Newly-elected council holds first meeting

With a new mayor and three incoming council members, it was the beginning of the next era during the regular Williston Town Council meeting Oct. 14.
Council members Chris Rivers, Dwayne Cagle and Shawn Eric Moody were sworn in and Mayor Jason Stapleton led his first meeting. Stapleton was sworn in Oct. 1.
Sammie Baxley is now the longest serving councilman with six years under his belt. The seven council members are all men.
Stapleton thanked former Mayor Tommy Rivers, who was at the meeting, for his long years of service. Rivers said it felt "different" sitting in the public seats and not with council.
Brett Williams, elected to council in 2011, was chosen as Mayor Pro Tem. The previous pro tem was Wanda Matthews, but she decided not to run for re-election earlier this year.
The town's new fire truck was dedicated and council members and others in attendance stepped outside - the rain held off - to gaze at the Blue-Devil blue truck as Fire Chief Milton Widener blasted the siren and flashed the emergency lights.
The truck cost $254,912 and should serve the town for at least 20 years. Widener thanked the individuals who put in countless hours planning the design of the truck. He said he plans to have a commemorative plaque made and put on the truck.
"A lot of behind the scenes work went into this," he said.
Stapleton thanked Widener and the department for their work.
Sheriff Ed Carroll and County Councilman Keith Sloan gave their gang/drug task-force presentation and showed council members and others at the meeting the now infamous YouTube music video - which depicts young people hanging out, partying, and drinking but concerns law enforcement because of the guns and general nature of the video.
By now, it's no secret that police know most of the people in the video. And it's also no secret to the people in the video that police are watching them, Carroll said.
Carroll and Sloan said it is just a sample of a growing problem in the county revolving around drugs, crime and gang activity.
Williston Town Council is behind the plan, which all municipalities and county council must approve - and pay for - before it becomes reality. County council is currently having an intergovernmental contract written regarding funding for the plan. The contract will be presented to the various town councils, who will then vote whether to approve it.
The county will pay for half the cost and the municipalities will pay the rest at the cost of $10 per resident. Williston would have to pay $31,000 a year to fund the task force. Carroll said it could be a three, four or five-year effort before solid results are seen.
In other business:
Council voted unanimously to approve new garbage pickup routes and dates as part of cost cutting measures put in place for the 2013-14 budget. The plan calls for two days for trash pickup and one day for yard debris pickup. Everything East of Rosemary Street will now be picked up on Tuesdays. Thursday will be set aside for yard-trash pickup. The changes will take effect Nov. 18. Residences affected will be notified.
Council voted unanimously for the approval of two ordinances regarding the towns zoning plan. The first is to adopt a comprehensive plan for land use. The second is for a revised zoning ordinance and official zoning map for the town.
The current zoning plan and map were approved in 2000 and updated in 2005. A major review is needed every 10 years so the town was a little overdue. Major changes to the map include the addition of agricultural and open space zones.