Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Resolutions


It’s the new year. Time to take down the Christmas tree, pull the Christmas lights down, clean up the New Year’s confetti, get used to writing “2013” instead of “2012” and make some resolutions. Here are some suggestions if you need some help picking one for the new year:

Resolution Number One: Clean up Clinton.

I’ve never fully understood litter. Why would you throw a food wrapper or a cup out the window? Why would you let your trash line city streets? It’s more than just unsightly and unsanitary; it makes a bad impression on new businesses, new residents, and potential economic development prospects. Nothing good comes from lining our streets with trash. The Laurens County Chamber of Commerce, and volunteers like Harry Agnew, Will Gore, Russ Emerson, and church and scout groups have been actively fighting a war against litter during 2012. Every couple of month’s they take to the streets with the goal of cleaning up Clinton, and Laurens County, because no one wants to live in a trash dump. They are fighting a war on garbage, and they need your help. Take just two hours this year and join these volunteers as they fight to clean up Clinton. For more information, contact the Chamber of Commerce by calling 833-2716

Resolution Number Two: Spend some money.

Spend some money in our city this year. Take advantage of the generous discounts that come from using Laurens County Bucks. Support local jobs, local vendors, and local businesses this year by resolving to make many of your purchases locally. The money you spend here stays here, because it becomes someone’s paycheck, purchases supplies form other local businesses, or supports local charities.

Resolution Number Three: Be energy efficient.

If you reduce your energy consumption, then you will reduce your costs associated with paying your electric bill. You will be surprised how much you can save simply by changing a few of your habits. Switch to energy efficient light bulbs, unplug chargers when they are not in use, and realize that many electronics use energy even when they are off. A simple programmable thermostat that reduces your energy consumption when you are not at home will go a long way towards reducing your energy bills.

Resolution Number Four: Volunteer.

Your neighbors need you to contribute to our community. Find some time this year to help out at the United Way or organizations like United Ministries. Be part of your church’s local mission efforts. Read to your child’s class. A community is a reflection of the effort that its citizens put forth, so take some time to make someone’s life better or easier this year by giving some of your time to help any one of a number of worthy causes in our community. If you really want to make a difference, join the ranks of our fire division as a volunteer. We’ll provide the training, you provide the time, and we will both work together to protect the lives and property of our neighbors.

Resolution Number Five: Attend a city council meeting.

On the first Monday of each month at 6 PM, the City Council meets on the second floor of the M.S. Bailey Municipal Center. The meetings are open to the public. I encourage you to attend at least one meeting this year and see what is happening in your city. You can even speak to council and make your opinions about the issues known.

Resolution Number Six: Take pride in your city.

Finally, take pride in your town. Since 1852 this city has stood the test of time not because of its streets, police cars, or institutions. It has weathered the storms of time because of the quality of the people who live here. This year, keep your yard a little cleaner, work to address issues in your city that you feel should be changed, cheer on a local team, and be proud of where you are from and where you live. It’s the pride you take in the aspects of our community that you are interested in that makes our city a great place to live, work, and do business.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Spread Your Holiday Cheer Here


Do you remember the scene in the movie A Christmas Story that shows little Ralphie and the family in their downtown gazing in wonder at the toy display in the window of the department store? When I was a kid my hometown had a department store just like the one in Ralphie’s hometown called Globman’s. It was just down the street from a family owned shoe store named McCollum – Ferrell. I hated them both. There was nothing, and I mean nothing, that could ruin a seven year old child’s Saturday faster than being dragged to Globman’s and McCollum-Ferrell on a family shopping trip.

Globman’s was founded in my hometown in 1915, and McCollum –Ferrell started selling shoes in 1947. I wish I could tell you that these fine old stores, where store clerks knew their customers by their first name, believed that the customer was always right, and led the way in the community by supporting area charities, were still in business. They are not. They were both killed by the shopping mall that I and my friends hung out at in high school. After the shopping mall killed these two generations-old family businesses, it proceeded in serial killer fashion to wipe out other downtown stores as well.

Shopping, which we all know is not the reason for the holiday season, plays a critical part of our holiday celebrations. While the main street in the town I grew up in is eerily reminiscent of an old western ghost town haunted by tumbleweeds and lost fortunes, the businesses in our city are still alive and kicking. Here in Clinton you can walk into any number of businesses and be greeted by name. Store owners strike up a conversation about your family, football, or any number of interests. Store owners give to local charities, sponsor your child’s youth sports team, champion causes such as the United Way, and cheer the football team to victory on Friday night right alongside you.

They survive only because you choose to shop there, and when you stop shopping there, they will go out of businesses. Stop and think for a moment what our city would be like if downtown were dead. Does anyone really want to live in a dead city? Do you think a major employer would choose to build a new manufacturing plant in a town that had no shops, no restaurants, no community pride or no community spirit?  

Many times citizens will approach me or a member of my staff and tell us about a business in another town that they wish would locate here. Our shopping habits may actually be preventing those businesses from locating here.  As long as we are willing to travel to another town to be a patron of a business in that town, then that business will not choose to locate here. Why would they invest tens of thousands of dollars in building and opening a new store when we, their customers, are perfectly willing to get in our car and drive up to fifty miles to buy their goods or eat in their restaurant?

I know that as you read this you are pinching your pennies to buy that special gift, pay for groceries, and cover travel costs to see far off relatives this holiday season. You are not alone in your penny pinching because your neighbors, who own and work in businesses in our town, are doing the same. I know you are seeking out the best online deals and waiting in long lines at the mall to get a few percentage points off the price. I know you have to do that, because money is tight. My wife and I are doing it too. Do your neighbor a favor, and take a moment to stop in a local business this holiday season. My family will be doing some of Christmas shopping locally this year. You might be surprised at what you will find in a local store. There are good deals, perfect gifts, great services, and delicious meals to be had right here in our city. I know it is unreasonable to expect anyone to spend all of their money here but do yourself and the business community a favor and just check out a local business out this season.

