Williston set to clean up dilapidated buildings in town

Williston Mayor Tommy Rivers and council moved forward with plans to clean up the town during a public hearing held prior to the regular monthly council meeting.

Those plans include giving the owners of one property 20 days to start clean up and demolition of an abandoned home on Harper Street. The owners, as listed on a letter of complaint and notice of public hearing are Gary R. Lyon, Sr. and Edna A Lyon. The Lyons now live in Windsor.

Although neither owner appeared during the public hearing, Town Administrator Scott Neely said Edna Lyon had called him to say she could not attend.

Neely said the town had been dealing with this property for three years, with letters and personal appearances.

In September 2008, the town of Williston approved a final reading of ordinance 2008-07, which states what and how the town can move forward with the demolition of homes deemed unfit for human habitation.

Neely estimates the cost to demolish and remove the home from the Lyon property would cost the town $5,000, if no asbestos was found.
Neely said Edna Lyon informed him the mortgage has just been paid off and they should have a clear title within several weeks.

The ordinance gives the town the authority to give the homeowner a set amount of days to demolish or otherwise bring the home into livable standards. If the homeowner does not comply, the ordinance gives the town the authority to have the home demolished and bill the owner. If the owner then does not pay the demolish fees, the town can place a lien against the property.

The town approved a motion to give the property owners 20 days to start demolition. The motion also requires the Lyons to be finished with demolition and clean up within an additional 30 days.

Councilman Jerry Holmes made a recommendation that the property on Jones Ray Circle containing a rundown trailer be the next property the town seeks action for clean-up and/or demolition.

During the regular meeting council voted on and/or discussed the following:

* Council approved the first reading of an ordinance increasing the required deposits on all water, sewer and garbage accounts.
The accounts are separated into four categories and the new deposits will be as follows: inside town limits - owner-occupied - $50; outside town limits - owner-occupied - $75; inside town limits - rental -$75 and outside town limits - rental - $150.
These deposits are not retroactive but can be applied in the following conditions according to the ordinance - any account that is transferred to a new location or any account that is disconnected for non-payment.

* Neely told council that the wastewater treatment plant liner project is awaiting the Department of Health and Environmental Control permit approval for soil removal. Another liner was found to be leaking and an outside contractor was hired to fix the problem which may be either a flat valve or a slew scape.

* Neely informed council the town may see funding from the federal stimulus package as well as funding from several other grant opportunities for law enforcement. Neely said the town has joined a South Carolina Municipal Association program designed to provide unlimited access to grants as well as access to a 20-person research team who will help fine tune grant applications.

* The Halford Street well is still in limbo, Neely said. Currently they are looking for a submersible motor that would hook up to existing electrical connections at the well.

* Councilman Michael Benjamin informed mayor and council that the groundbreaking ceremony for the Williston Elko Community Center should be later this month.