By David Meade
Pelzer Town Council unanimously approved first reading on their 2013-14 budget and final reading on a new hospitality tax. The two percent hospitality tax will be added to prepared food and beverages sold in the town and can only be used for recreation, tourism and promotion expenses.
The $958,721 budget includes changes in water and sewer and other fees that will bring in additional revenues for the town.
Part-time Administrator Skip Watkins said increases in water and sewer rates are necessary for expected costs associated with water tank rehab.
Watkins said eliminating the no cost allowance for the first 1000 gallons for water and sewer usage will bring in an additional $20,425 in sewer revenues and $36,960 in water revenues.
which can be used for mandatory improvements on the town’s water tank.
The change will result in an additional $3.04 on sewer bills and $5.50 on individual water bills.
A $10 increase in the recreation fees for participants will result in an additional $8,000 to help fund the town’s football, basketball and baseballprogram.
The budget also reflects an increase in the fee for using the town’s community building, which will go from $90 to $125 per day which is projected to bring in an additional $3,500.
Council unanimously approved the budget with the recommended increases with a 4-0 vote. Councilman Tony Riddle was not present for the meeting.
Mayor Steve McGregor said he has had discussions with Williamston’s mayor about the possibility of Williamston supplying water to Pelzer at a lower cost than they are presently paying for Greenville water.
McGregor said, “It is enticing enough to look into it.”
McGregor said engineers are looking at the cost of laying a connecting line on Courtney St. and the town is looking at legal considerations with the entities involved including Greenville Water and the Anderson Joint Regional Water System.
The line would require approximately 2600 ft. of pipe and would have about an eight year payback based on preliminary information according to Watkins.
Pelzer Heritage Commisssion member Larry Coker updated the town on a possible volunteer cleanup on the mill property.
Coker also suggested the town allow a camera system to be installed at the Monkey Park to help deter vandalism.
He said he had obtained an estimate of $1000 and said that the Pelzer Historic Commission would pay half the cost.
Harry Marchant of the Friends of Pelzer organization told council that the renovation project for a historic building located next to town hall was paying off.
Marchant said Restoration Truth Ministries had signed a commercial lease at $455 per month to use the building.
The building was renovated with the town’s blessing through donations and labor coordinated by Marchant.
Marchant said that the purpose of the project was to restore, benefit and beautify the property. “I am excited that the vision we had has come to fruition,” he said.
A Pelzer resident told council that he and several other property owners are considering requesting to be annexed into the town limits.
Pelzer officials recently had a representative of the SC Municipal Association present information about annexation processes to them and the public.
There is increasing interest among some residents in becoming a part of the town and possible benefits that could be obtained.
Additional details on the Pelzer budget will be posted soon.