Protecting our local business community is a two way street. Business owners must recognize that their competition is global. A local business isn’t competing with another local business located on the same street, but instead they are competing with hundreds of retailers in Greenville, Spartanburg, Columbia, Greenwood, and Newberry, and they are competing with the thousands of retailers that can be found online with the click of a button. Business owners must look for innovative ways to partner with each other to provide competitive value for our citizens, and that means being open, working together, and supporting events that your city puts on to bring customers to your doorstep. It also means working with your local government to help us find ways to partner to make you successful.

During the holiday season we all reminisce fondly about holidays past, which is what led me to think about the old stores in my hometown and how much I hated Saturday’s spent Christmas shopping as a kid.  I realize now how critical these family run businesses are to our city and to any city. Few things are more American than a family that builds the American dream over generations of managing a family business.  All that is left of the family businesses that were once Globman’s and McCollum Ferrell are their names etched into the marble façades of the buildings they once occupied. The stores didn’t go out of business because of bad service, bad location, bad management or bad products. They closed their doors because the communities they supported and staked their names and reputations on for decades stopped supporting them. We let them down. We looked the other way when they needed us the most. We worried about saving a dime and ended up paying thousands of dimes in tax money to support laid of store clerks and to try and salvage downtown storefronts. We failed.

This holiday season take the advice of the Chamber of Commerce and Shop Laurens County First. Your neighborhood business owners have invested in our city and now is the time for us to do the same. We have the ability to keep our city’s businesses alive, keep our communities vibrant and the ability to show other business that this is a great place to locate. All you have to do is do some of your shopping locally, and by shopping locally you can ensure that our community has a very happy (and profitable) holiday season.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Story You Don't Want to Be A Part Of...


I’ve come to realize that every firefighter, whether full time, part time, volunteer, or public safety officer assigned to the fire division, has a story. Anyone who has been riding in those big red trucks long enough has had a signature experience, or experiences, that continues to propel them and motivate them as they work in the fire department. I’m lucky because over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to hear many of those stories; some heartwarming, some heartbreaking, all inspiring. If you are ever lucky enough to hear their stories, you will realize how lucky we are that there is a class of people who train daily to run inside a burning building when others run out. You may also come to the conclusion, as I have, that you never want to be a character in a firefighter’s story.

Every firefighter has a story about a confused or distracted driver who doesn’t know what to do when they see a fire truck coming. If the lights and siren are on, then that fire truck is on its way because someone called for help. The firefighters in the truck are doing their absolute best to respond quickly and safely to the scene and they need you to help them out by moving out of the lane of traffic so they can get by. You must yield to the emergency vehicle, so pull to the road shoulder if possible. If you are in an intersection and in the middle lane and pulling to the road shoulder is not an option, then stop, and allow the fire truck to pass you on the right or left. Keep your foot on the brake pedal so that your brake lights are lit because this may give the driver of the fire truck an indication that you are aware that they are behind you. Take steps to avoid being the story that the fire fighters will tell back at the station about the car that cut them off or blocked their way when they were trying to get to a fire.

Every fire fighter has a story about a structure fire. Some stories involve leaving a hot pan on the stove too long. Some stories tell tales of people who carelessly used a space heater by placing it too close to a chair or curtains. And some stories, the most heartbreaking ones, involve those persons who could’ve been saved if only they had a working smoke detector in their home. These simple little devices cost less than twenty dollars and can save your life by alerting you to a fire. Once you have smoke detectors you need to be sure to change the batteries in them so they will continue to work correctly. A good rule of thumb is to change the battery when you change your clock in the spring and fall. If you didn’t change your smoke detector battery last weekend, then stop reading this and change out the batteries in the smoke detectors in your home.

Every firefighter has a story about arriving just in time to save someone. It may be pulling a person out of a burning building, but most of the time it is about being there as a medical first responder or rescuing a victim trapped in a crushed car. What if it was your grandpa in the burning building, your child who stopped breathing, or your mom trapped in the car? How much would you pay to save them? How much would you pay to make sure that there was team of highly trained professionals with the right equipment ready to come at a moment’s notice to help grandpa, your child, or mom? That’s what your tax dollars are for. We work hard to pinch every penny but we all need to work together to fund emergency services so that the firefighter’s story doesn’t include a tale associated with the loss of life due to lack of training or equipment failure.

As the weather gets colder our Department of Public Safety experiences an increase in call volumes associated with fires. This winter please take the steps needed to make sure you are never playing a leading role in a firefighter’s story.
 
 

 
Ladder 1 is a "quint". It is designed to do the work of two trucks by providing a ladder for working on tall buildings and also providing pumping capcaity to fight any size fire. Purchasing a "quint" is a cost effective way to get additional fire fighting capability for our commuity. A federal grant paid a portion of the cost, saving the city over $300,000 of the cost of this vehicle.

 

Public Safety personnel at the scene of a residential apartment fire casued by a cooking stove.

Coffee Makes Life Better


We started something new last week at the municipal center. We moved the coffee pot out into the lobby so you could have some too. It takes me about two cups to get going in the morning, and the staff felt that you might need a cup to keep you going strong all day as well. It surprised me though that a few of our citizens were skeptical of the coffee pot.

On more than one occasion, customers expressed the thought that by providing a cup of coffee we might be getting ready to change some things about the way we do business. We might be planning to increase a fee or do something else to make your life harder. Our goal is to make the quality of life in our town better, not more difficult.

Our electric utility operation is in the business of making life better. Every day, every week, every year since the early 1900s when our electric utility operations began, the City of Clinton’s Department of Public Works has powered our days and nights.

