ELLERBE – The Ellerbe Town Council held its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night September 5, 2017, at Town Hall on Page Street.
Pastor Garry Marshall opened the meeting in prayer. During citizen time, several items concerning speeding and four-wheelers were discussed.
Mayor Lee Berry invited citizens to come and be a part of the Ellerbe Downtown Merchant’s Meeting. Mark Buckeridge, Vice Chair of the Association, indicated a need to continue to get more involvement from local merchants. The meetings are held at Ellerbe Springs Inn on the last Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m.
Berry also noted that youth soccer registration has been extended, but will conclude at the end of the week.
The board then carried out the routine business of approving minutes from the August meeting, monthly bills paid and the monthly tax report. All were passed without discussion.
In new business brought to the board, a motion was approved to apply for a drinking water grant through the Lumber River Council of Governments. If approved for the grant, the city would only spend $6,250 (5%) to receive a study valued at $125,000. Berry stated,
“Due to the economic position and low population growth,” Berry said, “I’m hopeful Ellerbe will receive approval.”
The grant application is due by the end of September with notification of award status coming in March of 2018.
The Pepsi Cola Company has offered to erect a scoreboard at the ballpark. The agreement requires the city to sell Pepsi products exclusively until a total of 1,650 cases of drinks are sold. The timeframe is five seasons with options for extensions if necessary.
City attorney Bill Webb stated that the contract also gives Pepsi Cola a right of first refusal at the end of the term if another soft drink company comes forward with future offers. A motion was brought to move forward with the contract and was approved unanimously.
The most debated and emotionally charged topic of the evening was an appeal on the town animal ordinance brought by Dana Ewing. Ewing had previously come to the council with a request for a variance to Ellerbe’s animal ordinance to allow her to keep a horse at her residence in the city limits.
According to Ewing, her daughter’s medical condition has shown some improvement as a result of having a the horse to bond and spend time with.
At the last council meeting the matter was tabled, and Ewing was asked to bring documentation from a licensed medical doctor indicating the need for the animal for her child’s care. The evidence brought forth at the meeting was deemed inadequate by the council with no clear communication from a medical professional to indicate the benefits of the animal toward the child.
Mayor Berry was sympathetic to the issue, however, he stressed the fact that the animal was actually brought into the city limits as a rescue horse originally, and at the time Ewing was advised she would be breaking the law to do so. Code Enforcement Officer Danny Eudy was asked to review the ordinance for those in attendance. He was then asked if he had ever faced a case similar to this, his response was “no.”
Eudy did say, however, that in other matters such as changing school districts for a child’s medical condition, that variances had been granted in other municipalities with the appropriate medical documentation. After the board wrestled with the issue for some time, Councilmember Elsie Freeman brought a motion to deny the request for a variance from Section 4.3 of the town animal ordinance. The motion was seconded by Jeremy McKenzie and passed unanimously.
After a brief discussion on upcoming events the meeting was adjourned. For more information regarding this meeting, contact Ellerbe Town Hall at (910) 652-6251.