Originally created 02/24/02

New Ellenton waits for election



NEW ELLENTON - The future of New Ellenton and its growth, according to some, hinges on a working relationship between the city council and the public works commission.

Meanwhile, four members on the council including the mayor and one member of public works are up for re-election March 26.

The commission and council have tangled in court for several years. The result was a parting of ways in 1998, said Danny Lowe, the superintendent of the public works commission.

At one time, public works controlled the city's water and sewer systems and its sanitation services. It now controls only water. Mr. Lowe contends public works is more equipped to handle the sewer system, while the city contracts its sanitation service.

Things could change.

"If the right people get elected, the commission and city council should have no problem straightening New Ellenton out," Mr. Lowe said.

Both utility systems have had problems.

The sewer system is up and running after being forced into bankruptcy during the mid-1990s.

"Basically, New Ellenton's a pretty good place," said Eddie Bryant, who owns Bryant's Fish and More on South Carolina Highway 19. "But if I had access to sewer service, I'd want it."

The water system has sporadic low-pressure spots, and there were several line breaks about 1 1/2 ago. About 6,000 feet of line along White Pond Road had to be replaced at the time, which fixed the problem temporarily, Mr. Lowe said. An additional 15,000-feet of piping will be needed to fix the problem permanently.

Pipe improvements and increasing of the city's water storage capacity from 400,000 gallons to 600,000 are on the way, Mr. Lowe said. The additions will be paid for with approximately $1.5 million in loans, which Mr. Lowe said have been assured.

Mr. Lowe said New Ellenton's services are running "as smooth" as they have in a while.

Who's running:

Mayor - Vernon Dunbar, Democrat

Jim Sutherland, Republican

Three of the city's six at-large seats -

Democrats Joe Gleaton and Bobby Binder, and Republicans Terence B. Williams, Charles Duval and Debra Pritchett

Commission of public works - Darryl E. Whitman

The Aiken County Voter Registration and Elections Office will accept absentee votes March 3 through March 25.

Reach Josh Gelinas at (803) 279-6895 or josh.gelinas@augustachronicle.com.