Williston bids farewell to mayor, 2 council members

Last week's Williston Town Council meeting was a final farewell for three longtime public servants.
Mayor Tommy Rivers and council members Jerry Holmes and Wanda Matthews sat in the blue, leather seats in Williston's Town Hall for the last time Sept. 9. It was a night of reflection.
"I've made a lot of friends ... and some enemies I'm sure," Matthews said about her 16 years in office. "I've enjoyed working with the council. ... We tried to do what was best for the people of Williston."
She encouraged the new council, which will takeover in October, to contact her if they ever need advice.
"If you want my opinion I always have one," she said.
Holmes said when he first ran for election in 1993 he told people he was "running for the people of Williston."
"I'm going to miss this council and miss coming to the meetings," he said, adding that it's time to move on.
"Life has other chapters in it. We all have to turn the page from time to time," he said.
Rivers reflected on the accomplishments of council during his time in office. He said the friendships forged amongst the council members allowed the group to be productive and move the community in a positive direction.
In 1993, when Rivers was elected mayor, Williston had a $500,000 deficit. Today, it has a million-dollar surplus.
"I want to thank all of you for what you've done," Councilman Sammie Baxley said to the outgoing members.
Councilman Jason Stapleton, who will become mayor in October, said, "I hope to continue to do as good a job as they've done over the years."
Interim Town Administrator Roger LeDuc presented the three departing members with glass plaques commemorating their years of service.
LeDuc is also stepping aside, and assistant town administrator Kenny Cook is taking over. Council approved the contract for Cook to become the new administrator during the meeting. LeDuc will act in a consulting role for a short period before his time with the town finishes.
Rivers told LeDuc, "We thank God you could be a part of our community."
In other business:
Council voted unanimously to approve a lease-purchase with BB&T bank for $393,000. The money will be used to buy a new fire truck ($254,912) and garbage truck ($137,905). The agreement is for ten years at 2.69 percent interest.