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Fort Deposit approves sagging pants ordinance

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

The Fort Deposit Town Council took the first step toward approving proposed new voting district boundary lines and approving a sagging pants ordinance Monday night.

The council also received some gloomy news over its bond sales by Merchant Capital.

Jerome Gray appeared before the council to present new proposed district voting boundaries based on the 2010 census.

Gray said the lines needed to be redrawn because of a population imbalance. He said District One, with two council members, as it presently exists is underpopulated by 175 people from the ideal size and District Two, which has three council members, is over populated by 174 people.

He said the population of the town actually grew from 1,270 to 1,344 or by 5.82 percent. He said the white population decreased from 400 to 318 people or by 20.5 percent, and the black population increased from 870 to 1,015 by 16.67 percent.

Following the report, the council voted to move one house to District Two at 115 Hook St. as it was the only house on the opposite of that street from the proposed new lines.

The next step will be to advertise the proposed lines and map and hold a public hearing to adopt the plan prior to submission to the U.S. Department of Justice for approval.

The council agreed not enter into a rental agreement to rent a building and voted to request a meeting with the water board and Malcolm Hughes.

The council approved a sagging pants ordinance that prohibits the wearing of pants in certain public places (on public property) three inches below the hips exposing skin or undergarments.

Violation of the ordinance would result in a citation with a fine for violation for parent, legal guardian and or a juvenile of not less than $25 and not more than $100 and court ordered community service of not less than 10 or more than 20 hours.

An adult would be fined not less than $25 and not more than $200 and may be ordered to participate in community services of not less than 10 or more than 40 hours.

The offense would not be deemed a criminal offense and violators would not subject to arrest.

The ordinance was approved on a three-one vote with Council member Elbert Lee Means opposed.

Mayor Fletcher Fountain said hopefully this ordinance would bring people back in line. He said,

“It’s not to put anybody in jail” and not to make money.

“All you want them to do is keep their pants up,” he said.

Voting in favor were Darrell Heartsill, Chad Gravely and Jacquline Boone. Irish Simmons was absent. Means said he voted against the measure because, “My position is that you can’t legislate morality.”

A public hearing will also be held on this matter.

Ken Funderburk of Merchant Capital said the bond market is bad right now regarding efforts to sell a $3.8 million bond issue for the town of Fort Deposit.

He said his company is not having luck selling Triple B Minus Bonds for the town but will not compensated unless the bonds are sold.

He said the current bondholders have been paid and the town is continuing to make its bond payments.

As the council reported it is seeking other means to get a $1.6 million sewer extension to the interstate, Funderburk said that would help reduce the size of the deal Merchant Capital was attempting to work for the town.

Means explained later that the purpose of the new bond issue was to get a lower rate on its previous industrial park bond issue, get funds to pay off its loan to First Citizens Bank and get a sewer extension to the interstate all in one package deal.