Bennettsville City Council members learned about the first phase of reopening the city at their Tuesday monthly meeting.
City Administrator Max Alderman discussed the plan at the meeting, which was done by telephone.
He noted city officials were following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, and executive orders from Gov. Henry McMaster.
McMaster issued executive order 2020-34, which authorized restaurants “to begin providing limited indoor, on-premise customer dining on May 11.” The order rescinded restrictions on beaching and rafting of boats.
Mayor Dr. Carolyn Prince issued a proclamation rescinding the citywide curfew on May 14.
Alderman said it was “to help facilitate the economic recovery and revitalization of the City of Bennettsville in a safe, strategic, and incremental manner.”
According to the city’s plan, city facilities will begin to reopen on June 1. Alderman said Plexiglas barriers have been installed at the City Hall and the utility building.
“Department heads will individually adjust their operations toward a more normal mode,” he said.
Some operations and activities may be limited by continuing executive orders such as recreation, public events, and Municipal Court.
The emergency ordinance approved by the council on March 31 allowing electronic meetings will automatically expire on May 31.
The regular June 16 meeting will be open to the public as required by statute.
Alderman said the meeting will be held in the courtroom at the Public Safety Complex.
“The sound is good in this room and it is large enough to allow for social distancing,” he said.
McMaster rescinded the request that utilities refrain from service cutoffs on May 13.
Alderman noted that as of Tuesday, the cutoff list for city utilities included 977 accounts with a total owed amount of $357,133.
The non-COVID or typical cutoff list included 275 accounts with a total owed amount of $102,525.
Alderman said, based on this information, the city has an increase of 702 accounts with $254,608 owed due to cut off restrictions.
“We are preparing a recommendation for dealing with this issue and will include it on the June regular meeting agenda,” he said. “All customers will be required to pay or will be subject to cutoff at some point in time.”
The city will continue to implement changes as required by the state and regulatory agencies.
“Our top priority is the continuing mitigation of the spread of the virus and the protection of our employees,” Alderman said.
Mandatory face masks requirements will continue for city employees as well as social distancing in all areas.
Alderman recognized employees’ anniversaries with the city in May:
Andrew Arrington, electric, one year; Wade Cheves, fire, 16 years; William (Kell) Hall, police, 15 years; Timothy Hood, police, 18 years; Clemon Parker, public works, 16 years; Julian Kimrey, wastewater, 12 years; Michael David, planning and zoning, three years; Wing Kin Lui, police, two years; Marques Stanton, public works, five years; Morris Smith, gas, 16 years; Elisabeth McNiel, recreation, two years; Austin Shelley, electric, two years; Grover “Pete” Wilkes, administration, two years; Billy Smith, public works, two years; and Larry Stivender, police, one year.
In other business, council members:
— unanimously approved the second reading and passage of an ordinance annexing 556 Terrace Drive.
— unanimously approved the second reading and passage of an ordinance rezoning 211 Parsonage Street from A-2, two-family residential to U-1 Industrial.