From that morning cup of hot coffee, which you can now get in our lobby,  to the late-night television news—and all the hours in-between—we keep the power flowing. 

Just a generation or two ago, people still marveled at electricity’s uses and improvements to their lives.  After all, it wasn’t until the 1940s that our country was fully electrified. 

Now we take for granted the contributions that electricity makes to America’s economy and infrastructure.  But just think about what a day without electricity would be like for you—and think how long that day would be for your children or grandchildren.

The City of Clinton’s electric system is known in the industry as a “public power” utility.  It’s one of about 2,000 utilities across the country that have been created as community-owned, hometown enterprises.  They are operated by local governments as a public service, with the mission of providing electricity in a safe, efficient, and reliable manner and with proper protection of the environment. 

The public power formula provides numerous advantages for our utility.  First, we are driven by public service, not profit.  Secondly, we exist to serve you – our fellow citizens, friends and neighbors.  Our loyalty is to our customers – not stockholders. We take pride in helping to make Clinton a good place to live and work. We are accountable to you, not to a management and board of directors in another city or country.

Unlike private utility providers, a public utility such as ours conducts all business in an open and transparent process. We follow democratic principles, with the City Council creating our utility policies. Citizens and utility customers are invited to attend a City Council meeting which occurs on the first Monday of each month at 6:00 PM in the City Council Chambers located on the second floor of the M. S. Bailey Municipal Center at 211 North Broad Street.

The City of Clinton and the Department of Public Works work diligently every day to provide reliable electricity. We have been recognized by the American Public Power Association with the RP3 award for meting high standards when it comes to safety, reliability, and long term management of our utility operations. Clinton provides highly reliable power to commercial and residential customers. Our reliability numbers are some of the highest in the region.

When the power does go out, you can rest assured that our utility crews are quickly responding to the issue. Regardless of the time of day or the weather, our personnel are going to report to work and repair your distribution system. Often, our utility employees are leaving their homes and families in the dark so they can work to restore power to your home, family, and business.

You can rest assured that the City of Clinton will continue to provide reliable electricity—and deliver it to you instantaneously, day or night.   We hope we can also rest assured that you will continue to support of public power as an American tradition that works in the public interest here in Clinton, South Carolina.   

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Press Release


City of Clinton Names Director for Department of Community and Economic Development


Stephen Taylor Named to Critical Position
Clinton, SC, September 20, 2012:  City Manager Frank Stovall announced today that Stephen Taylor will be the City’s Director of Community and Economic Development. After a hiring process that lasted several months and attracted applicants from as far away as Alaska, the City Manager feels confident that Mr. Taylor, originally from Calhoun Falls, is the right person for the job.
 “Mr. Taylor brings a wide variety of experiences in economic development, communication, and business to our team.” said Frank Stovall, Clinton’s City Manager. “We are excited that he has decided to bring his talents to Clinton to be part of our organization and we look forward to working alongside Mr. Taylor to continue to make economic and community development a priority in our city.” continued Stovall.
Stephen Taylor holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of South Carolina and Masters of Business Administration from Southern Wesleyan University. Mr. Taylor served four years with the  United States Coast Guard and has worked in the telecom industry in support of economic development and customer service programs.  Mr. Taylor has also served as a decorated officer with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
Mr. Taylor will be responsible for leading the city’s community development efforts, which include planning, zoning, projects that are designed to enhance the quality of life in the community, and providing staff support to the Planning Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeals, and the Design Review Board. Mr. Taylor will also be responsible for providing support for the city’s economic development efforts, including assisting the city manager and the Laurens County Development Corporation with recruiting and marketing the city as a great place to do business. Improving communication between the city and the public will also be a component of Mr. Taylor’s responsibilities.
“I’m excited to be offered the opportunity to join an excellent team of professionals at the City of Clinton and I look forward to working with our citizens and the City Manager to make the Mayor and Council’s goals of enhancing our business climate, promoting economic growth and improving communication between the city and our citizens a reality.” said Mr. Taylor.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


City of Clinton Names Director for Department of Administrative Services


Joey Meadors will lead the new Department of Administrative Services

Clinton, SC, September 5, 2012:  City Manager Frank Stovall announced today that Joey Meadors will be appointed to the position of Director of Administrative Services.  Mr. Meadors has worked for the City of Clinton for thirty three years in various positions. During his career with the City, Mr. Meadors has served as a draftsman, filter plant operator, warehouse clerk, procurement officer, managed the city’s vehicle maintenance program, and directed the city’s utility billing and customer service operation.

Mr. Meadors was instrumental in developing the procurement and purchasing program for the city and under his leadership it has grown to cover all the departments and divisions of the city. In 2003, Mr. Meadors began to play a critical role in writing the annual city budget. He has continued to play a key role in developing the budget for the past nine years. A Clinton native, Mr. Meadors is currently attending the South Carolina Economic Developer’s School because he realizes that the utility billing operation plays a key role in economic development in our community.

 “Mr. Meadors has an understanding of many of the key operations of our organization and is focused on improving customer service, enhancing the customer experience, and on making sure that public money is spent in the best, most efficient manner possible.” said Frank Stovall, Clinton’s City Manager. “We are excited that he has decided to accept this position as the Director of the Department of Administrative Services and I look forward to continuing to focus on improving our organization and improving customer service with Mr. Meadors leading the Department of Administrative Services.” continued Stovall.

Mr. Meadors will be responsible for managing utility billing, procurement, vehicle maintenance, and municipal court administration. In addition, he will play a key role in capital project management and developing the annual budget. Mr. Meadors’ current position, Fiscal Operations Specialist in Utility Billing, will be eliminated as part of the city’s transition to its new organizational structure.

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Going For Gold...


