Friday, June 20, 2014
It’s not every day one sees the mayor and the police chief digging a ditch.
But in a town the size of Ridgeville, such sights seem to be a fairly common and needed occurrence.
Bill Thomas, a Ridgeville resident, happened to be driving by the Ridgeville Town Hall Monday after an intense thunderstorm hit the town when he saw Mayor James Williams and Police Chief Quinton Joyner, picks and shovels in hand, clearing debris from the drainage ditch that runs in front of the property.
“I was impressed – that property floods and there they were digging in that ditch trying to get it cleared,” Thomas said. “After a heavy rain, sometimes the flooding can go all the way out to the yellow lines in the street.”
Williams said it’s just part of his job as a public servant.
“We had a lot of rain up here the other day,” Williams said. “Our maintenance man must have been working on other tasks that day because he didn’t clear the ditch before he left for the day. I didn’t want to call him back in so I decided to do it myself, and the Chief (Police Chief Quinton Joyner) joined me. The chief is very helpful – he’ll assist me in anything I’m doing.”
The town has no public works department and only a handful of employees, most of whom are part-time, Williams said. Yet there are always situations that require prompt action, whether it’s removal of storm debris or cleaning up a spill from a passing cement truck.
“Small town, small money,” Williams said. “You have to do it yourself.”
Recently, he received a call about a lot of storm debris blocking an elderly resident’s driveway. Mayor, Chief, and Town Maintenance Man went with chainsaws and pick up truck to the home, cleared the debris, and hauled it away. Williams said he has since been told that the town will probably receive no reimbursement from FEMA for that; he also said that the paperwork required by the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments is complicated and extensive, which means it may take awhile for either he or the town clerk – also part-time—to finish preparing it.
“That’s OK; I’m glad we did it,” Williams said. “If they had needed to get an ambulance back there, they wouldn’t have been able to do it – it needed to be done and I’m glad we did it – I’m a public servant and that’s it.”