Mayor responds to rival; says electric rates are not going up
Mayor Bob McLean and a political rival had words and McLean said electric rates are not going up on Monday at the Clinton City Council meeting.
Ricky Martin, who challenged the Mayor unsuccessfully earlier this year, addressed council during public comment and brought up a lawsuit that alleges Clinton and Union representatives on the Piedmont Municipal Power Agency (PMPA) sold their votes.
“I read in the newspaper of a bribe taken by my major,” said Ricky Martin. “I don’t like people saying that about my mayor.”
McLean stopped Martin when his five minutes to address council was up and started to counter.
“I don’t appreciate people spreading rumors,” said McLean. “Don’t point fingers when you live in a glass house.”
McLean said Martin did not file an initial report of candidacy, a pre-election report or a statement of economic interest. He said Martin owes $5,000 in fines to the state ethics commission.
Martin was not allowed to respond, but did shout back, “$100 fine.”
McLean cited a story from patch.com for the $5,000 figure and a statement of economic interest report from the State Ethics Commission where Martin made no economic disclosures.
After the Council meeting, McLean said Martin slandered him.
“I was not named in the lawsuit,” he said. “My name is not in there. Nowhere does it say Mayor of Clinton.”
Before the dust up, Martin talked about hosting a community festival on Aug. 17-18 at Martha Dendy.
“We spend millions on a complex to $6 thousand on a clock, but nothing for Martha Dendy,” said Martin. “There has been no proposal to even put a park bench at Martha Dendy.
“What about grant money. Sell it to me. I’m adamant to get Martha Dendy back to the vibrant community it was. I hope to hear from Council.”
The meeting began with McLean reading a press release (see Page 2) meant to clarify information reported in The Clinton Chronicle about a possible electric rate increase. Although the story reported about the possibility of a 30 percent rate hike only and made it clear no action had been taken, McLean said it had everyone in town in an uproar.
“Rates are not going up,” he said.
In other business:
• Council gave unanimous approval a resolution supporting the Clinton Economic Development Corporation to secure a loan from Santee Cooper for the construction of a third speculative building. The CEDC seeks a loan not to exceed $4,900,000 and could build a 50,000 square foot or 60,000 square foot building.
“Over 85 percent of projects coming to S.C. are looking for buildings to start with,” said Economic Development Manager Marvin Moss. “Without the building, you’re not going to be competitive. These spec buildings create jobs, tax base and turn meters.”
• Council voted to make repairs to the clock located Downtown. The cost to refurbish the clock will be $6,056.20 and will come from the general fund. Verdin Company will do the work. The clock is over 20 years old and though working now is subject to fail.
“I think it adds a lot to the City,” said McLean.
• City Manager Cannon said the City is working with Urban Forester Dena Whiteside with the SC Forestry Commission on a plan for replanting trees along South Broad Street. He said he is working with DOT on getting stumps ground, side walks would be repaired and he hopes owners will let the City plant new and smaller trees on their property.
• Council gave unanimous approval to appointments to boards and commissions:
Mayor Pro Tem: Ronnie Roth
Audit Committee: Danny Cook, Shirley Jenkins, Megan Walsh
Economic Development - Full Board: Robbie Neal, Roth
Economic Development – Executive Committee (approved by Statute): Bob McLean
YMCA Board: Roth
Community Assistant Grant: Cook, Jenkins, Walsh
Gas Authority: McLean, Gary Kuykendall, Cook
Judicial: Kuykendall, Roth, Walsh
Recreation: McLean, Neal, Kuykendall
Rules: McLean, Cook, Jenkins
Council of Governments: Jenkins
• Council approved second reading of an ordinance approving the conveyance of property on the south side of W. Pitts Street. Crossfit 864 desires to acquire the property to operate a fitness facility/gymnasium. Under the conveyance, Crossfit must repair and renovate the structure and would pay all taxes and fees required to operate the business. The ordinance said that once open Crossfit will provide direct benefits to the community.
• Council passed resolution to make August Back to School Month and Connecting Cops and Communities Month.
• Council tabled the first reading of an ordinance to clean up and bring City codes up to date. Jenkins and Walsh expressed concern that they were being asked to vote on something that they were unable to review. City Manager Bill Ed Cannon said the ordinance would allow for codes to be put on the internet.
• Sherri Amick also addressed Council during public comment. She talked about several calls to the police about people trashing her property and disturbing the peace.
• After a two-hour executive session, Council took no action. Discussed were: a contractual matter relating to Laurens County School District 56, a contractual matter relating to the sale and purchase of City owned property, a legal matter relating to PMPA and a personnel matter relating to the Office of the City Manager.
• Reports and recommendations consisted mainly of kudos and accolades, road work needed and the mentioning of upcoming events, like the Flight of the Dove cycling fund-raiser for Hospice of Laurens County on Saturday.