By Rachel Dove
WILLIAMSON - With a new mayor and council member in place, Williamson City Council conducted its final meeting of the month of May. All members were present with the exception of Councilwoman Connie Rockel.
Steve Knopp, a Williamson attorney who was appointed as mayor prior to the resignation of former Mayor Darrin McCormick, presided over his second official meeting and addressed the much-needed revamping of the city’s website. Knopp and council members were all in agreement that the updates were long overdue and, with the increase in tourists to the area, those visiting the city need to be able to see all that the Tug Valley has to offer before arriving.
Jim Pajarillo, an attorney who recently returned to the Williamson area, had volunteered to work on the website, with the help of several of his colleagues. Although the city will still incur some financial obligation for the hosting fees, the updates by Pajarillo will save them a substantial amount of money.
“I’m very impressed by what I have seen so far and look forward to the finished product,” the mayor said. Pajarillo addressed several questions from council members concerning the changes being made, as well as some from members of the public in attendance.
“I looked at the old website and saw many changes we could implement that would make it more user-friendly and really highlight what Williamson has to offer,” Pajarillo said. “The new market design won’t be a turn-off for those viewing his site, and it won’t look like something out of the 1990’s. It will greatly improve the efficiency of the city and we will also have links on there to other local tourist spots, as well as information about upcoming events.”
Councilman York Smith told those in attendance that he had spoken with Paul Mattox, superintendent of the state Department of Highways, about the status of the repairs to the underpass on Harvey Street and was informed that all road projects have come to a halt until federal funds are released in Washington. Smith said this has occurred at locations across the state and, although he knows this has caused some inconvenience for local travelers, it will still be worth it when it’s completed. Smith also informed everyone that the DOH has promised to lay new asphalt in the area where the grates are being replaced to make the surface even and smooth.
Councilwoman Sherry Brown asked that potholes on Smith Street, as well as a few on Mulberry Street, be repaired, saying that she had received numerous complaints from residents, as well as others, who travel in that direction.
The subject of the change in the polling place this year from Goodman Manor to the cafeteria of the former Williamson High School was discussed as council members had heard a lot of negative comments from the public, especially from those who are elderly and have health issues that make climbing stairs an unpleasant task. Mayor Knopp said he would approach the county with the offer of using the city hall facilities in the future to better accommodate everyone’s needs.
The newest council member, Judy Hamrick, who was appointed to replace Matthew Thornsbury, who resigned recently to relocate to another state, said she hadn’t received any complaints from the public but asked that Veolia Water inspect storm drains throughout the city to make sure they didn’t need to be tightened, explaining that she had personally run over a couple recently that appeared to be loose.
The next meeting of city council will be held June 12 at 6 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend. To be placed on the agenda, contact city hall by calling 304-235-1510.