Water, renovation projects make city's list

Barnwell City Council approved its list of projects for the proposed capital-project sales tax during the regular meeting April 7.

The tax would have to be approved by voters in November and would last for seven years. County Administrator Pickens Williams Jr. has said the estimated yearly revenue from the tax is $1 million -- which would be split among the county its seven municipalities.

The city's list contains 7 items with a total cost of $1.5 million. The projects are:

$500,000 to install radio meters for the city's water-meter system - the meters at a home or business used to determine water bills 

$80,000 for restrooms for Fuller Park

$400,000 to refurbish the Jackson Street sewer line

$125,000 for a splash pad (an area with spray systems for children to play in an get wet) for Fuller Park

$350,000 for renovations to the city's fire station

$30,000 for a study to see if the old sheriff's building on Main Street at the edge of Fuller Park can be renovated

$15,000 for an extension to the Fuller Park boardwalk

The city's list needs approval by a committee - made up of representatives from around the county and created by county council, - that will finalize the list of projects that will appear on the ballot referendum.

County council will eventually have to vote to have the referendum placed on the ballot - the deadline to certify referendums with the county election office is August 15.

County council has asked all of the county's municipalities to create a list of projects to use the tax revenue for.

In other business:

Two new police officers were sworn in for duty, bringing the total number of officers in the city to 15. But new Police Chief Reuben Black asked council for another officer to be hired. The extra officer had been approved by council in the past, but the department was never able to hire for that slot because it kept losing other officers. Council voted to allow for the extra officer to be hired, which will give the Police Department a total of 16. The chief wants the extra officer so he can have four on duty per shift.

Council voted to accept a bid from Collins Control, Inc. to install a radio system to control the city's potable-water wells. The cost is $59,963, but City Administrator John Zawacki said the city will save money in the long run by not having to pay $3,000 monthly rent to use phone lines to run the system.

Zawacki said the total cost for the city from Winter Storm Pax is $10,000. The costs come from damage to city property caused by the storm.