Town Council puts the brakes on signs discussion

The Batesburg-Leesville Town Council is not yet ready to welcome specific ideas for new entrance signs at the gateways to the community. The Council wants to get — and give — more direction on the signs.

The lone item of new business on Monday night’s Town Council agenda, discussion of new entrance signs, was tabled following a motion by Councilman Steve Cain and several moments of clamorous crosstalk between Councilman Cain and Mayor Lancer Shull.

The motion to table the sign issue gained traction and passed on a 5-3 vote. Council members Cynthia Etheredge, Olin Gambrell, Shirley Mitchell and Susan Whittle joined Councilman Cain in wanting to park the discussion of entrance signs until Council could hold a work session on the concept. Only Mayor Shull and Councilmen Steve Prouse and Charles Simpkins voted to keep the entrance sign discussion on the night’s agenda.

In voting to table the discussion, Councilwoman Mitchell contended that “all the entrances (to town) are not on the list you have,” referencing the proposed locations for the new Town entrance signs.

After the meeting, Councilwoman Whittle said that Council should have more conversation on the signage before Town administration is empowered to issue a Request for Proposals for sign design and construction. “We weren’t prepared to bring this to Council tonight. We should discuss this in a work session,” she said.

With its only scheduled new business tabled, Council moved on to hear the standard monthly reports of Town business – including a presentation by John Andoh, Executive Director and CEO of the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority.

Mr. Andoh updated the Town Council on plans to roll out a pilot program of the COMET bus service, which will connect Batesburg-Leesville, Lexington and West Columbia. “Route 97,” as the service is called, will operate on Wednesdays only and is “for the purpose of making lifeline travel” to government facilities, healthcare providers and other essential services in the Columbia area.

The COMET bus service will begin operation to and from Batesburg-Leesville on October 7. (Look for more details in next week’s edition of The Twin-City News.)

In other Town business, the Council went behind closed doors for a lengthy executive session on three contractual issues, which were affirmed by votes in open session:

● Council approved a three-year contract with SAFEBuilt of Summerville to provide building inspection services to the Town, with Councilman Cain as the lone “no” vote;
● Council approved an amendment to the Town’s contract with Advanced Disposal to codify the agreed-upon cost for waste disposal services, with Council members Cain and Mitchell voting “no” to the contract; and
● Council approved new language in the contract to provide School Resource Officer services to Lexington District 3 that reflects the new school year and the Interim Superintendent’s name, with Councilman Cain casting the lone dissenting vote (to a chorus of chuckles from other Council members).

Story by Tony Baughman / Updated August 14, 2019