By Stan Welch
Pelzer Town Council met Friday and approved an expenditure of $168,200 for repairs to the town’s water tower. The low bid, which includes restoring the town logo on the tank, was submitted by Utility Service Company Incorporated.
Council also declined to approve a petition for annexation, submitted by Gilbert Garrett, who lives with his wife Nancy on Goodrich Street. Mayor McGregor explained that the legal and surveying costs incurred by the town as part of the annexation process makes it difficult to justify annexing just one home at a time.
“It costs about $2500 for the lawyers and a survey of the property costs an average of a hundred dollars per side surveyed,” McGregor said. “If we could take in all or most of Goodrich Street at one time, it would be worth it. And we certainly don’t want to discourage people who want to be annexed but this just isn’t a good way to do it.”
Garrett said he understood the town’s position, but added, “You have to start somewhere. At the same time, we don’t want to be a burden on the town.”
Harry Marchant, who was also on the agenda, explained that he went online and did much of the paperwork needed during the formation of the Save Pelzer group which he helped organize several years ago. “It might be worth checking to see just how much legal work can be done without the formality of a lawyer.”
Garrett said he would explore that possibility and report back to the Council.
Marchant then presented his case for an extension of his lease on a building he restored, arguing that funding the restoration took longer than expected due to the state of the economy. “I had to work to raise the money and I would ask to be given more time to recoup the money I spent so that our 501c3 organization can fund future projects in the town.”
Marchant was seeking eight years while the Council said there were only five years left on the lease. The Council was obviously disinclined to extend the lease and the discussion was becoming heated between Marchant and Councilman Tony Riddle until it was explained to Marchant that the issue could be revisited at the end of that five years.
Marchant said he had not understood that, and that such an agreement was satisfactory to him.
Skip Watkins then presented the council with some additional information about the proposal from Williamston to sell Pelzer its potable water. Watkins explained that the town currently uses approximately 39 million gallons annually, at a cost of between $70,000 and $80,000.
“If we could save seventy cents per thousand gallons, the difference would be significant. The offer is certainly worth looking at,” Watkins told Council.
He also explained that West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton had some reservations about a similar offer to her town. Watkins described one aspect of the proposed deal as “subsidizing the Main Street program” being promoted by Williamston as a means of attracting business and economic development to the three town area.
The Council also gave first reading approval to the 2013-2014 budget, which reflects revenues of $904, 725. A public hearing will be conducted at the second reading during the July 2 meeting.