NEWBERRY — Newberry City Council held a first reading to annex two land parcels in the Oakland Mill community into the city at their meeting Tuesday night.
The parcels, located specifically between S.C. 121 and Fair Avenue, represent the site of incoming business ThermaFlo Inc., which is owned by Newberry College alumni Bob James and is expected to begin operations here later this year.
“Very rarely does a business come in and say, ‘I want to be in the city,’” said Matt DeWitt, assistant city manager. “(James) just likes what we’re doing. He likes the services and thinks we’re doing a good job.”
DeWitt reported James was also considering Chester for relocation but after analyzing the offerings of both municipalities decided Newberry was best suited for the needs of his company.
A motion to approve the first reading was made by Councilman Lemont Glasgow and seconded by Councilman Thomas Boyd with all in favor.
Current property owner Misty West addressed council in favor of the annexation stating, “I think it will be a very positive addition to the Oakland community.”
Additionally a main entrance will be added on S.C. 121 so that an expected increase in traffic will not affect the existing community.
Thermaflow Inc. was founded in 1986 and manufactures industrial steam and fluid systems.
Fifteen to 20 of the company’s current employees are expected to relocate to Newberry with several additional positions to be sought.
Council also recognized three employees for having reached milestones in their careers with the city.
Regina Trujillo, who works in the finance department, became employed by the city in 2006 and now holds the position of customer service coordinator.
“She’s great with customer service. The people that come through City Hall love her,” DeWitt said.
Utility department employee Terry Crapps has also been working with the city for 10 years and currently holds the position of water plant operator “B.”
“Terry’s been with us a long time and he does a good job,” DeWitt said.
And finally council recognized Johnnie Caldwell for reaching 15 years of service with the Parks, Recreation and Tourism department.
Caldwell currently holds the position of recreation program coordinator.
“I can’t say this enough — everybody loves Johnnie,” DeWitt said. “We’re lucky to have him. He works harder than just about anybody around here.”
Additionally Caldwell works as a part-time campus security guard at Newberry College.
Dale Rikard, who resides outside the city, addressed her concerns to council regarding an increase in her monthly water bill attributed to a rate increase that took effect July 2015.
Were Rikard purchasing utilities from the Newberry County Water and Sewer Authority rather than the city she would be paying more for water but less for sewer.
Going forward DeWitt said the city will “possibly” evaluate the current rate for outside customers.
Reach Carson Lambert at 803-276-0625, ext. 1868, or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.