RIDGEWAY — After an unexpected departure of police officer James Ashford, the Town of Ridgeway is on the hunt to add a new officer.
Council recently hired a second part-time officer to subsidize the use of one full-time officer, but after the abrupt departure of James Ashford, Ridgeway is now left with one part-time officer again.
According to Mayor Charlene Herring, Ashford gave the town notice on Sept. 19 that he would be leaving in search of full-time work. Herring also said Ridgeway is now taking applications for a new part-time officer.
In the absence of Ashford, officer Donald Johnson gave the security report. Following his report, Johnson asked council to consider promoting him to the rank of lieutenant. He also requested a computer and copy/fax machine for the police department, as well as the repair of the radio and radar in the police vehicle.
“I know this is a small town, but a bunch of equipment is needed,” Johnson said.
Council did not make any decisions to approve or deny Johnson’s request.
In regular session, council discussed a request from a citizen regarding a special exception on a water bill.
The bill doubled from $70 to $180 and the citizen believes there might be a leak. The resident is on a fixed income and is concerned there might be a problem with the new meter the town installed. The request came along with the waiving of any late fee as well.
Ridgeway’s town clerk believes the problem does not involve the meter, which was put in at no cost to the resident.
Councilman Doug Porter recommended plumbers put a valve on the water line going to the residence to help indicate if there is a leak. Porter believes there is a leak since the resident has no history of a high bill, and it just needs to be determined if the leak is in the residence’s water line or in the city’s water line.
The motion to allow the resident to pay the average cost of their bill until it can be determined if there is a leak was unanimously approved.
In new business, council approved the final readings of amendments to ordinances that add horses and goats to the kinds of livestock prohibited in town limits, increased the fine to $500 if soliciting prostitution and increased the fine to $500 if committing disorderly acts in public places or on the streets in town limits.
Councilwoman Belva Bush updated council on a Palmetto Pride grant that was awarded and will give the Town of Ridgeway 20 trees to plant in front of Geiger Elementary School.
“They should be beautiful in front of the school and we’re excited about that,” Bush said.
Students will assist teachers with the planting of the trees.
The Community Actions Committee hosted a meeting on gang awareness and prevention on Oct. 3.
“Not as many people came out as I would have liked,” Bush noted. “But the message was intense just the same.”
In addition to the gang awareness meeting, the committee has set up a neighborhood crime watch on Nov. 7 from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the Century House.
On Oct. 22 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m the Century House will be the site for an educational session to provide information on options under the Affordable Care Act. Bush encouraged those who do not have insurance, are a small business owner or are self employed to attend.
“We ask that all of the community come out and ask all the questions they have concerning new health care,” Bush stated.
Ridgeway’s food drive will continue through Nov. 15. Food donations can be dropped off at Ridgeway Town Hall, Ridgeway Police Department or any Ridgeway area merchant. Bush told council that all donations would go toward helping feed a local resident in Ridgeway.
“We’re hoping to get more items in so we can make food baskets to hand out,” she noted.
Councilman Donald Prioleau updated council on the status of Pig on the Ridge on Nov. 1. He said 57 vendors have already signed up and all churches that have participated in past years will be participating again.
Christmas on the Ridge will take place Dec. 6, and is sponsored by Arts on the Ridge and Ridgeway Merchants. Nelson Lacy informed council that anyone interested in participating in the Christmas Parade must register by Nov. 7.