Blackville council welcomes new member

Blackville Town Council said hello to a new member and goodbye to an outgoing councilman during its regular meeting Nov. 18.
Fred Orr, elected to council this month, was sworn in by Mayor Mike Beasley. Orr is a longtime Blackville resident and former math teacher at Blackville-Hilda High School. He takes the place of Russ Reed, who did not run for re-election.
Beasley presented Reed with a plaque honoring him for his service to the town. Reed spent two terms (eight years) on council. Beasley and other council members told Reed they enjoyed working and building lasting friendships with him.
Council then voted to approve the first reading of an ordinance requiring a reduced-pressure-zone device, which helps prevent backflow, be installed on specific water customers' property to prevent unwanted chemicals and substances from entering the town's water system. Customers with a sprinkler system are included under the ordinance along with businesses - such as beauty parlors and funeral homes - that use certain chemicals.
A $4.50 per-month charge will be added to the water bill of those customers. The ordinance says the RPZ device -- ranging in price from under $100 to over $500 depending on the model -- will be installed and maintained at the property owner's expense.
Council also approved a contract with the Lower Savannah Council of Governments to update the town's comprehensive plan and zoning map. According to state law, the update must be done every ten years. The contract states the town's payment to LSCOG can not exceed $8,000.
Updating the plan will begin next year and should be completed within 10 months.
In other business:
-Melissa Hallbick, with Webster Rogers, LLC, presented the town's annual audit to council. She said no majors errors or misstatements were found in the town's financials statements. For a full story on the audit, check our Dec. 4 edition.
-Councilman Kelvin Isaac presented Harriett McKnight, town clerk and treasurer, a certificate of appreciation for her many years of service to Blackville. "Thank you for your dedication and service," Isaac told McKnight.
"I don't think I've ever seen Mrs. Harriett upset about anything," Beasley said.
-Council members Ann Pernell and Vivian Alston presented gift baskets to David Norman, principal at Blackville-Hilda Junior High and High schools, and Eryl Smalls, principal at Macedonia Elementary. Last week was the National Education Association's American Education Week. Pernell said she wanted to make sure the town's educators know they're appreciated.
Smalls thanked his staff and said he could not do it by himself. Norman said the gift will let his staff know "they are appreciated."
Another gift basket was for District 19 Superintendent Teresa Pope, who was not present.
-Mayor Beasley said cleanup projects are continuing around town, including at the old middle school.
-Council members and residents, many wearing purple, posed for pictures with Jordan Elmore who has epilepsy. Elmore, Councilman Isaac's nephew, is enrolled in a case study and is taking pictures with people wearing purple to support epilepsy patients. He will be granted funding by submitting his pictures. November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month.
-Blackville's Christmas parade will be Dec. 14 at 11 a.m., and the tree lighting will be Dec. 15 at 4 p.m.