By Stan Welch – The West Pelzer Town Council dealt with various ordinances, as well as giving first reading approval to the 2012-2013 budget. After months of shaping and amending and debating the Town’s leaf burning ordinance, final approval was given to the law. The salient points of the ordinance are as follows: no burning of leaves or limbs between April 1 and October 31.
Between October 31 and March 31, such materials can be burned only on the first and third Saturday of the month, and between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
No fire may be started after three p.m., nor any fuel added to a burning fire after that time. All fires must be completely extinguished by five p.m. and must be tended by an adult at all times. Nothing but yard debris may be burned and only debris that originated on the site may be burned. Camp fires and bonfires are not affected.
The Council also gave first reading approval to an ordinance prohibiting big trucks from using compression brakes or jake brakes except in the event of an emergency. The use of those brakes results in a loud chattering noise. Under the proposed ordinance, the fine would be $250.
The Council, however, declined to repeal an ordinance prohibiting keeping chickens in the town limits. The ordinance had been challenged by a family that has several chickens which they raise for meat. But neighbors opposed any change and the police Chief Clardy pointed out that the associated health issues were considerable.
“Chickens bring snakes and they bring rats. I grew up in the country, so I know what to look for, but I’ve got a couple of officers who are from Detroit and they never walked through a pasture barefoot,” he said.
The Council voted 4-1 to continue the ordinance as it is.
Council also gave first reading approval to the proposed budget, which on paper at least, shows a surplus of approximately $140,000.Town clerk Paula Payton, speaking to the Journal, quickly pointed out that anticipated expenses associated with the town’s sewer improvements and pending connection to ReWa’s lines will likely impact that surplus.
The Council also approved authorizing police officers to check contractors working in town on weekends and after hours to insure that they have a town business license. Under the new proposal, the officer could verify whether the contractor had a license or not. If not the officer could write one out on the spot and accompany the contractor to Town Hall where the paperwork and payment could be deposited in the secure drop box.