Disparity In Treatment

Editor’s Note: The following presentation was made by Mrs. Rachel Banks at the Dillon City Council meeting on October 14th.

To The Honorable Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Phil Wallace, M.D, To the Honorable Council Members Assembled this Evening, and to the City Administrator. Mr. Glen Wagner , who works tirelessly to ensure that the City of Dillon functions efficiently and effectively.
My name is Rachel Covington Banks along with my Sister Doris Covington and Brother Lawrence Covington(in absentia), residing at 507 S. 6th Ave., in the City of Dillon , S.C.
We were born and raised here, with strict up-bringing and attended the Dillon Public Schools.
Congratulations to newly elected Councilmen, the Honorable Timothy Cousar , our neighbor, and newly elected, the Honorable Jay David.
I speak before this auspicious body to address issues that continue to impact our community, commonly referred to as the “Bottom.”
I’ve come back to our community!
Should you not be familiar with the bottom, it begins at S. Second Ave. and runs approximately to S. 14th Ave., ALL South of Main St .
In the two years that I’ve been back, It is interesting to note, as others have observed, a seemingly disparity of services between the North-Side and the South-Side sections of Dillon.
It is not my intention to cast any aspersions upon anyone nor any department in the City of Dillon.
I applaud Councilman Cousar for stepping up to represent our community and dealing with these issues. I am certain that he has witnessed the same issues, we experience as having lived in the “Bottom” all of our lives.
Our family home was built by our father, close to one hundred years ago, stands as a testament to our family’s hard work, diligence, and commitment to this community.(in the bottom);
It is our concern that we have witnessed differences in the application of service treatment between the two areas; i.e. the North section of Dillon versus the South section of Dillon.
For example, Duke Energy trimmed and pruned all the trees on the northern side of Main Street. Yet, the identical power lines on the south side of Main Street were NOT . I called Duke Energy to inquire . There was no explanation. Why, Should this be an issue? I raise the question, because it addresses the disparity of services. After my call on last week, they did indicate that they would address the issue in 5 to 10 business days. I want to believe that they will.
Apparent question Why ?
This issue raises more questions confronting our community known as the “Bottom” as trash and deplorable conditions seem to worsen; Those who own properties which are abandoned, unoccupied and properties in deplorable condition should be held accountable WHY NOT? Another example, Those with the most have ignored being in the “Bottom”?
These conditions are not seen in the Northern Section of Dillon, WHY in the Bottom?
Some years ago, I walked our community, seeking signatures, for the installation of a Crime Watch Sign which was successfully achieved. The question remains, Why? Illustrating again, the apparent disparity between our North and South areas for like services.
Note: When discarded trash items are for pick up, why is it necessary to call the City for removal! That does not appear to happen to our neighbors on the North side of Main street! Why?
Additional documentation is evidenced by the ditch/canal which surrounds the City flowing southward, approximately one hundred feet from our home. The last hurricanes of Matthew and Florence flooded our home as a result of an unmaintained ditch. The cause was the result of debris , trash, styrofoam cups, bottles and everything else! I know that the City now has a budget item to hire two(2) employees to monitor and report these issues. I encourage Council’s support for this effort.
I state for the record that we’ve met with the City Administrator to address our concerns regarding the above mentioned as well as the County Emergency Management Coordinator several times. We also attended and made a presentation before the County’s Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee. Raising concerns as to their responsibilities dealing with Hurricane flooding. We also met and discussed these same issues with the County Administrator.
For the record, the last Hurricane, Dorian, did not experience overflowing amounts of water in the ditch/canal as previously experienced from Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. I believe that this was the result of the cooperative efforts working together, between the City and County of Dillon to address the water flow issue. I commend city and county administrators for their cooperative work.
It is a known fact that we are experiencing, an environmental phenomenon, never experienced before! Many fail to recognize. It is interesting to note that many young people have taken the initiative to address this issue while many politicians do not!
As, you know, this area (the Bottom) will continue to be an ill affected area unless the City Council, recognizes and appropriates necessary financial resources to address these apparent discrepancies.
Lastly, addressing our concerns of DISPARITY; {When one does not see beyond their horizon, the living conditions of others are not seen.}
Example: At the rear of our property, should one peer beyond their horizon, is located a “Junk Yard”. Fence broken down, over grown weeds, discarded appliances ,old cars stored without regard to the safety and dignity of our community (THE BOTTOM) the ditch that flows beyond our property is filled with debris. When brought to the attention of this matter, we were advised “Talk to the owner, and he will do something”. We did speak as directed. The only thing I know, is that the property has worsened. WHY ? Disparity OF TREAMENT IN “THE BOTTOM” !
WHO SHALL SPEAK FOR THOSE WHO ARE UNABLE OR UNWILLING. WHO SHALL ADDRESS THE ISSUES AND CONCERNS FOR THOSE WITH LITTLE RESOURCES.
WHO SHALL SPEAK FOR THOSE WHO FEEL THEY DON’T COUNT. WHO SHALL SPEAK ? SHOULD THOSE WHO HAVE LITTLE VOICE, OR THOSE WHO REFUSE and ARE AFRAID To YIELD TO THOSE WITH A BIG VOICE? SHOULD THE MORE AFFLUENT WHO STAND IN THE SHADOWS BE ALLOWED TO GO FREE WITHOUT PENALTY FOR THEIR INFRACTIONS?
IS THIS RIGHT!!!!
So to whom shall speak……with my little voice, I, Rachel Covington-Banks, have Spoken!
I implore Council to recognize and address these problems and ensure that our community (the BOTTOM) be serviced without indifference.

Truthfully Submitted.
THE COVINGTONS’
507 S. 6th Avenue
Dillon, SC