Cottageville mayor addresses rumors on annexation, money

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The July 27 virtual meeting of the Cottageville Town Council consisted predominately of comments from Mayor Tim Grimsley, concerning recent Facebook comments that he said made for “a distressing few days.”

The bulk of his comments were addressed to the proposed annexation of McDaniel Road. If the area was annexed, about 1,000 residents would increase the population of the town, which would result in increased tax money for the town from county taxes that citizens are already paying. The town itself doesn’t levy taxes, but gets a portion of county taxes based on its population, he said.

The increased revenue could be used to improve main street, attract new businesses like a drug store; grocery store, etc.; build a fountain and splash pad in the park for kids; install fire hydrants in town which would reduce home insurance for residents, Grimsley said.

That said, the town cannot annex any property without the property owners’ permission. Several residents have requested annexation, but the complex process will involve contacting every property owner in the area, as well as a multitude of other paperwork.

Grimsley also addressed questions of rumored misappropriation of funds. The town’s funds are checked every month and audited by the state annually. There has never been an unfavorable report; in fact, all of the reports have been “stellar,” he said.

He believes the rumor was the result of the town council’s moving funds from what used to be called an insurance fund to a building fund. That allowed the town to use the funds to replace items lost in a recent fire. The town replaced a lawn mower, backpack blowers, a shipping container for storage and other items.

Other recent expenses, Grimsley said, included electrical and plumbing work at the park.

“We can account for every dime that’s been spent,” he said.

He encouraged everyone who posts on social media to confirm facts before posting, saying the town will be happy to answer any questions and provide accurate information.

Police Chief Jeffrey Cook expressed concern that portions of Highway 17A have been flooding during recent thunderstorms. Grimsley said the problem was caused by DOT’s lack of cleaning the drains, and the property owners refusal to allow cleaning out of the ditches. Cook asked council to address the issue.

Cook said he hopes to add five more reserve volunteer officers to the Cottageville Police force, pending the volunteers passing a certification test.

He also said a private company may be interested in establishing a domestic violence shelter in the town.

In other business:

Council voted to either sell or fix a Crown Victoria vehicle owned by the town. The car has been inoperable.

A new generator was installed in town hall in July. Council members noted that bids were not received, and should have been. However, council voted during its retreat to install the new generator.

Grimsley said the generator was part of the renovation of the town hall facility. The current building is being fixed up because the $1.5-million estimate of building a new facility was just not affordable.

Council all agreed another retreat was needed, but did not set a date.

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