Whitmire Cracking Down On Residents Behind On 911 Addressing - WSPA.com

Whitmire Cracking Down On Residents Behind On 911 Addressing

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Any Whitmire citizen who gets multiple warnings for not displaying their new house number could now face jail time. Any Whitmire citizen who gets multiple warnings for not displaying their new house number could now face jail time.
NEWBERRY COUNTY, S.C. - Every citizen in one Upstate town is forced to change addresses, but there are no boxes being packed and no moving vans in sight. The town of Whitmire has renamed almost every street and renumbered every house.

It's a move to increase response times for EMS, as they transition to a new E-911 system, but there's been some trouble with compliance and the town is taking action.

It might seem harsh at first, but any citizen who gets multiple warnings for not displaying their new house number could now face jail time. This is part of a new ordinance passed just this week.

Whitmire's mayor said it's more a call to action than a threat.

“We're not doing this to hurt anyone,” said Mayor Billy Hollingsworth.

He said he isn't in the business of putting people behind bars, but he wants people to pay attention.

“If there's no penalty, they're going to ignore the ordinance,” he said.

In October of last year, Whitmire became the final town in Newberry County to join the enhanced 911 system, established in 1995.

All counties in the Upstate, including Greenville and Spartanburg have an e-911 department. New housing and buildings must go through them to get an address.

Where this story differs from others like it is Whitmire did a complete makeover to street names and house numbers, affecting every citizen.

“There was no rhyme or reason to the numbering system we had,” said Hollingsworth.   

At one point, there were 4 separate streets named ‘Railroad Avenue.’

“You get an EMS call, ‘which railroad avenue,’” questioned the Mayor.

Some citizens feel the transition to new addresses hasn't been completely smooth. Across the town, you spot many homes and mailboxes with two sets of numbers. Residents have been asked to display their new numbers on their homes and mailboxes. In addition, they've had to change where bills are sent and get new drivers license.

Resident Stacy Bodie said it's a hassle for the elderly who often rely on others for help.

“Most people aren't going to do anything without money. If you've got an income coming in once a month, they can't afford to have everything done,” she said.

Others like Timothy Taylor said it wasn't a big deal, but he admitted he hasn't displayed his new numbers, yet.

7 On Your Side told him about the potential for fines and even jail time.

“I'll definitely make sure I get my numbers out now,” said Taylor.

Mayor Hollingsworth said they will start by contacting residents by mail and give them 15 days to comply. The first offense is a written warning. The second offense is a fifty dollar fine or jail time or both. The third offense is a five hundred dollar fine or up to 30 days in jail or both.

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