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Loris City Council approves a second reading of the budget

By Annie Rigby

The Loris City Council met on Monday, July 6, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss issues with the budget and met again at 6 p.m. for the Regular City Council Meeting for July.

Council members present at both meetings were Joan Gause, Lewis Hardee, Carroll D. Padgett Jr., Mike Suggs and Jan Vescovi, with Mayor Todd Harrelson presiding over the meeting. Department heads present were Loris Police Chief Gary Buley, Loris Fire Chief Jerry Hardee, Brandon Harrelson, director of facilities, Kenneth Moss, city attorney and operations, and Amanda Causey, acting clerk. Present via Zoom social media program was LPD Lt. Larry Williams. Terrence Hardee was not present at the meeting; however, he contacted Mayor Harrelson stating that he is in favor of the proposed budget for fiscal year 2020-21.

Interruption to the internet caused a pause in the meeting prior to roll call.

The mayor’s report consisted of an update on the COVID-19 virus and McLeod Loris Hospital administrator, Scott Montgomery, stated that more testing results in more cases. Inpatient hospitalizations have fluctuated, however, the inpatient hospitalization has fluctuated and at this time they are at the same at this time as they were last month. They do have adequate ventilators and availability of resources and care for patients that are admitted to the hospital. The mayor said, “Scott wanted the community to know that they will take care of whatever problems that arise.”

He reported there were no tournaments held over the holiday weekend. He said, “It was a well needed break for the people who work at the Loris sports complex.” On Saturday, July 11, the North Carolina Triple S Sport Association (NC USSSA) will host tournaments at the complex, no details were available for the day’s event, all residents of Loris are encouraged to stop by to watch a game, eat a burger and enjoy seeing how the Sportourism impacts the city.

Loris Police Department’s, Chief Buley addressed council. He said, “I have the normal report that I give out every month that shows the cost of our service.” Buley said, “I want to put out that Loris police department was involved in that big operation from the beginning to end.” He stated this was the first big operation the department has been involved in from beginning to end. He said, “Twenty-eight subjects will be indicted federally which will help the area reduce the crimes going on in and around Loris, this is a good outcome.” Buley commended Lt. Larry Williams for his part in the DEU taskforce.

Loris Fire Chief Jerry Hardee said, “We managed to survive the weekend. The month of June, on our records, was one of the busiest months that we have ever had in the history of the fire department;” he continued, “we are not slacking up, and people have had no problems in dialing 911.” The mayor said, “Loris Fire Department has had more calls and is the busiest in the state.” Hardee stated that this month (July) has already started off the same way.

Brandon Harrelson stated that his department is good and he will have an extra-long report next month.

The mayor said, “The new business is to adopt a resolution to recognize Dennis Drozdak who was our acting city administrator for ten months.” At this time Causey read into record the proclamation honoring Drozdak. It states in part, Drozdak became Interim City Administrator on August 12, 2019, who served diligently in this position since that time. The proclamation states “He gave generously of his time and efforts serving the City of Loris in a dedicated manner”; he turned dreams into reality through the recreation department improving facilities and fields opening the door for Sportourism; made the Christmas season brighter leading the way for the city to have larger light displays turning downtown into a Winter Wonderland; he was a visionary and was instrumental in the creation of the City of Loris Arts and Film Commission; he provided the employees of the city with a foundation and abundance of knowledge to build and improve upon. It continues, on June 30, 2020, Drozdak resigned the position, whereas be it resolved that the Mayor and the City Council wish to express their deep appreciation of Drozdak for his outstanding service to the city. The proclamation was unanimously approved and adopted on Monday, July 6, 2020.

The second reading of ordinance 07-20, an ordinance to adopt a budget for the city of Loris for the fiscal year 2020-21 ending June 30, 2021, was read into record by Causey. The mayor stated that the discussion in the 5:30 p.m. meeting held on Monday, July 6; where upon Padgett’s response was muffled and inaudible by his wearing what is referred to as a duck mask PPE. Padgett and Suggs made suggestions to change the wording on specific pages. Padgett made a motion to approve the budget for the second reading with the correction of one typographical error on page one of the ordinance, the rest of his sentence was inaudible; all of council approved, the motion passed. The mayor asked for a motion on the second reading of the ordinance to adopt the budget for fiscal year 2020-21; motion made and approved unanimously by council.

The first reading of the ordinance 09-20 was read into record by Causey. An ordinance to amend the city of Loris code of ordinances to separate the offices and duties of the city’s clerk/treasurer into a city clerk and a city treasurer. It states in part that the council has determined it is in the best interest of the city to separate the duties of the city clerk and the city treasurer in order that the council will have more flexibility in staffing the respective positions with persons best suited for the duties of the two positions. The ordinance shall take effect following its first reading and final adoption, effective from July 6, 2020, and shall continue in effect during the next twelve months of the fiscal year 2020-21. Suggested corrections to the four page ordinance were made by Padgett and Suggs. Padgett suggested that with the corrections and the provision there are no additions to be made that council adopt the first reading of the ordinance. The first reading of the ordinance was unanimously approved.

The mayor and the city council are working on how to handle the duties of the city administrator until a city administrator is hired.

The council meetings have been open to the public and the media through the social media program Zoom. Keith Massey, clerk of court, is responsible for setting up the meeting and controlling the program during the meetings. Monday’s meeting had glitches in the system with HTC internet interruption and council speaking at times was inaudible. I personally asked Amanda Causey to use my recording device during the meeting for accuracy in reporting the Loris City Council meetings. The Loris Times wishes to thank Causey for her willingness to assist in making the audio available.

About Annie Rigby