Mayor Frank McClary spoke at the Monthly Town Council Meeting on April 16, 2020 on Facebook about the many findings that will be involved in the structure of the new municipal public safety complex, its brick modern design and the large footprint to make changes for the future.
“We have quite a few things to cover today,” the mayor said. And we will talk briefly about COVID-19 and its impact on the community.”
He then called the meeting to order and the members joined in the pledge of allegiance, followed by roll call. The mayor noted a motion to accept the minutes as written from the March 19 monthly town council. The motion carried, unanimously.
Moving on to new business, the mayor said the town is in the design phase for the Municipal Public Safety Complex Construction and the next phase will be the design build phase.
“Most of the structure is brick in the modern design with up top outlines where the departments are,” the mayor said. “The building is vacating in preparation for demolition and the relocation site for two buildings has been agreed with GMK for the design phase which will offer some discussion about more space and the price will go up. We have a very good relationship with this company.”
Mayor McClary said the town hall was a part of the assessment as the town hall was not safe or secure. “The funds were designed for the police and fire stations and we were fortunate to get $150,000 through the state through Senator Saab and two months ago a verbal approval for another $150,000 by Representative Carl Anderson.
“The town hall is not taking any room from the police department or fire department,” the mayor said. He also said there are sleep bays for the fire department, “which expands beyond anything we have right now and the police department accommodates 9 employees as well as an evidence room, shower and small kitchenette for their purpose. The front of the buildings facing towards Morgan where it is now and green space have been designed for the citizens of Andrews with a great appeal designed with walkways and a few trees.”
Much of the discussion from town council members revolved around who helped design the layout of this plan and Mayor McClary said there were two processes, a committee to work on the contract and a staff that provided the information.
“We had a start point then presented it to the head of the police and fire departments then a contract was selected,” he said. “Most of the discussion was on the desire of the fire department to be on Morgan.“
According to the mayor, day to day operations to accommodate any other location the design would not accommodate the town and this design has the ability to expand in the future.” We have the opportunity to change any design flaws as we can speak up as we go.”
Some members, including Rob Stamper and Angela Anderson, expressed concern about the flat roof.
“There are two types of flat roofs,” Stamper said, adding one that leaks and one that is going to leak”. I am going be focused on the fire department. I am worried about the size of the bays; we have 3 bays and we currently have 4 fire trucks. “
The mayor explained how the input came from the chiefs at that time, the company came out and spent a lot of time discussing the lay out and all the input was incorporated into the design. “What we don’t want to do is provide space for what we don’t use,” he said.
“It is not a flat roof,” the mayor stated. “This is not the first structure this company built and we will not let this happen.”
This is a large footprint the mayor said. “It is much more modernized and suited for the future,” the mayor said.
The money is collected from across the county for a structure so the building is designed to accommodate these structures, it was not about 50-50 police department/fire department,” the mayor said.
“As council we have to look at the town and say here’s the critical need I understand your concern and the weight of the priorities. We have a great complex coming,” the mayor said. “The weight of the priority is what we looked out.”
Moving ahead to the financial report, Kenneth Cobb and Company CPA Mrs. Brenda Jackson, said for the nine-months ended March 31 the town’s general fund revenues is at 98 percent with the major collections, including real property taxes, having coming in in the last few months.
Jackson said the administration department paid this month $103,894 for one large item, SC insurance reserve fund, which was an increase over what was expected based on hurricane and storms.
“The police department is at about 75% of where we expected and the fire department purchased supplies and small equipment $10,132 for small items that were needed,” she said. “The water and sewer department water revenues total $632,00, which is 84 percent of the expected budget. Overall, the income is $1.3 million for the water and sewage.”
The mayor pointed out he reviewed the budget with the new director of public works, Mr. Tommy Rivers and said they both went over public works and took a great hard look at this thing. “He’s done some great work here to have the public works department up and running in the next 30 days,” the mayor said. “A lot of great work already there and more to follow.”
Mayor McClary then elaborated on the Capital Project Sales Tax Referendum, discussed last week, and said the town council would take a hard look at what the town would need to improve operations around town. Three projects in terms of priority are to be submitted to the commission by April 24. The top three include 1) water and sewer; 2) storm mitigation project and 3) roads and streets in the town of Andrews.
He said these projects include a lot of sub-sets that need to be addressed and 25 miles each of water and sewer pipelines also need to be addressed. “The clearer we are about our unmet needs, the better our chances are of getting those needs addressed,” he said.
“The bottom line is for every sale over the next 8 years, if this is passed, 1 cent out of every purchase or sale will go into a kitty managed by the state and we anticipate somewhere between $80 to 100 million to address the priority set out by the commission,” the mayor said.
“We expect there to be a lot of discussion about this. We have a study ongoing and is ready to go as we’ve done a lot of work upfront,” he said adding, that’s where we are. We’ll go ahead and get a motion and get the motion Capital Project Sales Tax Referendum, voted.
The vote on the top three priorities passed unanimous on this item.
Mayor McClary also emphasized the current virus COVID-19 ordinance from the town and the governor are out there. “We still have businesses that are closed and the challenges we have right now include we still have large groups gathering which violates several ordinances, especially businesses. I have instructed the Andrews Police Department about these large groups of kids that are coming together since no one is to be out. That order is still in place.”
“All of these measures are to save lives; the numbers that are testing positive are increasing,” he said. There are more concerns such as the eviction notices, no one has been evicted although there have been calls about threats of eviction; the business owners should give the renters some leniency.”
He also said citizens should call in to reach some kind of short-term agreement if they can’t pay their bills.
“Our #1 focus is for the town to continue to do business while we try and help to save lives,” the mayor said.