Camden City Council recognized Pat Wylie at its meeting Tuesday night for 34 years of service as conductor of the Camden Community Concert Band. Wylie, a Furman University and University of South Carolina graduate, once served as Camden Middle School’s band director and is a member of the Camden Rotary Club. Wylie also conducts the Rotary Club Singers.
Mayor Tony Scully presented Wylie with a certificate and key to the city.
“Pat Wylie is hanging up his baton after many years of filling the Camden community with music. We are pleased to honor him … and wish him luck in future endeavors,” Scully said.
Wylie thanked his family and friends for their support through the years.
“When we moved here, we moved because we wanted to be a part of this community. We are proud to still be a part (of the community) … I am deeply honored and I thank you so much,” Wylie said.
Also Tuesday, council passed three ordinances connected to the use of hospitality tax (HTAX) funds. The first two ordinances passed their second and final readings, 4-1, with Councilman Willard Polk voting against. The first ordinance authorizes the city to issue HTAX fee revenue bonds. The second ordinance authorizes the issuance of such a bond, for up to $700,000, to purchase the Ross Beard Jr. military collection.
Polk asked when the city would know the full inventory of Beard’s collection and its appraised value. City Manager Mel Pearson reminded Polk that the majority of the collection has already been appraised at $2 million, and that the remainder of the collection is still being inventoried and appraised.
“Although this may be a great asset to the city, thus far we talked about the rate of return to our investors with historic Camden, the Equine Park, the Fine Arts Center, etc.,” Polk said, explaining his reasons for voting against the purchase. “I haven’t seen an analysis for the rate of return on this collection … I am opposed, once again, of using tax payer dollars to be able to afford the private collection of a private individual when so often these collections are donated to the public entity.”
Council, including Polk, did vote in favor of first reading of an ordinance that would allow the city to purchase 950 Broad St., atop which the King Hagler Clock Tower sits. If the ordinance passes second reading at council’s next meeting, the city will expend $200,000 in HTAX funds to purchase the building.
“This makes sense, to resolve the ownership issue and to refurbish that facility for some future use … and to enhance downtown Camden,” Pearson said. “Arnett Muldrow, our marketing consultant, expressed the need to purchase the property.”
Councilman Polk expressed his approval of the purchase before the vote.
“This is a worthy purchase for the city. I know a lot of folks in this community have talked about buying this property. This is a good use of hospitality tax money,” Polk said.
In other business, Tourism Development Director Suzi Sale presented an update on two tourism grants.
Sale reported that the grants are collectively worth approximately $114,700. A Tourism Advertising Grant was awarded by the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for $37,350. The grant will specifically go towards marketing the “Classically Carolina” brand launch. The grant will be matched dollar for dollar by the city.
The second grant awards $20,000, with an equal match by the city, to the Friends of the Camden Archives and Museum project to market the Beard collection, as well as genealogical research and other Camden Archives and Museum’s exhibits.
Sale also reported on the development of a marketing plan for a series of billboards along highways heading toward Camden. In conjunction with those billboards, an 800 number will be activated and used for the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.
“We will be able to use this to measure our advertising performance,” Sale said.
Other items on Tuesday’s agenda included:
• City Manager Mel Pearson recognized Amy Stenger for writing a successful Justice Assistance Grant. The S.C. Department of Public Safety awarded $8,696 to the city for the purchase of a body microphone. The grant was matched by the city with $966. “This grant will purchase equipment of police officer under cover efforts,” Pearson said.
• Council unanimously passed second reading of an ordinance authorizing Mayor Scully to execute a new employment agreement between the city and Pearson.
• Council unanimously approved a $2,045.55 façade grant application with a city match of $1,022.77 for 818 Broad St.
• Council also unanimously approved an $18,900 façade grant application with a city match of $9,450 for the Ole Timey Meat Market. The market will be located at 405 Rutledge St. “I think it would be very beneficial to the city to have this meat market in town,” Councilwoman Alfred Mae Drakeford said.
• Council approved a Leader’s Legacy Recognition bench to be installed in honor of Dr. F.N. McCorkle Jr. “He has been practicing medicine for 60 years and is probably one of the most beloved doctors in this city,” Scully said.
• Council cancelled its July 8 meeting; council will, therefore, next meet on July 22.