Irmo considers accommodation tax recipients

 By Al Dozier

Lake Murray Country would get $21,945 and the Irmo Chamber of Commerce $11,055 to promote tourism if the Irmo Town Council approves a tax advisory committee’s recommendations on the use of accommodations tax.

Approval of the recommendations was on the council’s agenda at the September 15 council meeting but the council decided to defer action after Councilman Kelly Busch requested more time to review the advisory committee’s selection process.

The council faces a deadline to approve the recommendation and will have to hold a special meeting to give final approval. The council agreed to hold a zoom meeting on September 23.

The recommendation appears to be on track for approval, but Irmo resident George Glassmeyer voiced opposition to the plan during the public comment period at Tuesday’s meeting. Glassmeyer said Lake Murray Country spends too much money on its own operations, including a $158,000 salary for its CEO.

In other action the council gave final approval to the annexation of a 10-acre site on Archer’s Lane that is the location of an abandoned cemetery. The town was asked to annex the site, owned by the Harbison Community Group, to help protect the property from intruders who sometime dig into the ground in search of artifacts.

Mayor Barry Walker Sr. said the cemetery is actually a historical site where some 20 to 30 African Americans, including some well-known leaders, are buried. The town plans to work with other organizations in the community to clean up the site and maintain it as a historical attraction.

During the public comment period, Wade Deloach of Irmo Outreach, a volunteer organization that helps the needy and disabled, said his organization will help rebuild the site.

The council also gave final reading to an ordinance that reduces the number of required readings to pass an ordinance from three, to two. The council sought the change after concluding three readings should not be required because of the extra time it takes.

The council also gave second-reading approval to an ordinance that provides the town with authority to conduct inspections on rental properties to make sure they are in compliance with safety regulations. The ordinance will allow town-sponsored inspections instead of relying on outside regulators to make determinations about safety issues.

The council gave second-reading approval to an ordinance to rezone a property adjacent to S.C. 60 from Neighborhood Commercial to General Commercial. Lexington Medical Center plans to build a Family Practice Facility on the property.

The council gave second reading approval to a measure that increases the annual rental registration fee from $50 to $150 and increases the penalty for non-payment from $100 to $500

Second reading approval was also given to a measure that removes the “jail time” penalty for persons charged with unsightly and unsanitary conditions. Council members said such an offense is not serious enough to justify locking a property owner up in jail.

The council approved the allocation of $250,00 for use as a loan account that would be available to the Irmo Future Growth Corporation, a newly set up organization designed to help small businesses coping with the coronavirus pandemic. Councilman Bill Danielson, who is working with a local bank to set up the program, said the final details of the program are still being addressed.

The council awarded the Small Business of the Month award to American Floral on St. Andrews Road. The selection is made by The Irmo News and the Irmo Chamber of Commerce.

The council recognized the following  new in-town businesses in Irmo: Axe Properties LLC, Salem Church Road; CISA Lubes, Lake Murray Boulevard; Cocoa Herbals, LLC, Wells Garden Court; Donte Kentrell Auto Sales, LLC, Pioneers Point Court; Mathis Transport, LLC, Broad River Road; Something Extra, Holmsbury Court; Storage Rentals of America, Lake Murray Boulevard.

During the meeting Walker introduced Derrek Pugh, a candidate for Richland County Council Seat 2, to the council. Pugh, deputy director at S.C. Youth Challenge Academy, promised to work with the town of Irmo in the future if elected. The seat is currently held by fourth-term councilwoman Joyce Dickerson.