In case you didn’t notice, the Olympics are underway in London and the networks of NBC Universal are bringing coverage of the Olympics to my living room round the clock on several television stations. I love the Olympics, and even though I know that I should turn the tube off and go to bed, I choose instead to stay up a little later to see what story, what sport, and what triumph might be just beyond the next commercial break.

And there are great stories. Take Kieran Behan, the Irish gymnast who competed in this year’s Olympics. He has been confined to a wheelchair. Twice.  Doctors told him he might never walk again. Twice. Over the weekend he took to the gymnastics floor in London as only the second Irishman to ever do so; and even though he failed to qualify for the final round, he is a true Olympian in anybody’s book. 

And there are great mistakes. Matt Emmons is prime example. He is competing in air rifle. In 2004 he made a mistake and shot at the wrong target, losing a chance at a medal. In 2008 his gun fired prematurely, a mistake, which also resulted in losing a chance at a medal. This year Emmons will compete again, after beating cancer, and he states that his failures, mistakes, battle with cancer, and the birth of his child have all combined to make him a wiser and more prepared athlete.

And there are great triumphs. Ryan Lochte defeated swimmer Michael Phelps on the first day of the games. For those of you that haven’t been paying attention, Michael Phelps is basically a human torpedo who shoots through the water with such ease that his body shape has been analyzed by news reporters to try to discover why he is so good. How good is he? He was on his way to winning the most Olympic medals ever, and he may still do that. To defeat Phelps is a triumph in athletics.

But what amazes me most is the lifetime of effort. Not one of the Olympic athletes crawled out of bed last week and said “Honey, I think I’ll go to London next week and I’ll bring home an Olympic Gold Medal.” Olympic level athletes train for years. Some train for decades. These are not flash in the pan athletes but instead they are steady, tried, and true professionals who are focused on a single goal.

And as I watch the Olympics unfold in my living room, I often think about our city and how we are performing in trying to achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves, particularly in the field of economic development. Economic development should be an Olympic sport. We must train, practice, develop, and pursue our goal for years in order to be competitive in the sport of securing jobs and economic growth for the city.  

Just like athletes, we have a few walls to overcome. In a community founded on ideas of entrepreneurs such as Jacobs and Bailey, we don’t have a supporting and nurturing environment in which to help small business grow from an idea in a person’s head to a full-fledged business that brings jobs and investment to our city. Remember Clinton Mills? It started as an idea in a person’s head. All the institutions we hold as defining to our community started at some point with one person and one idea. There was a time when our city knew how to grow small businesses into empires of industry. We might do ourselves some good if we got back to those roots.

We are also heading towards a product wall. Product, in economic development terms, is the land and buildings that you have to offer a potential industry. Do we have industrial parks? Yes. Do we have abundant energy and utilities? Yes. Need rail access? We got it. Easy access to all major Southeast population centers? You betcha. Is that enough? Probably not. First, while we have industrial parks we no longer have a Class A industrial park in Laurens County. We also don’t have the completed buildings that most companies are looking for. According to the South Carolina Department of Commerce, 92% of all companies that come to South Carolina looking to locate their company here are looking for an existing building already in place. The economic development team that is working on this in Laurens County is considered to be one of the best teams in the state and I feel sure we will address these issues that may one day limit our competitiveness.



There are some walls that we are pushing through. Workforce development is one of these walls. We are blessed with two great public school districts, an award winning four year college, and a campus that houses Piedmont Tech, provides access to USC courses, and offers lifelong learning opportunities. The Laurens County Chamber of Commerce has taken a leading role in developing our workforce through innovative programs and a focus on the work keys initiative. Piedmont Tech’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing will offer training for residents so that they can master the skills needed to obtain work in today’s modern manufacturing environment. Manufacturing has changed and people who work in manufacturing must have a strong technical background.

The last athletic wall we need to break through is pride. Why is pride important? A BMW executive once answered the question “Why did you locate in Greer?” by telling the story of their visit to the community. They looked at the schools and the workforce development programs that the community was undertaking and they saw a community of skilled workers. Then they drove, on their own, around Greer. They saw a city where some people were struggling, but those people were also working hard to maintain the appearance of their houses, yards, rental properties, and neighborhoods. Taking care of your spot in the city means you have pride in your community. BMW will tell you that all it takes to make one of the world’s finest automobiles is skill and pride. Those values are required. The rest they will teach you when you show up for work.

The founder of Presbyterian College once suggested that the success of the college and the community relied on perseverance and pluck. Those are two qualities needed to make a great Olympic athlete and a great community. Pride and skill are needed as well to make a great Olympian, a great city, and incidentally, a fine European motor car. Pride. Skill. Perseverance. Pluck. That’s the recipe for our economic development efforts too. Just like an Olympian, we will train for the long term. When our opportunity comes to run the race, leap over the hurdle, conquer the gymnastics floor, or lift the heaviest of weights, we will stride confidently to the floor, and with the skill of our workforce, the pride of our community, the perseverance of the years it has taken to develop our product, and just a little pluck, we will compete for the economic development gold not for ourselves, but for our children.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Celebrate the Essential - Drinking Water Week 2012


The City of Clinton will celebrate Drinking Water Week 2012 with a call to “Celebrate the Essential” throughout Clinton.   

If you ask American Water Works Association Executive Director David LaFrance, he will tell you that there is nothing more essential to a community’s health and vitality than reliable access to safe drinking water. Drinking Water Week, which is May 6th through May 12, provides an excellent opportunity for all of us to focus for a moment on the importance of caring for our water supply and water distribution system.

Water is an essential element in our daily lives, but in our part of the world we often take the convenience of fresh clean water available in our homes for granted. The buried pipes that deliver water to your to your home or business are a vital piece of our efforts to provide an excellent quality of life and to grow the economy of our community. They are among our most valuable community assets, and it is important that we keep the water treatment and distribution infrastructure in good working order.

