By: RON BAXLEY JR. T&D Correspondent
DENMARK – The City of Denmark has applied for approximately $2.3 million dollars in total state and federal funds to modernize its aging water system, as announced at the October city council meeting.
City Administrator Heyward Robinson stated, “The City of Denmark has applied for funding from the Rural Infrastructure Fund ($1,650,000) and from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund ($615,000) to modernize the Denmark Water System. Total project funding is $2,265,000. We expect to receive the funding.”
Robinson added, “The funding is for replacement of aging water mains throughout the Public Works system. The project includes three new well treatment systems, abandonment of three wells, and installation of automatic flushing devices at critical places within the public water system.”
Councilwoman Hope Long Weldon asked about the sources of the funding.
Robinson said the Rural Infrastructure Fund is set up by the state of S.C. with money from the federal government and that the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund comes from S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.
“The three wells to be abandoned include Cox Mill Well, Legare Street Well and the well at the Brooker Center. We do not use any of these wells and have not used them for some time. The abandonment process includes cementing the well shafts and capping the well. Pumping devices will be removed,” Robinson said.
Mr. Michael J. Kroll of the U.S. Census Bureau gave a presentation early in the meeting and stated that his office predicts low participation from the City of Denmark in the 2020 Census.
Kroll stated that 20 years ago Denmark had a 54-percent response rate and that in 2010, the city had a 67-percent response rate.
“Better but still below the state average,” Kroll said.
Robinson said, “I think that the increase in response rates is a direct result of the work and enthusiasm of the (City) Complete Count Committee that was established in 2010. We can do even better in 2020.”
Kroll also showed a map with color-coded, anticipated low participation areas, and the City of Denmark was colored in as a potential, low-participation area.
Councilman Calvin Odom emphasized the importance of the public participating in the census.
“We live in a predominantly African American county. People gave their lives for us to vote,” Odom said.
He said that people should also participate in the census and see it as important as voting.
Kroll mentioned the importance of participation in the census because of the appropriation of $675 billion in federal dollars based on census numbers and the extra political power it can mean for a state.
“In the last census, we picked up an additional congressional seat with Sen. Tim Rice,” Kroll said.
Funding for children may also be an issue when it comes to the census.
“10 years ago, we missed over 1 million kids over the country,” Kroll said.
Kroll stated that the Census Bureau is are making it easier to participate in the census by having citizens do one of the following:
• Pick up the phone and call an 800 number
• Go online and participate
He said letters go out from the U.S. Census Bureau on March 12, 2020. He also said a postcard would go out as well as a questionnaire.
In other business:
• Robinson said, “The new Denmark City Hall is under construction. Chris Pritchard, President of Query Pritchard Construction Company, has passed. The Query Pritchard Company will continue to work on the new city hall … Best wishes for Pritchard’s family. We are sorry for their loss.
“The new city hall has now been carpeted. Most of the cabinets are up … The doors are in storage, and the furniture is in storage … The main thing is getting the company to do the site work,” Robinson said.
He said that paving at the site and sewer hook-up, for example, still needed to be done.
• Mayor Gerald Wright said, “If you’ve driven on Progressive Way, you will notice the progress made on a housing project.”
Wright said the city is providing basic services for the housing project, that they assisted with getting it in Denmark and that they are happy with the progress being made and will continue to look for ways to accommodate the citizens.
• Police Chief Leroy Grimes said the department had 39 new cases, including simple assault, aggravated assault, burglary, theft of a motor vehicle, vandalism of property, drug violation, liquor law violation, trespass of real property, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, driving under suspension and traffic collision.
Grimes also said the police department is hosting a “Treat or Treat Hallowganza” for the children of Denmark on Thursday, Oct. 31 from 5:30 to 7p.m. at the gazebo at Jim Harrison Park.
• Charles Michael Shugart, Director of Public Works, said, “We had 10 leaks in the month of September … We replaced two lines … we also abandoned one line.”
Robinson said, “Shugart has had the whole water system mapped electronically.”
He added that the public works employees have the maps accessible on their smartphones. Weldon, chair of Public Works, said, “We are making progress in the areas we need to be making progress.”
She added that she was glad Robinson mentioned earlier in the meeting the federal and state dollars heading toward improvement of the Denmark water system.
• Councilman Calvin Odom said that his committee is still working on the city garden, but they encountered a roadblock on their walking trail planning and that they will be working on that.
• Rusty Munoz, city accountant, gave the financial report and said, “Financially, we are in good shape.”
• Robinson, in the absence of the fire chief, said that the department went on 35 calls for the month. He also gave the city’s condolences to the family of Lonnie Gibson, a fireman for the city who recently passed away.
• The Denmark Christmas parade is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7, at 1 p.m., with lineup happening at Voorhees Road.