Councilman Kelvin Isaac presents members of the Together Sisters a plaque for their community service.
Lack of enforcement of property ordinances was the main topic during Blackville Town Council's regular meeting Oct. 21.
A resident expressed her frustration about nothing being done about dilapidated and rundown properties around her home. She said she has raised the issue several times with the town but hasn't seen any progress.
The question seems to be how exactly to handle the problem of deteriorating property.
It is the Police Department's responsibility to issue citations to the owners of untidy property. Police Chief John Holston said he is working on a "comprehensive plan" to educate residents about the town's property ordinance.
"We want to give citizens an opportunity to go ahead and take care of the problem" before they are issued a fine, he said.
Councilman Russ Reed said it has been a problem for years and he hasn't seen any progress. He said it doesn't matter if people don't know the law; they should still face the penalty.
At one point, Councilman Kelvin Isaac asked why they can't just give people a copy of the ordinance along with the citation.
Mayor Mike Beasley said the main problem is people aren't being responsible for their property.
"It's time for people to be accountable for their own stuff in this community," he said.
Beasley asked Holston to act quickly on the issue.
Council discussed the gang task force proposal being pushed by Sheriff Ed Carroll.
Beasley said the council needs more information before it can commit to the plan.
"I think the intention is good," but I don't know enough about the plan, he said.
Under the plan, the town would pay between $24,000 and $28,000 - $10 per resident - a year to help finance a county wide task force focused on drugs and gangs.
Reed wondered where the town would get the money from.
Beasley suggested putting a Blackville police officer on the task force. The town would pay the officer's salary, therefore covering its share of the cost, he said.
Holston also said he needed more information and asked council to hold a workshop with Sheriff Carroll so the plan can be discussed in more detail.
At the end of the meeting, Beasley expressed his disappointment in people always focusing on negative things around town. He said the focus needs to be on the positive things happening in Blackville.
"We've been hearing all negative stuff lately. The paper has been full of negative stuff," he said, "We as a community need to stand up and do our part."
He talked about the Blackville-Hilda H.S. class of 1988 donating $300 to the Blackville Recreation Department.
"That's what fires me up," he said, adding the community needs to work at encouraging and helping its young people.
In other business:
Beasley said the town is "doing well" financially this year. Between July and September the town used 27 percent of its $970,000 budget - right on target for our current fiscal year, he said.
Beasley also said the street and sidewalk cleanup is moving along well.
Edward Rockwell, with the public works department, said uncapped water lines at demolished properties are causing problems at the water treatment plant. Because lines aren't capped, he said, sand and dirt is getting into the sewer lines when there is heavy rain.
The Together Sisters were recognized for their community service. Isaac presented them a plaque and thanked them for all they do. The group hosts community events, like the Halloween party at the community center Thursday, Oct. 31, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
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