PICKENS - In a surprise announcement Monday, City of Pickens Councilman Pat Welborn told his fellow councilmen at the beginning their monthly meeting that he would be seeking the elected position of Clerk of Court for Pickens County, an office presently held by LeJette Gatlin.
"I just wanted to let everyone know that I intend to run for Clerk of Court," he said.
In other business, the City of Pickens could establish its own summer camp programs, starting as early as this year, as council members decided during Monday's meeting to further investigate the feasibility.
"There are not a lot of options for children in the summer and it would be good to know that kids could get outside instead of being in regular day care," City Administrator Chris Eldridge said.
And since it would be a summer program operated by the City, Pickens would not be faced with the problems of the past, when other agencies were allowed to run camps using city-owned property and equipment, he said.
"Since it would be a city-run summer camp, then the city would be in charge of doing the cleanup of those camps," he said.
Preliminary research into the possibility of operating a camp showed that the city could offer the weeklong program for about $70 per child, Eldridge said.
Last year, the summer camps, sponsored by an outside agency, charged $85 for each child participating one of several camps, he said.
Councilman Fletcher Perry suggested looking into offering discounts for each additional child signing up for the camps, or charging less for children of single-parent families.
According to Eldridge, the City could host eight one-week camps, with no camp being held during the Fourth of July week.
Also, the city would need to acquire the use of a bus large enough to transport 30 to 40 children to specially planned outings, he said.
Councilman and Mayor Pro Tempore Jason Cassell, who presided over the meeting in the absence of Mayor David Owens, and who initiated the discussion into the practicability of a city-sponsored summer camp, said that since only a few months remain in this school year, the establishment of camps should quickly move forward so that parents could become aware of the summer camps prior to the ending of school.
"Still, I don't think we will have a problem filling it up," Cassell said.
And with their eyes toward the possibility of summer camps, council also voted to use $26,000 of the money earlier set aside for the addition of a park pavilion for the purchase of a pre-constructed concession stand and restroom facility.
According to Cassell since the $27,000 cost of the pavilion had been met by grant monies, the needed funds for the cypress-siding building was available and would only need to be re-directed into that purchase.
"This would make it a lot easier for anyone attending camp and on those workers having to deal with it," he said. "And it is already approved money."
Cassell recommended that council accept the lowest bid of $130,000 for the instillation of lighting to both city ball fields.
"Let's get those fields over and done with," he said. "And they would be more useful with lighting."
Eldridge said that the bid included concrete poles rather than wooden poles, which tend to warp and bend, and other bids submitted more than doubled that offer.
Because the lower bid did not have a time frame, Bowers suggested that the finance committee study both the bids and the impact lighting would have on the electricity increase and present the information to council during next month's meeting.