Recent shooting raises crime concern level in Pelzer

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By David Meade

The main topic of discussion at a recent Pelzer Town Council meeting was crime and what to do about it. Just a week earlier, three people were fatally shot in a house less than a few hundred yards from the Pelzer Town Hall building.

Councilmember Cheryl Boudreau reminded everyone that a newly formed Crimewatch group is meeting in Pelzer and that the community need to become more involved.

Boudreau said they are looking into offering CWP and self defense classes and that the next meeting for the Crimewatch group is set for May 13 at 7 p.m. at the Pelzer community building.

“We have to join as a community,” Boudreau said. “We need more people to get involved.”

Councilmembers Tony Riddle and Sandra Ragsdale were not present. During the meeting, there was considerable discussion about crime and drugs in the area.

Pelzer resident Gilbert Garrett, who recently applied for property to be annexed into the town limits, asked about paperwork that was supposed to be mailed to Columbia and about annexation of the mill property.

The discussion on annexation led to more discussion of having a police officer or department for the town if enough residents are willing to be brought into the town.

At a previous meeting, Garrett had suggested a committee be formed to talk with residents about the benefits of being in the town.

There was some discussion that many towns have higher utility rates for residents living outside the town limits. Pelzer currently has the same rates for water and sewer services provided to the residents of the incorporated part of the town and the upper and lower mill villages.

Resident Roger Scott said, “We are powerless because we are not incorporated.” Scott said there is a need to educate people and that nothing is free.

“It is dangerous,” he said. “Even if it is one house, we have got to start somewhere.”

“We can do it with your help,” Scott told the council. “We really need to do this. It affects us all.”

Scott said even if the town had five officers, the shooting would have still happened. He added, “If we had a police presence, it would deter some of this.”

There was some talk of mutual aid agreements with the county and how that works with Williamston and West Pelzer.

The only action taken by the council was to approve two requests made by the Pelzer Heritage Commisssion.

Council approved a request by Pelzer Heritage Commission member Gilbert Garrett to allow the group to paint and install sky lights in the restrooms at the Monkey Park.

Garrett also asked if the group could hold a community yard sale at the Monkey Park. Council agreed to allow them to do on as a trial and see how it goes.

No other action was taken.