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A report from the Town of Gaston’s May town council meeting

Gaston, SC (Gail Fallaw) Gaston Town Council held their regular monthly meeting Tuesday, May 1st at the Gaston Police Department. Mayor Troy Bivens gaveled the meeting to order, welcomed visitors, and the minutes from the April meeting were read and approved with one minor change.

Police Chief Shawn Mohundro gave his April report. During April, the police officers had 249 public contacts and 271 calls for service. They had ten arrest warrants issued and served. The chief gave council members a proposal to hire a part-time officer at a minimal expense to the town. Members discussed the cost and other factors to consider and a motion was made and seconded to table the discussion.

May 1st at 5 p.m. was the deadline for sealed bids to be submitted for landscaping and lawn maintenance for the town of Gaston and for cleaning the Gaston Town Hall and Civic Center. Mayor Bivens opened the sealed bids during the meeting and members reviewed and discussed them. There was only one bid received for cleaning, and that bid was from the person who is currently performing those tasks. Since there were no other bids received, council members approved continuing to use that person at a cost of $350 monthly.

Mayor Bivens then opened the sealed bids they received for landscaping and lawn maintenance. Bids ranged from approximately $18,000 to $50,000 annually. Some bids appeared to include more services and materials than others. After discussing this, the council decided to get some clarification from some of the companies before the next meeting so that they could make informed and accurate comparisons before awarding the contract.

The mayor proposed a work session to review and discuss the 2nd reading on Zoning Ordinances and a 2nd Reading on the Land Development plan. This proposed work session was approved by the council. The dates and times were not decided.

The town clerk presented financial reports for April and advised council that they need to schedule budget meetings to plan for next fiscal year. The town is currently $11,000 under budget for 2017/2018 fiscal year with the exception of the police department. The council thought they had approved an adjustment to capital expenditures previously but that was not reflected in the figures they were presented. They believed that once those changes were made to the accounting, the financials would reflect that the police department is currently operating $4,150 over budget as opposed to the $10,000 which is shown now. The additional expenditures in the PD budget were in part as a result of increases in the cost of building liability insurance and LawTrak (police software) fees. They also had an officer who went from part-time to full-time which increased the cost of salaries and benefits.

Lexington County Council Member Scott Whetstone spoke briefly to the group about expansion in the county and about roads, including costs and conditions under which dirt roads can be paved. That was received as information only by the council.

Some council members said that they are aware and concerned that youngsters are climbing on top of the caboose at the park and wanted to know what can be done to prevent it. There were several remedies discussed including removing the rails of the ladder or covering them with expanded metal. No decision was made on that issue.

The council was told that two new businesses are to be moving in to the shopping center where the Dollar Tree is located. One is a mattress store and the other business will sell pastries and bakery items.

The next regular town meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 5th at 6 p.m.

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