Liberty weighs moving city hall

By Steve Lorch
For The Courier

LIBERTY — Change may be coming to Liberty’s City Hall in the form of a potential move from its current location to the Rosewood Center.

During Monday’s city council meeting, Liberty mayor Eric Boughman cited several benefits to the move.

“The Rosewood Center is a historic building, and it should be treated that way,” Boughman said.

Among other reasons cited, the larger space would allow the city to apply for grants to improve and enlarge the jail, increase needed office space and council chambers and host bigger events, Boughman said.

Councilman Brian Petersen agreed there is “merit to combining areas into our current expense.”

The Rosewood Center costs the city $2,000 per month to run, but it doesn’t generate nearly that amount in rentals, officials said. Plans are to temporarily shut down the rental program by June 30 to evaluate and standardize rates.

In other business, council approved the purchase of a new garbage truck. The vehicle will cost the city $133,533, financed through BB&T at 2.13 percent for seven years.

Public works director Olen Hamlin explained that the normal life expectancy of a garbage truck is five years.

“Our newest truck is over 10 years old,” Hamlin said.

Repairs on old trucks have resulted in interruption of service and added expense.

“The future may require a completely new trash pickup system, and this truck would be able to integrate into that new system,” councilman Brian Petersen said.

In addition, Petersen noted the lowest bid for the new truck was from a local company in Easley, keeping those funds closer to the community.

Boughman also gave an update on repairs to the city’s aging water system.

“The work on Commerce Street is moving forward,” he said. “Workers have been courteous and have kept everything clean.”

The only complaints cited were related to a five-hour water shutoff on Monday. Liberty’s water system was originally installed in 1926. As a result, some of the nearest valves could not be shut off, so public works had to go back further than expected.

Hamlin reported there should be “no more service interruptions except for individual hookups.”

The work on the water line finished one week ahead of schedule, and crews are now working on the sewer system, which should be completed within three weeks.

Boughman also made a proclamation that March is “March for Meals Month” to raise awareness for the Meals on Wheels program, which combats senior hunger and isolation. Meals on Wheels began in 1954 and is dependent upon volunteers for donations and service.