I am happy to report that Town Council has hired a new Town Clerk! Julie Hammond will be starting this week as our part-time Town Clerk and her duties include providing administrative assistance to me and the council members, coordinating our meetings, preparing the council packets and working with me on the meeting agendas. She will also be updating our filing system and provide support to our other appointed boards and commissions. Julie moved here from Idaho last year where her husband took a job at the VC Summer Nuclear Plant. She served as the City Clerk for the City of Iona, Idaho and has a wealth of experience. She had started the process of obtaining her Municipal Clerk certification, and she will continue that effort with the Municipal Association of South Carolina. We look forward to welcoming her to Town Hall and know that our council and citizens will enjoy working with her.
One of the topics we discussed at our department heads meeting last Friday included the Preliminary Engineering Report for our wastewater treatment plant. Council will have a presentation from the engineers at Hussey Gay Bell on their assessment of our current plant’s capacity and recommendations for how we may best proceed to upgrade our technology to comply with DHEC’s more stringent requirements and reduce odors that sometimes bother nearby neighbors. We will have a public hearing on the plan on September 15 at 5:00 pm at Town Hall, so residents can ask questions and learn more about this process as we move forward.
I have been invited to participate in the SC Department of Transportation’s stakeholders committee for the improvement of our interstates in the Midlands region. We have all struggled at some point with the traffic and congestion at “Malfunction Junction” and SCDOT is in the process of evaluating ways to improve the intersections of I-20 and I-26. They are conducting a citizens’ survey where you can provide feedback on how to improve mobility in the Midlands. Go to https://columbiacorridors.metroquest.com to share your opinions especially if you commute to Columbia by way of the interstate. It only takes a few minutes to complete.
Speaking of SCDOT, I want to publicly thank Secretary Christy Hall and members of her engineering team that came to Chapin last week to speak to the Midlands Regional Mayors Forum. We have a better understanding of the challenges her agency is facing and were able to express our concerns about the timing and funding of projects, what they consider priorities and how we can get more information on upcoming roads and bridge projects so that we can better communicate with our citizens. It was a thoughtful dialogue and one of the best Mayors’ meetings I have attended.
We have rescheduled our August town council meeting to Tuesday, August 23, and we’re going to have quite an agenda, starting at 4:00 pm with our annual planning session for 2017. Staff will review results of the community survey we just completed and how these items can potentially be part of our work plans for the coming year. I have also asked that some of our citizens involved in our appointed boards and volunteers committees present their ideas for programs and work that town council needs to consider for the short and long term benefit of the community. This session is open to the public, and I welcome you to come hear the discussion as we move forward. After the planning session, we will have a public hearing to discuss the proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance at 5:30 pm, and then we’ll have our rescheduled regular council meeting after that. It might be a longer than usual council session, but I am excited to hear more about what our citizens want us to pursue in 2017.
Finally I want to remind everyone about the annual Chapin Prayer Walk. This is a wonderful event where students, parents, educators, our local pastors and members of our larger community can participate in a very visible way to show their support for our Chapin area schools. We are blessed to have such wonderful schools in our community, and I would encourage you to mark August 20 on your calendar and join us. The walk begins at the Center for Advanced Technical Studies at 7:30 am, then proceeds to Spring Hill High School at 8:15 am, Academy for Success at 8:30 am, Chapin Middle School at 9:00 am, Lake Murray Elementary School at 9:45 am, Chapin Elementary School at 10:30 am, Chapin Intermediate School at 11:15 am, and finishing up at Chapin High School at noon. Last year we had more than 100 people come out and I know Tim Hanson would like to double if not triple that number for this year.
I want to invite you to join me for Coffee with the Mayor this Friday at Hardee’s from 7:30 – 8:30 am. I’ll buy the coffee and you bring your comments and suggestions for the benefit of Chapin! If this goes well we will make it a monthly event. Hope to see you Friday morning!