Barnwell City Council honors Officer of the Year

  • Barnwell Police Officer John Ott was presented a plaque Monday night for being the 2016 Officer of the Year.

The Barnwell City council swore in a new police officer and congratulated the Officer of the Year during their Feb. 6 meeting.

Officer Tommy Gilbert was sworn into office by Mayor Ed Lemon at the beginning of the Monday night meeting.

John Ott was presented a plaque for being the 2016 Officer of the Year. Lemon presented the honor along with Captain Brian Johnson in place of Chief Reuben Black who was not in attendance.

The meeting also included a 10-minute closed session in the middle of the meeting to discuss personnel issues. Mayor Lemon announced after the session that “Employee A” had been disciplined, but did not elaborate who that employee was or why that person had been disciplined.

(Following the meeting the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division confirmed that Police Chief Black was under investigation and had been escorted from his office earlier in the day.)

In other business, Ron Shuler of the Barnwell Baseball Association requested the city reduce their $5,000 annual fee by 25 percent or more.

He said the non-profit organization sponsors the Dixie Youth baseball and softball games and costs are making it hard to operate.

Mayor Lemon referred the request to the council’s parks and recreation committee.

In a separate agenda item, the council voted to sell surplus equipment by sealed bid. The list includes 13 items including three vehicles, two mowers, a gas generator, five carts and three air conditioning units.

City Administrator John Zawacki told council in his monthly update:

• Orchids Lift station, the force main from Sara lee lift station to the Orchids plant, is complete; the 3 major pumps in the lift station are mounted on the pad and the suction and discharge line have been installed. The pad for the SCE&G transformer is also complete and ready for SCE&G to install. Orchids has cleared the area for their equalization tank and 16-inch line from the pretreatment area. The expected testing of the paper plant is in March. The city still plans to see process water in April. He said the city has expended most of the RIA grant and only about $480 remains out of $499,520. The city will now start utilizing the EDA grant funds.

• At the waste water treatment plant the city is waiting to see if the five flooded motors can be salvaged for reuse. The insurance adjuster reviewed the plant and has sent his findings to the state insurance fund. The city has had no response from them yet.

• On Jackson Street, there are 6 to 8 trees that have grown over a main water line. The trees are in the city right-of-way and will have to be removed before the root system destroys the water main. Zawacki said he will be talking with the landowner prior to taking any action. The trees are approximately 8 feet from the road.

• With the help of Lynn McEwen and Martha Thompson the city has submitted a grant application for the mosquito control program. The grant request is for $36,000.

During department reports, Parks and Recreation director Pamela Davis said the basketball season is going well and has several more weeks to go. She said a Daddy-Daughter dance is scheduled for Feb. 10 with a “Candy Land” theme.

She also said 20 ladies are participating in a crochet lass “and we actually had to turn some people down” because of limited class size.

The LeBon Joye baseball camp will be held March 4-5. The clinic is an annual event.

A bunny brunch is scheduled for April 1.

Davis said there is a text messaging system associated with the schools which requires sign-up but makes it possible for her to send out reminders to parents of upcoming events.

Mayor Lemon said a constituent suggested exercise stations at Fuller Park and he had spoken to some local boy scouts who are interested in taking on the project as an Eagle project.

He also asked about lights being out along the walking path across Lake Brown. Administrator Zawacki said the city just needs to contact SCE&G to let them know to replace the lights.

City Fire Chief Tony Dicks reported the department has received a $4,500 grant to purchase protective clothing for the firefighters.