Mr. Young Dendy of Clintonappealed to the Laurens Commission of Public Works yesterday for an exception to a policy. He owns a building that is set up as a restaurant and bar at 758 East Main, which is just outside the city limits. The CPW sent him a letter last fall that due to lack of use of the water tap over the past two years, his service would be disconnected in 15 days.
Meanwhile, he now has someone wanting to rent the building for a restaurant and bar. Dendy said he knew he would have to pay $200 to get service reconnected, but he didn’t know that he would have to sign an agreement to be annexed into the city. Board Chairman Parker Moore asked General Manager Dale Satterfield if the CPW had made any exceptions to the policy. Satterfield replied they had not, asking how would we explain an exception to people we didn’t give an exception to. Dale Satterfield said most city utilities inSouth Carolinahave this policy as a tool to aid in annexation, in light of the very difficult annexation laws in the state, and noted the State Supreme Court has upheld the policy twice.
Jimmy Hodges of Laurens also addressed the Commissioners. He said he moved back to Laurens about three years ago after being out of town for about 40 years. He said that for the last two years, he’s been looking for a location to operate a bar and restaurant. He said that he has been looking for a site that is not in the City Limits “And I have been advised by former officials and employees of the city that if you want to do a bar, the best thing you can do is not locate in the city. I looked at a couple buildings in the city but they advised me not to.”
Hodges said he signed an agreement to rent the 758 East Main location, not aware it would have to be annexed into the city to get water service restored, and asked the a waiver of the policy. “I know for a fact that if there had been notice in that letter Mr. Dendy would have responded if there was any mention of annexing into the city and all we’re asking is that ya’ll do the right thing, accept the unintentional mistake of both parties and leave the property in the county.”
Hodges spoke more about not wanting to operate a bar inside the city limits “Cities change things fast. I ended up loosing everything I’d worked for my whole life partly because of the City ofGreenvillemaking bad decisions. I mean when you tell somebody you can’t sit in a chair while they smoke a cigarette outside in a designated smoking area or you can’t drink a cup of water while you’re smoking a cigarette that is ignorance.”
In other comments about the matter, General Manager Dale Satterfield said that if Mr. Young had responded to the letter noting meters were being removed, the issue of having to agree to come into the city limits could have been explained.
CPW Attorney Don Hocker said he understands the problem with Mr. Young not understanding the full implications of letting his service lapse, but noted that ignorance of the law is no excuse for not having to follow it.
Dale Satterfield said most city utilities inSouth Carolinahave this policy as a tool to aid in annexation, in light of the very difficult annexation laws in the state, and noted the State Supreme Court has upheld the policy twice.
CPW Chairman Parker Moore questioned General Manager Dale Satterfield about the history on this policy, and was told that in 15 years some 100 annexations have been involved. Satterfield noted that the State Supreme Court has approved the annexation provision in two rulings.
In other business yesterday, the Commission of Public Works approved a modification of the Employment Policy to allow the General Manager to use retired personnel to fill in temporarily when needed. Dale Satterfield noted the current situation where retirements have left two of seven critical water treatment personnel unfilled. The revision to the policy requires the Manager ask the board ahead of such hiring, except in emergency situations.