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Proposed City curfew nixed

Abbeville City Council Tuesday night considered an ordinance declaring a curfew which would have begun on Friday, April 17, but when Mayor of Abbeville Delano Freeman called for a vote on it, the proposal died for lack of a motion.

The curfew would have been established beginning April 10, 2020 “restricting travel and public gatherings from 9:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. with the exception of persons traveling to and from work and for health care”, in the words of the proposal.

The following persons would have been exempted and free to travel to carry out their duties: “police officers, firefighters, active duty military, health care providers and public works and utility workers employed by any utility within the City,” the proposal continued.

Council had initially, at a special meeting on April 7, tabled this ordinance proposing the curfew.

The purpose was to help curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, but some worried that was an infringement on liberties.

Mayor Delano Freeman noted that the City wants to “do everything we can to protect the citizens of Abbeville. These are lives that are at stake.”

Abbeville City Council passed a second reading on an ordinance to amend the City code of laws to add a general responsibility section for all boards, committees and commissions.

In new business, Council member Jim Grant noted a number of people were concerned about their City utility bills.

The City has seen the number of delinquent utility payers jump from an overage of about 225 to 280 to, within the past 30 days, about 700, City Manager Blake Stone told Council.

Council is expected to discuss this further.

Council reappointed Wayne Evans on the Property Maintenance Board of Appeals, a term which will be expiring on May 10.

Also Tuesday night, Stone emphasized the importance of responding to the Census.

“It’s very simple,” said Stone. “It can be done in five to 10 minutes.”

He called on Council members to reach out to their constituents to respond to the Census.

In old business, Council tabled a decision on an appointment to fill the four year term of office of Jason Walker on the Planning Commission, a term which expired on March 8, and a decision on an appointment to fill the three year term of office of Mark Meyers on the Property Maintenance Board of Appeals, a term which expired on April 11.

Tuesday night’s meeting was held electronically, as was Monday night’s Abbeville County Council meeting, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Tuesday night, at the conclusion of the meeting, Council member Faye Thomas expressed the hope that Council members will be able to see each other safely face to face at their next meeting.

City Council members noted friends and relatives affected by the coronavirus.

Freeman called on people to take COVID 19 seriously.

“We hope that this virus doesn’t hit home,” he said.

At press time, Council was preparing for an executive session.

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