Much of the nation’s drinking water infrastructure was constructed by previous generations during the late 1800s, the 1920s and during the Post World War II boom. Many of the water mains from all three eras must be replaced or repaired in the next 25 years. In fact, according to a recent AWWA study titled “Buried No Longer: Confronting America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge,” the cost of repairing and expanding U.S. drinking water infrastructure will top $1 trillion in the next 25 years. That figure will rise to $1.7 trillion by 2050.

Addressing these issues will be costly, but not insurmountable, according to the “Buried No Longer” report. Facing them head-on by proactively investing in our tap water systems is a smart, safe, common sense investment that will pay off for generations to come.  The City of Clinton has proactively partnered with the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the Upper Savannah Regional Council of Governments to invent almost $2 million in upgrading the water distribution system in the Lydia Mill area of the city. The distribution infrastructure in this part of the city was identified by city personnel as being the one most in need of significant upgrade.  Nearly 80% of the cost of those upgrades was funded through federal grant programs. The City has also worked to upgrade lines in other parts of the city, including York and Misallie  Drive, and upcoming projects to upgrade and replace water lines on Pine Street and Musgrove Street are planned.

Public drinking water systems, like your City of Clinton system, play a critical role in public health. In a world where an estimated eight million people die every day from preventable waterborne diseases, people in Clinton can drink from virtually any public tap with a high assurance of safety. Without our modern water systems, diseases such as cholera and dysentery would be a tragic part of our everyday life.

 In the United States and Canada, over 1.5 million house fires occur each year. While most of us never think about fires until they occur, there is a vast network of water infrastructure in place to protect us when they do. Simply put, a water system that provides reliable water at a high pressure and volume can be the difference between a manageable fire and an inferno.

Though often taken for granted, tap water is critical to the daily operations of existing businesses and to the vitality of new commercial enterprises and residential developments. From foods and beverages, to toothpastes and perfumes, water is the primary ingredient in hundreds of thousands of every day products. Therefore, the availability of water resources and service has a profound effect on job creation and overall economic prosperity.

The Clinton Water Treatment Plant has been treating water since 1958.  Water comes from the Enoree River and Duncan Creek. Duncan Creek is only used as an alternative source. The treatment plant treats an average of 2.6 million gallons of water a day and has the ability to treat 6 million gallons of water a day.  After the water is treated it travels through the over 100 miles of water lines to the approximately 4000 water meters of City of Clinton customers.   

For more than 35 years, the American Water Works Association and its members have celebrated Drinking Water Week – a unique opportunity for both water professionals and the communities they serve to join together to recognize the vital role water plays in our daily lives.

Monday, March 5, 2012


City Manager Appoints Interim Director of Public Safety


Crystal Roberts, 12 Year Veteran of CDPS, to Lead Department During Transition

Clinton, SC, March 2, 2012:  City Manager Frank Stovall has announced that Crystal Roberts, a twelve year veteran of the Clinton Department of Public Safety, will assume the role of Interim Director of the City’s Department of Public Safety when current Director Stacy Drakeford retires at the end of March.
Current Public Safety Director, Stacy Drakeford, announced his retirement from the Clinton Department of Public Safety in February and will retire at the end of March. In his nearly three years of service to the City of Clinton, Drakeford has focused on training and on forming partnerships between the citizens and the Department of Public Safety. “Chief Drakeford has set the bar very high when it comes to the management of the Department of Public Safety and the provision of quality police and fire services to our citizens” said Stovall.
Crystal M. Roberts began her career as a Community Police Officer in 2000 after graduating from the University of South Carolina Upstate with a degree in Criminal Justice. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.  Since joining the force, she has steadily risen through the ranks and served in a variety of capacities in the Department of Public Safety. Roberts has a passion for the community and has served as a community police officer and as a school resource officer at both Bell Street Middle School and Clinton High School. In addition to working closely with the schools, Roberts has also served in the patrol division for several years, first as a public safety officer, and then as a Sergeant, and finally as a supervising Lieutenant. Most recently, Roberts has served in the investigations unit and has managed the administrative functions of the department.
Roberts is also a certified fire fighter and has received additional training in fire scene management, firefighting, and hazardous chemical response. As a member of the South Carolina Attorney General’s Task Force on Internet Crimes Against Children, Roberts has worked in concert with state and local law enforcement across the state to protect our state’s children from internet predators. Crystal Roberts was awarded the South Carolina Attorney General's Child Safety Award in 2007 and was named the CDPS 2010 Officer of the Year.
“Crystal Roberts brings a variety of skills to the leadership position and I feel confident that her experiences in investigation, fire fighting, community policing, school and campus safety, and general law enforcement will continue to be an asset to the city and the surrounding community.” said Stovall. “I look forward to working with Interim Director Roberts as we continue to improve our department and to provide quality services to our citizens.” he continued.
Personnel in the Department of Public Safety, as well as the City’s Senior Staff were informed of the appointment Thursday evening during a staff meeting at the Department of Public Safety. “This department is more than just one person or one position. To be the best department we can be requires that each member of the department perform at their very best each day. I’m excited to have the opportunity to continue to work with the members of the Department of Public Safety in this new position.” Roberts said in a statement made to the members of the Department of Public Safety.
The City of Clinton plans to conduct a comprehensive search for a new director to replace Chief Drakeford over the next few months.

Water Boils Over…

I was on my way home when I saw it. A lot of water where a lot of water didn't belong. To many of you driving home on Monday afternoon it was an oddly large puddle in the road where South Broad Street and West Walnut Street . To us, it was the beginning of a long night.

By 5 pm, a small team of public works employees had returned to work and were busy preparing to reroute traffic on Broad Street and locate and repair what was becoming a pretty significant leak from the main water line that runs under the south bound lane of Broad Street. You probably never think of the water and sewer infrastructure that is under the roads you travel on, but we do.

