A request for Cheraw Town Council’s financial support of the National Night Out event scheduled for Oct. 7, prompted more conversation than any other subject at Tuesday’s regular meeting.
Council member Jacqueline Ellerbe-Shannon, who is working with Cheraw Police Chief Keith Thomas to organize the event, said they are hoping to make this year’s event “bigger and better” than previous years. Ellerbe-Shannon told council members last week she hoped to get more than last year’s contribution of $1,500.
Cheraw Town Administrator Mike Smith suggested the funding remain the same. And when Councilman Reid McBride made the motion to fund the request at $1,500, Councilman Randy Butler seconded it.
In the discussion that followed, Ellerbe-Shannon said she was “asking for at least $500 more. We want to make this a big community event, forging relationships. We plan to invite neighboring communities and their leaders.”
“Is there a budget for this? And what kind of things do you need the money for?” asked Butler. “Is there going to be a bounce house? Or a DJ?”
“Well, we have to have something for the kids,” said Thomas, adding that the price of a bounce house is between $250 and $300.
There are also costs associated with sponsoring the event itself.
“In other words,” said Thomas, “we have to pay for the banner and the items that we get from the National Night Out organization.”
One of those items this year will be individual fingerprinting and DNA swab kits, said Thomas. The swabs would be something the parents could seal and keep if ever needed.
“The National Night Out is a perfect opportunity for me to introduce myself and my young staff to citizens,” said Thomas.
Smith suggested the council consider altering the motion to give a cap of $2,000.
Though McBride said the event is “very worthwhile,” he did not change his motion.
“I’d like to see more businesses downtown help sponsor the event. Maybe if they had a vested interest, they would become more involved,” McBride said. “And I’d like to help get that started with a donation from my business.”
The request for $1,500 passed 4-2, with Ingram and Ellerbe-Shannon voting against it. Councilman John K. Melton was not present for the vote.
In other business, the council passed a resolution authorizing Gel Engineering to provide necessary services for the EPA brownfields grant. Public disclosure laws require it to be known that members of Ellerbe-Shannon’s family live in the ACL neighborhood for which a portion of the grant has been requested to improve.
“This is just to make sure no conflict of interest arises,” said Smith.
Rivers Plumbing and Electric will be removing the beam at the Cheraw Gymnastics building of the Cheraw Complex.
— Reach Staff Writer Karen Kissiah at 843-537-5261.