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Bethune clerk receives pay raise

Posted: April 11, 2014 2:16 p.m.
Updated: April 14, 2014 5:00 a.m.
Gary Phillips/C-I

Bethune Town Councilman John Fulmer urges residents to attend school district board meetings and voice their opposition to a proposal to close Bethune and Mt. Pisgah elementary schools and consolidate students to a new school in the North Central area.

Bethune Town Council approved a 5 percent pay raise for Town Clerk Gayle Rogerson during its meeting Thursday. The unanimous vote came following an executive session at the end of the meeting. Mayor Charles McCoy said Rogerson has a lot of responsibility at town hall.

“She puts up with a lot up there. You need to be in there when she gets some of these telephone calls and some of these things she has to get together in a hurry for us,” McCoy said. “It’s really hectic up there at times and I commend her for what she does.”

McCoy said the 5 percent pay raise comes out to a 78-cent per hour increase over Rogerson’s pay of what the Chronicle-Independent calculated was $15.60 per hour, raising it to $16.38.

In other business, McCoy formally announced the resignation of Councilwoman Beverly Farmer. She provided McCoy with a letter of resignation after the council’s meeting in March.

“I talked to Beverly, and I understand why she’s doing this. Family comes first and we are meeting a whole lot more than the other council and the other mayor met,” he said. “So, with that in mind, I accepted her resignation. So, this June we do have a special election for one candidate to finish serving her term. Beverly impressed me with what she had done and we’re going to miss Beverly.”

Councilman John Fulmer updated council and the public on efforts to stop the Kershaw County School District from closing Bethune and Mt. Pisgah elementary schools. The district is considering building a larger elementary school near North Central High School and moving students from the closed schools. Fulmer said the district has various options, with various price tags, for renovating existing schools or building new ones.

“It’s going to be from $90 million to as much as $133 million. There’s two contingencies that will determine how much they’re going to borrow. One is they’re going to renovate Camden Elementary or build a new Camden Elementary. If they renovate, it’s going to run about $13 million. If they build a new one, it’s going to run about $18 million,” Fulmer said. “The other contingency is what they’re going to do with ATEC (Applied Technology Education Campus). To renovate the old ATEC is going to be about $14 million. They’re talking about relocating ATEC for $28 million.”

Fulmer said closing the schools in Bethune and Mt. Pisgah would mean a big hit to the economies of those communities.

“The town council, all of us here, are deeply concerned about the economic impact it’s going to have in our town,” he said. “It’s vitally important in our economic development and for the children of this area.” 

As before, Fulmer encouraged Bethune area residents to attend Kershaw County Board of School Trustees the meetings and voice their opposition to the possible school closings.

Councilman Don Witham reported on the repair and painting of the town water tower and the grant the town hopes to get to help pay for the project.

“We’re still waiting on word for our grant to paint the tank. We’ll know sometime between the first and 15th of May. The cost is $88,000, but the grant would pay about $55,000 of it, leaving the balance the town will have to pick up,” Witham said. “Even if we don’t get the grant we have got to go ahead. We have no choice.”

Witham said a problem bigger than the tank is the age and condition of the rest of the water system and repairs could run as high as $4 million.

“We would probably have to stage how that is repaired in the different sections of town. I don’t think we can get a grant for that amount,” he said. “We’ll probably have to stagger grants that help us out each year for at least a portion of it, but we have to get started some time.”  

McCoy also reported on a problem with cats and dogs overturning trash cans in town and scattering the contents searching for food.

“Normally, as a rule, it’s on the weekends, but now it’s pretty well every day. There’s a lot of cat food cans in there. I don’t know who’s feeding the cats, but somebody’s spending a lot of money. I picked up 35 to 40 empty cat food cans at one time out of one trash can,” McCoy said, adding he spoke to a county animal control officer about the problem. “He said, please don’t feed these cats. He said that just creates a nuisance, making them breed and the population’s going to get bad. He said a cat will not starve to death. A cat will find something to eat.”

McCoy also announced that Bethune water customers would soon experience low water pressure for approximately a half day while a valve at the water tower is replaced.

“Before the tank can be painted, we have to replace that valve. It’s probably going to take about half a day, but we’re not sure what day it’s on,” he said.

Council also approved a $300 expenditure to purchase straw to be placed around trees and bushes in the town park.


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