As the evening wore on, the size of the problem would become even more apparent as your public works crews uncovered the main water line. Additional personnel were called in to assist with the removal and replacement of several feet of water main that had ruptured due to the age of the pipe. As temperatures fell and while many of you were watching the Daytona 500, your public works director and the majority of your water and sewer employees were working to restore pressure, replace worn out pipe, and get the roadway put back together before you left for work in the morning. If you were watching the Daytona race, you saw race teams working together to keep their cars on the track. If you were driving on South Broad Street Monday night you saw a team of city employees working hard to keep their city on track. Once the repair was completed, the city issued a Boil Water Advisory.

A Boil Water Advisory, like the one issued last week, is simply a precautionary statement that is issued by the city when something has happened which may cause the water distribution system to become contaminated. In the case of the most recent advisory, the incident which had the possibility to cause a contamination event was a water main break. Other incidents that might trigger advisories include instances when contaminated water may have reached the distribution system, line breaks that may allow for dirt and debris to enter the pipes during the repair, or extreme losses of water pressure in the distribution system. When an advisory is issued, the city will notify local media outlets, including the news media and local tv stations. We also issued the most recent advisory on our city Facebook page and on our city website at www.cityofclintonsc.com.

The chances of getting sick from water during a Boil Water Advisory is very small, however, your children, the elderly, and people who may already be sick may have a greater chance of getting sick in the rare event that bacteria are in the water during an advisory.

A Boil Water Notice is issued when contamination of the water distribution system has been confirmed. This means that tests have found some contamination in the water. When a notice is issued the city notifies local media and takes the extra step of sending city workers throughout the impacted neighborhood to notify residents and business owners of the situation. Individual contact with each homeowner and business was not made Monday night because the city issued a simple advisory, and not a Boil Water Notice.

When a notice or advisory is issued, you should boil water for one minute before using it as drinking water, using it to brush your teeth, providing it to pets, using it for cooking, or using it to wash food. Your water is safe to shower or bathe in, and you can continue to do laundry, water lawns, and use water as you normally would. The only difference is that you should boil any water you will consume. Any ice you may have made during the advisory or notice period should be discarded.

An advisory or a notice will be lifted when two water samples taken 24 hours apart show no contamination. When the city lifts an advisory or notice, the information is made available to local media outlets. Once a notice has been lifted, you should take a few minutes to flush your residential water system by running you water for approximately one minute.

If your home has a water filter, you should still take the step of boiling your water since many water filters are only designed to impact the taste of water but may not remove bacteria and other contaminants.

Remember that a Boil Water Advisory is issued when there is a chance of contamination and not because there is actual contamination. The more serious Boil Water Notice is issued when there is a confirmed contamination of water. The city takes more aggressive steps as required when a notice is issued. Rest assured that safe drinking water is one of your city's top priorities, and when a line breaks, your public works department will not rest until the break is repaired and your service is restored.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cities Mean Business


Cities, towns and businesses across South Carolina are celebrating “Cities Mean Business”  in February to encourage new and stronger collaboration between local elected leaders and the business community.  



Your local leaders are focusing on the many ways that strong cities and towns support economic growth of existing businesses and attract new businesses. Cities are magnets for good living, engines that drive commerce in South Carolina, and bridges to economic success.



Being a magnet for good living means developing and maintaining a community that has a strong positive quality of life for citizens. Quality of life is an essential element in attracting new businesses to Clinton, to Laurens County, to the Upstate, and to South Carolina. Cities and towns, including Clinton, work to maintain a pro-business atmosphere, create diversified economies, and commit to projects that enhance the quality of life in our community all in effort to make Clinton a great place to live and to do business. Future projects such as a new recreational facility, as well as current initiatives to improve the appearances of our parks and greenspaces as well as the enhancement of the buildings and sidewalks in our downtown district are all designed to develop, enhance, and promote a quality of life that appeals to residents and to the business community.



Clinton is a great place to live, but it is also an engine that drives local commerce. In Clinton, business can find the infrastructure needed to support a business and a productive work force ready to make things happen for business. The civic mindedness of our community leaders, the strong history of regional cooperation, and a favorable tax structure all work together to support the needs of the business community and to fund and provide needed infrastructure so that businesses can succeed in a global marketplace.



Clinton is a bridge to economic success for businesses because we are prepared to work to help business get from where they are to where they want to be. A community wide commitment to economic growth is apparent as Laurens County, the City of Clinton, the Laurens County Economic Development Corporation, the City of Clinton Economic Development Corporation, and the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce all work together to encourage economic growth and prosperity. New partnerships such as the Center for Entrepreneurial Development between the City of Clinton and Presbyterian College will result in opportunities for small business to meet new customers, develop new stratagies, and grow beyond their dreams.



A strong economy and the success of our state is a priority for business leaders as well as cities and towns. Working together through a positive partnership is critical for our hometown to move forward and prosper in the new knowledge economy. For the state to remain competitive with other states and nations, cities and towns must work together with businesses to ensure a positive quality of life and successful economy. Rest assured, your city realizes the role it must play for positive economic growth, development, and a successful business community. Your city leaders and city staff are ready to roll up their sleeves to make Clinton a great place to live, a great place to do business, and a great place to grow your business.  Clinton means business.

New Year, New Luck

January 2012


Many of you know that my wife was born and raised in Germany. In the German culture, holiday traditions can be very different from the holiday traditions that I grew up with here in the United States and our marriage has led to some interesting discoveries about the holidays. First of all, my two favorite holidays, Independence Day and Thanksgiving, are purely American inventions. My wife enjoys them, but they are a bit foreign to her. There are few German holiday traditions that are a bit foreign to me. There’s the feast of St. Martin, in which roving groups of German kids make lanterns, perform skits of the village green, and march in a parade before being turned loose on the neighborhoods to knock on doors and ask for candy. Then there is St. Nikolaus Day. On St. Nikolaus Day you are supposed to leave your shoes out and St. Nikolaus (not the same as Santa Claus) breaks into your house and leaves treats in your shoes. My wife never forgets to put her shoes out, but I always forget to buy things to put in her shoes. Usually I wake up and wonder why my wife left her shoes out. If anyone is wondering what my New Year’s Resolution is – it is to not forget about St. Nikolaus Day again this year.

