According to Councilman Randy Butler, it was sometimes difficult to tell, as members of Cheraw Town Council and the department heads discussed key issues, whether they were “bragging or complaining.”
Jay Bennett, director of the Cheraw Recreation and Leisure Services, talked about the cavernous space available at the town’s newest municipal building, the Cheraw Complex, and the possibilities of eventually hosting regional meets for the gymnastics program. “I mean, that’s a huge space we have,” said Bennett.
“Are you bragging or complaining?” Butler quipped.
“Oh, no sir. I’m not complaining!” Bennett answered.
But in fact, some of the issues discussed during Cheraw Town Council’s annual retreat last week at Cheraw State Park, did draw a fine line between asset and obligation. The retreat, said Ingram, is held each year to help us stay on track with our obligations and make the most of our assets.
Many of the key issues were not concerned with conflicting visions for the community. The biggest issues were how to pay for what is needed.
The Jaws of Life, for example, “failed to work last week when the river bridge iced over,” said Cheraw Fire Chief John L. Melton. They cost more than $25,000 to replace. A new ladder truck for the fire department has been on the wish list for several years and it was noted that self-contained breathing apparatus for firefighters cost $175,000 each. “We had a failure with one of those recently too,” said Melton.
Suggestions for 2013 included the installation of a protective counter at Town Hall, as well as proper software that would enable the town to accept debit or credit card payments. Mayor Andy Ingram suggested all building codes and other ordinances be posted on the Town’s website so they will be more accessible to the public.
Cheraw Police Chief Jay Brooks told council it would be nice to offer “competitive salaries” for potential police officers. “I’m worried about the long term of my profession,” he said. An officer must be 21 years old, “before I can even talk to him or her about being on the force,” Brooks said. “And too often, by that age, they’ve either gone to college, gone in the service, started a training program at TEC (Northeastern Technical College) and are making more money than they would on the force; and I have nothing to offer them. I used to be able to tell them … at least the retirement is good. But that’s not really true anymore either.”
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at email@example.com.