NEWS

COVID-19 results in West Columbia virtual council meeting, spike in garbage volume

West Columbia City Council meeting earlier this year

For the first time in history, the West Columbia City Council held a virtual – on-line- council meeting, Tuesday.

“I just hope that everyone will stay healthy and use common sense,” said
West Columbia Mayor Tem Miles at the beginning of the meeting.

He also said: “It’s important to fulfill our obligation to hold our meeting at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month.”

Miles polled each council member to record their vote audibly, on agenda items during the virtual meeting. The agenda was displayed on the computer screen for virtual attendees.

Miles said the city’s staff has worked hard to make sure the meeting could be conducted safely and in accordance of the coronavirus safety guidelines.

“We’re glad that the folks of West Columbia can can access the city council meeting and hear us conducting the business of the city for them,” said Miles.

He also said that the leadership of the city is monitoring all information outlets as it deals with the crisis caused by the coronavirus.

That includes listening to all orders from Gov. Henry McMaster and the directives issued by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Center for Disease Control.

West Columbia Sanitation crew.

Miles said every city employee is working hard and dedicating to serving the people, while keeping themselves and their families safe.

Miles said one service that the city provides cannot work from home.

“There is no more essential service than trash pick-up,” said Miles. And sanitation department is working harder than ever to meet the demands of the residents.

“Our yard trash volume is up by 80 percent,” said City of West Columbia Public Works director Jamie Hook. Yard trash can include anything from limbs and leaves to an old wooden table that is being discarded.

Hook said sanitation crews have picked up 152 tons of yard trash as of Monday, April 6. He said there is a lot more yard work and more spring cleaning going on because people are at home in accordance with coronavirus orders.

Hook also said there is about 25 percent more household garbage and recycling than normal because people are eating at home more instead of going out or eating at school.

City crews are about a week behind schedule in yard trash collection because of the increased demand for pick up.

Sanitation

Hook said public works employees are working six days a week to catch up. He also asked that residents be courteous and patient while the city deals with the coronavirus crisis.

Despite the disruption in everyone’s routine, Miles is looking to the future.

“West Columbia and its people are strong, said Miles. “We will get through this. I have a lot of faith in our community. We will prevail. And I appreciate everyone’s understanding to this point.”

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