Williston considers tax projects

First Byline: 
David Purtell - Staff Writer

Williston Town Council was presented with a list of projects for the proposed countywide capital-sales tax during its regular meeting April 14.
The tax has to be approved by voters in November and would last for seven years - when a vote whether to continue it would be necessary. County Administrator Pickens Williams Jr. estimates yearly revenue from the tax would be $1 million -- which would be split among the county and its seven municipalities.
Williston's list has six projects totaling $1.04 million:
Renovation of Town Hall -- $750,000
Renovation of the town's library and museum property -- $120,000
Remodel public works department -- $75,000
Expansion of rail trail -- $50,000
Build exhibit for 1936 fire truck that the fire department is refurbishing -- $25,000
Update signs along the road welcoming people to Williston - $25,000
Council did not vote to approve the list, which was put together by Town Administrator Kenny Cook. Council members decided they will discuss whether to keep the list as is or add projects during an upcoming budget workshop before the regular meeting in May.
Councilman Chris Rivers suggested putting water-infrastructure projects on the list. Council will discuss the list during a special-called meeting Friday, April 25, at 9 a.m.
If a municipality doesn't provide a list of projects for the tax revenue to be used for then it will not receive any money from the tax. A complete list of the projects - and the cost of each - must be put on the ballot referendum.
Mayor Jason Stapleton said having a list does not mean the council is endorsing the tax
In other business:
About a dozen residents were at the meeting to show support for the Justice for Rowdy group. Rowdy, a dog belonging to Don and Kaye Smith, was shot by a Williston police officer, Greg Culp, Jan. 18. Culp responded to a call about a dog fighting another dog. Culp shot at Rowdy twice, hitting him once in the head. Rowdy did not die, but has suffered greatly from the gunshot wound, according to the Smiths.
Don and Kaye Smith spoke at the meeting, saying what Culp did was unnecessary and that Rowdy did not pose a risk to Culp, who, according to the police report, was 30 feet away from the dog when the shots were fired. They are asking for the town's police officers to receive training on how to deal with animals.
They also gave council members a formal written complaint about the officer.
The Justice for Rowdy Facebook page has over 2,000 members.
Josh Orth, a former Williston police officer who is now with the city of Barnwell Police, was honored by Mayor Stapleton for his two years of service to the town. Stapleton gave Orth a pin with the town's seal.
Stapleton also gave The People-Sentinel reporter David Purtell a pin and thanked him for the job he did covering the town. Purtell's last day with the newspaper was April 18.