Cheraw Town Council prepares to spend big money

Karen Kissiah Staff Writer

September 12, 2013

Cheraw Town Council didn’t exactly spend any money Tuesday evening, but the wheels were set in motion to spend nearly $1.72 million for the Cheraw Fire Department alone. An additional total of approximately $181,000 was unanimously approved as well, to cover four different projects around town. Councilman Randy Butler was not present for the vote.

Cheraw Town Administrator Mike Smith will have to let bids for each of the proposed purchases and projects, and their results presented to council before final votes to actually spend the money are cast.

“The most pressing needs are a new ladder truck, which could cost up to a million dollars,” said Cheraw Town Councilman Fred Harris, chairman of the finance committee, “and the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) to ensure the safety of the firefighters which will cost $175,000.”

According to Harris, “the increase of the additional funds from the Chesterfield County Rural Fire District and the savings realized from not filling a position within the Cheraw Fire Department, will enable the Town to meet the annual lease purchase payment of $96,654 for 15 years for the purchase of a new, or like new, ladder truck and SCBA equipment.”

Cheraw Fire Chief Chris Sellers said he is “looking for the best truck with the best price, if it takes six months or more.”

One of the approved projects includes painting each of the four buildings on the Town Green; Town Hall, the Lyceum, the Law Office, and Market Hall. The finance committee estimates the total cost of this project at $55,000. The money will come from the Hospitality Fund, said Harris.

Also from the Hospitality Fund, council agreed to donate $15,000 toward the renovation of the House on the Hill at Cheraw State Park. The total cost of that project is estimated at $250,000.

Walking trails at Arrowhead Park, that have been ruined by the growing root system of nearby trees, is estimated to cost $24,600 to repair, said Harris. This unanimously approved project will be funded from the Hospitality Fund, along with the paving, or re-paving, of the Cheraw Community Center parking lot. That project is estimated to cost $86,500.

Harris said the Hospitality Tax was set in place for the purpose of funding projects such as these. None of the money for these projects will come from property taxes, he said.

In other news, council deemed the Summer Concert Series successful enough to try it again. The summer events marked the first time a town sponsored event allowed adult guests to bring their own alcoholic beer or wine in coolers.

Councilman Reid McBride said, “I do not have a bit of problem with the events” and their success. “But I do still have a problem with alcohol being served with any town sponsored event.” McBride was the only council member to vote against the repeat of the program next summer.

— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, extension 224, or by email at