Pelzer holds worksession on annexation process

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The Town of Pelzer held a special worksession Friday, Apr. 12 in which Scott Slatten of the SC Municipal Association presented information about how the annexation process works.Approxiamtely 20 interested people attended. Slatten’s presentation included steps the town and/or residents could take to begin the process.

Benefits to residents usually include improved services, additional services such as streetlights and utilities, law enforcement and fire protection, lower property insurance ratings, planning and zoning land use regulations and participation in the local municipal government.

Benefits to the municipality usually include more citizens participating in the government, economy of scale in providing services, increased revenue sharing to support services and better planning.

Slatten described three specific ways to property owners or registered voters could petition to have properties annexed into the town. (More information and details on the annexation process will be posted later).

There was also some discussion about one service that is no longer being provided by the town. Twenty-five streetlights located outside the town limits were recently cut off. The town council voted to cut out the streetlights several months ago in an effort to cut some expenses. The town has subsidized the streetlights which were originally placed by the mills when they were operating.

“Technically we didn’t have to,” McGregor said about continueing to offer the service. “That’s the way it was done,” referring to the mills providing services to the upper and lower mill villages which are outside of the town’s municipal limits.

Services provided by the town to residents inside and outside the town limits include water and sewer utilities, streetlights, garbage pickup and recreation including the swimming pool.

The issue of annexation came up during a previous meeting of Council after discussion of crime and theft problems in the Pelzer area.

Mayor McGregor said that the town council was “looking at how to best use the resources we have for right now and how to take care of them in the future.”

The regular scheduled meeting of Council was canceled due to lack of a quorum. Only the mayor and one councilmember, Donna Ide, were present.

Agenda items for the meeting, which will be rescheduled at a later date, included second reading on a Hospitality Tax ordinance, discussion regarding combining utilities with Town of Williamston, water tank repairs and a report from the Pelzer Heritage Commission.