By Al Dozier
The expected vote at Tuesday’s council meeting to authorize a feasibility study on a plan to have the town of Irmo take over sewer services now provided by Blue Granite Water Co. was deferred as the town considered a possible new source of funding the $30,000 plan.
For months the council has been pondering the dramatic move to take charge of services now provided by Blue Granite, a company that has been under fire for poor services and high rates. The first step for a take-over would be to approve a contract with Hybrid Engineering to conduct a study that would provide the town with some guidance on what would be involved in such a move.
But the council decided to defer action on that plan to see if the cost could be covered by the new COVED 19 relief bill that contains millions for local governments throughout the nation.
Mayor Barry Walker said the town of Irmo could get as much as $4.6 million.
Could the town use that money to pay for the feasibility study?
How those funds, designed for COVID relief efforts, are to be allocated remains to be seen Town officials said it’s not clear if the cost of the proposed feasibility for the Blue Granite take-over would qualify.
The council agreed to defer the decision until the April 20 meeting and have town officials determine if the relief money could be used for the study.
In other action during Tuesday’s meeting, the council had a lengthy discussion on a proposed new skate park after several residents complained that the residential area in Friarsgate was not the appropriate location.
“The skate part would be in our backyard, “complained one resident. Irmo resident Clint Davis said the park would bring traffic and road noise to the residential community.
Councilman Bill Danielson said the town needs a “master plan” for the skate park and the other projects planned for the same area: a dog park and a garden area.
While the council agreed more planning needs to be done, the council approved the continuation of a plan now under way by sponsors that has already begun fund raising for a project they say will have a very positive impact on Irmo.
The cost of the project is estimated at $350,000, but most of the funding is expected to come from grants and community donations. The town of Irmo would only have to pay for the infrastructure.
A proposal to rezone property along Koon Road from Planned Development to General Commercial failed to pass after concerns were raised that new retail establishments could increase traffic at a location that already has traffic problems. Those problems could eventually be addressed with road widening plans, but they have yet to be implemented. The council agreed the area should be commercial, but traffic issues needed to be addressed first.
The council approved a measure to submit a Police Radio Grant to the Department of Public Safety in the amount of $187,200.
The council adopted a proclamation recognizing the board chair of Lexington Medical Center, Dr. Tripp Jones, on the 50th Anniversary of the hospital. The hospital has emerged as a state leader in hospital services with a network of medical services. LMC currently has approximately 7,000 employees.
Jones has also been an active member of the Irmo community and a widely recognized health provider. Councilman Bill Danielson said the oncologist saved his wife’s life as she suffered from cancer, and treated his own cancer illness.
The council recognized Fully Promoted as Irmo’s Small Business of the Month.
The council also adopted a proclamation recognizing March as Hemophilia Awareness Month