And in my wife’s family back in Dusseldorf, Germany, New Year’s Day is a great big deal. It is a far bigger deal than it ever was in my family. We just went to bed like it was any other day. I mean really, do you really want to stay up till midnight? In Germany, they celebrate New Year’s by staying up till midnight and eating jelly filled doughnuts. I like the doughnut part a lot. I think my family would have just eaten the doughnuts about 9:30 pm and been in bed by ten o’clock.

The Germans also have a saying for New Year’s. Instead of shouting “Happy New Year!” the German New Year’s wish is “Neues Jahr, Neues Glueck”. It translates to “New Year, New Luck”.

New Year. New Luck. It is most definitely a new year, let’s hope we see some new luck in a few key areas.

In the world of economic development we are competing with every other small town in the country for each and every potential manufacturing facility or distribution center. There was once a time when a robust and booming economy may have allowed for the use of the Field of Dreams model of economic development. You know the “if you build it they will come” philosophy. In today’s world every city has a business or corporate park, and we cannot afford to wait for opportunity to fall in our lap. For 2012 we hope we see some opportunity in economic development that leads to jobs and growth. I also hope we are able, through skill and effort, to demonstrate to potential companies that Clinton is great place to do business.

This year we are hoping that luck, and an improving economy, will prompt the state legislature to restore the local government fund. The sluggish statewide economy prompted the state legislature to reduce the local government fund, impacting the City of Clinton by nearly $200,000 over the past few years. This year, as the state’s economy improves, the City of Clinton needs the State of South Carolina to return all the revenue that the state collects on our behalf back to the city so that we will have the resources provide public services and spur economic growth here in our community.

For months you have heard about the upcoming system wide meter replacement and the new software systems that the city will be implementing. These are huge projects that will forever change our operation, and I hope for a little luck when it comes to implementing these major changes to how your city conducts business. I also hope for patience from our customers as we make the largest changes to our utility billing operations in our lifetimes.

However, we can’t just sit around and wait for good things to fall in our lap. Peabody and Emmy Award winning journalist Ed Bradley once said “Be prepared, work hard, and hope for a little luck. Recognize that the harder you work and the better prepared you are, the more luck you might have.” Bradley understood that luck was not something the fell on you from the sky and suddenly solved your problems like a winning lottery ticket carried to your hand by the wind. Instead, luck is something that if you are prepared for, if you have worked hard to put yourself in a position to capitalize on it, then you can grab luck, wrestle it to the ground, and take advantage of the opportunities that it might bring. Bradley knew that a great majority of good luck was made when preparation and effort were mixed together.  

Even though we want a little luck in economic development, in Columbia, and on the big projects we are tackling, we also realize that we have the ability to shape our own destiny and must lay the groundwork to create a desired outcome in each of those areas. We realize that economic growth for our community will come from providing exceptional infrastructure, a highly educated workforce, and yes, from a little bit of luck.

Through the leadership of City Council, who have set a four point vision for the growth and development of our city, and through the diligent work of city personnel to implement that vision, we will be prepared in the New Year to capitalize on any luck that might come our way in the coming months. Here’s to a new year, and some new luck! Happy New Year!

Give the Gift of Community this Christmas

December 2011

My grandfather, we called him Pa,  was a World War II Veteran, father of seven, farmer, and just about the smartest person I ever knew. He could fix anything, tell great stories, and believed that the only things worth watching on television could be found on PBS. I also think that they only received three TV stations, so the selection was a bit limited at my grandparents home just a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway in rural Patrick County, Virginia.

In the summer, my cousins and I were often sent off to “Camp Granny and Pa” during which we would spend the week fishing, hiking, learning about the world around us from our grandparents, and assisting in farm chores. There was a lot of assisting in farm chores. I think the Camp Granny and Pa experience was more about having a steady labor force to keep the weeds out of the fields of beans, corn, and potatoes for Pa’s farm when I look back on it.

I remember Pa saving the brown paper bags that groceries come in, and then filling those bags with corn, beans, potatoes, blackberries, apples from his orchard, or whatever happened to be in season. We would then climb into his dodge truck and drive the mountain roads of the Blue Ridge. Every so often at the end of a dirt road, or in an unnamed hollow, or at a ramshackle house by a stream in the mountains we would stop, and Pa would take a bag of food and sneak up to the back door, leave it on the porch, and then we would drive away. It was an early taste for me as to how hard life was for some people, and how important it was to look out for your neighbors, even if you neighbors lived miles away in the next valley. My grandparents viewed the Dobbins area as their community, and they knew that they had a role to play in it.

A community is not defined by the quality of its roads, the number of streetlights that chase away the darkness, or the services it provides. It is not defined by how close the houses are. It is not defined by its size, its geography, or the number of trees it has. It is defined by the actions of the people who live in it. Community comes from knowing your neighbors, from sacrificing your harvest to help those whose didn’t come in. And in an economy like this one, a community’s success or failure is determined by the effort its citizens take to help each other through the winter .

For my grandparents, the entire area of the county and its scattering of residences and farms was their community. They looked out for their neighbors, and when a neighbor was in need you could bet a bag of food would appear on the doorstep. I think my grandfather would have been mortified if he had ever been caught leaving those vegetables at people’s houses. It wasn’t about getting credit – It was simply about making sure that the neighbors had what they needed.

