By David Meade
Pelzer Town Council began the new year with a new meeting day and time which residents clearly supported. More than 30 residents attended the council meeting held at the Pelzer Community Building Monday evening. Councilmembers decided at their last meeting to change the meeting schedule from mid-day on the second Friday to 7 p.m. on the second Monday of the month.
The change was made in the hopes that more people could and would attend. The meeting place was also changed from the cramped quarters of the town offices to the community building to allow room for a larger audience. Several members of the audience expressed their appreciation for the decicision.
Mayor Steve McGregor said increased interest in annexation into the town and the fact that more people wanted to get involved led to the decision.
Councilmember Donna Ide said, “We are serious about moving the town forward,” giving the completion of a recent sewer project as an example. “We want you to annex and be a part of the town.” Ide also stated that having Will Ragland as a resident and the Mill Town Players in Pelzer is “an asset to the town.”
During the public comments portion of the meeting, several residents asked questions related to anenxation and cleanup of the upper mill property.
Wayne Wilson said he was “glad to see town council involved and change to evenings so town residents can attend” and supporting annexation. “We need to all get together and move forward.”
During the business portion of the meeting, Council approved the sale of the Pelzer pool, agreed to outsource payroll and placed the lagoon property with a professional realtor.
The big news of the evening was the announcement that the town plans to proceed with a 25 percent petition and election method of annexation.
The annexation option allows the town to completely annex all properties within a designated boundary if 25 percent of qualified voters request a referendum and approve it.
Under the 25 percent petition and election method of annexation, a petition must be signed by 25 percent or more of the qualified electors who are residents in the Pelzer voting precinct. Once that happens, a council resolution allows the petition to be sent to the county election commission for certification.
If certified, the election commission will then order an election to be held within the area proposed to be annexed.
Registered qualified electors residing within the area to be annexed can vote in the election and a majority vote approves the annexation.
There are opt out provisions for freeholders owning 25 percent of assessed value of property to be annexed or freeholders owning 10 acres of agricultural real property.
If the annexation referendum is approved, second reading on the ordinance can be held 30 days after publication of the election results and the annexation will be final.
Unless . . . five percent or more of the electors within the municipality present another petition for a second vote. If this happens, the final reading must be delayed until the petition is certified and the annexation goes to another vote. If a majority oppose the annexation it fails and another annexation election can not be initiated for two years.
According to Pelzer Municipal Clerk Heather Holcombe, the Pelzer voting precinct has 579 registered voters. Twenty-five percent, or 145 qualified voters are required to sign the petition to have the annexation placed on an election referendum.
A petition will be available at town hall for six months beginning Feb 1 for residents who are qualified voters, and want to see annexation move forward, to sign.
“The doors are open,” Mayor McGregor said. “This is the quickest method. We need you in here.”