the money can be used only for new sidewalks where there currently are none, and they must connect residential areas with business districts.

Hough said $399,895.64 will be provided by the South Carolina Department of Transportation and $100,000 will come from the Chesterfield County Transportation Commission.

”This is probably the biggest sidewalk project we’ve ever had,” Hough said. “It calls for expansion on North and South Pearl, on East and West McGregor and a two-block extension on both sides of the bypass, north and south from Highway 9. Obviously, we’re delighted to receive word this grant has gone through.”

Chicken ordinance

The council also discussed an ordinance that would limit the number of chickens residents would be allowed to keep in town. The proposal limits the number to six, with no roosters allowed at all. The town currently has an ordinance that disallows any livestock in the town limits, but it is not enforced and Hough said putting the new ordinance in place would allow for better control on the number of birds and the conditions in which they are kept.

”This ordinance, or a similar version, has already been passed by the Town of Cheraw and the Town of Chesterfield is in the process of passing a similar ordinance.” Hough said. “The town codes officer would be responsible for inspecting the town’s chicken coops to ensure they are in compliance with the ordinance.”

The new rule specifies that chicken coops must be more than 50 feet away from any neighbors dwelling or the chicken owner must have written permission from the neighbor to be closer than 50 feet. Chicken owners would be required to pay a $20 permit fee to keep the animals in town.

The council approved the first reading of the ordinance by a split 4-3 vote, with Shane Hancock, Jimmie Baker and Martha Hamilton voting against.

Wild dog problem

The council discussed another animal problem in Pageland. A pack of stray dogs had been roaming the town, killing cats and causing other mayhem.

 The Chesterfield County Animal Control Department has responded to the problem and set out traps, but reports the dogs are wary enough to not enter the traps and have made aggressive moves towards the animal control staff. Animal control is asking the council to permit them to use deadly force for their own protection, if necessary. 

”When I talked to the lady at the animal shelter she said these dogs are so unfriendly and so wild that they are probably going to have to be euthanized,” Linda Long said. “If they have a vicious dog coming towards them, they want permission to shoot it.”

The council agreed there’s a problem, but some were hesitant to allow anyone to fire a gun in the town.

”Whoever’s taking that shot, we have to make sure it’s someone who knows what they’re doing and who is aware of what’s around them,” Shane Hancock said. “There’s residences around and there’s children and adults. I want someone responsible enough to know when to take that shot and when not to.” 

 It was decided to ask animal shelter director Danielle Bowe to come to a council meeting to discuss the matter.