This holiday season there are many in our community who don’t have what they need. There will be people on the 25th of December who see it as just another day. There will be people who celebrate the holiday with no one, and whose cupboards are bare. As a member of your community, I urge you to take just a little bit of your time and your plenty this season to support our community by sharing and supporting those who are dealing with hard times during the holidays. It can be as simple as baking a cake for your neighbor, or helping to serve food, or working with one of the numerous organizations in our community focusing on addressing the needs of our citizens. When you help your neighbor, you are investing in the emotional infrastructure of our community. You are adding to the definition of who we are as a society. More importantly, you are improving the quality of life in your city – by helping  people make it through the challenges that their lives have presented to them.  

Fire Prevention


November, 2011

If you were doing what I was doing last Friday a little before one o’clock in the afternoon, then you were finishing up lunch. If you were a member of our Department of Public Safety, then you were rushing to a fire scene in one of our residential neighborhoods.

The homeowners weren’t home when their alarm system detected a possible fire in their house. Within minutes public safety personnel were on the scene, fire engines were primed and ready, and a team of trained personnel had entered the home to locate and extinguish the fire and to evacuate anyone who might be in the home. Public Safety Officers assigned to patrol our streets that day were also on the scene and were part of the team that entered the house. Volunteer firefighters left their jobs and families and met the full time personnel on the scene. By the time I arrived, less than ten minutes after the initial call, volunteers and full time personnel had set up equipment, entered the home, and determined that a faulty heating unit had triggered the alarm. No significant fire damage occurred and no one was hurt. Although this fire turned out to be a small electrical incident, this incident should serve as a reminder how fast a fire can start, and how quickly it can change your life.

When the city’s fire trucks arrive, it is often too late for you to protect your home and property from fire damage. Our team of highly trained public safety officers are very good at what they do, but a fire in your home can double in size every 2.5 minutes. The City and the Department of Public Safety encourage you to protect yourself from fire by following just a few simple steps.

First, make sure you have a working smoke detector in your home. You should have one on every floor of your house, and in or near each bedroom. Over half of all fire related deaths occur in homes without working smoke detectors, so it is important to have smoke detectors and to maintain them in good working condition.

Secondly, teach your children fire safety practices regarding matches, electrical outlets, electrical cords, candles, and any other devices that could spark a fire. You should also develop a plan and practice evacuating your home so that your children know how to escape if your house catches fire. Don’t assume you will be able to rush into their room and escort them to safety. Make sure they know how to escape on their own if you are cut off from them by fire. 

Many structure fires are sparked by space heaters. Make sure your space heater is properly maintained, and keep it at least three feet away from anything that can burn. Please turn it off before you fall asleep or before you leave the room that the heater is in. If you use a kerosene heater you should avoid filling it with gasoline. Gasoline fumes are highly volatile and will burn easily. Try to place the heater out of high traffic areas to minimize the risk of the heater being knocked over. You should only refill kerosene heaters outside after they have cooled off.

Finally, our city streets are very busy most of the time. At one o’clock in the afternoon you might find that it can be difficult to maneuver the family mini-van through downtown Clinton, and navigating a 28,000 pound fire truck quickly through our busy city streets is no small task. If you see a fire truck or emergency vehicle approaching with its warning lights and sirens activated, please move your vehicle safely out of its way so it can get quickly past you. You never know – that fire engine might just be racing to your house.

Clinton: Your Hometown Public Power Utility


The City of Clinton is a hometown “public power” electric utility—a not-for-profit, community enterprise. Every day, every week, every year since the early 1900s when our electric utility operations began, the City of Clinton’s Department of Public Works has powered our days and nights.

From that morning cup of hot coffee to the late-night television news—and all the hours in-between—we keep the power flowing. 

Just a generation or two ago, people still marveled at electricity’s uses and improvements to their lives.  After all, it wasn’t until the 1940s that our country was fully electrified. 

Now we take for granted the contributions that electricity makes to America’s economy and infrastructure.  But just think about what a day without electricity would be like for you—and think how long that day would be for your children or grandchildren.

The City of Clinton’s electric system is known in the industry as a “public power” utility.  It’s one of about 2,000 utilities across the country that have been created as community-owned, hometown enterprises.  They are operated by local governments as a public service, with the mission of providing electricity in a safe, efficient, and reliable manner and with proper protection of the environment. 

The public power formula provides numerous advantages for our utility.  First, we are driven by public service, not profit.  Secondly, we exist to serve you – our fellow citizens, friends and neighbors.  Our loyalty is to our customers – not stockholders. We take pride in helping to make Clinton a good place to live and work. We are accountable to you, not to a management and board of directors in another city or country.

Unlike private utility providers, a public utility such as ours conducts all business in an open and transparent process. We follow democratic principles, with the City Council creating our utility policies. Citizens and utility customers are invited to attend a City Council meeting which occurs on the first Monday of each month at 6:00 PM in the City Council Chambers located at 404 North Broad Street.

The City of Clinton and the Department of Public Works work diligently every day to provide reliable electricity. We were recently recognized by the American Public Power Association with the RP3 award for meting high standards when it comes to safety, reliability, and long term management of our utility operations. Clinton provides highly reliable power to commercial and residential customers, and this was proven during last year’s significant ice storm when not a single Clinton utility customer lost power due to the storm.

When the power does go out, you can rest assured that our utility crews are quickly responding to the issue. Regardless of the time of day or the weather, our personnel are going to report to work and repair your distribution system. Often, our utility employees are leaving their homes and families in the dark so they can work to restore power to your home, family, and business.

You can rest assured that the City of Clinton will continue to provide reliable electricity—and deliver it to you instantaneously, day or night.   We hope we can also rest assured that you will continue to support of public power as an American tradition that works in the public interest here in Clinton, South Carolina.