West Pelzer Council to address budget cuts Thursday

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By David Meade

A special called meeting of West Pelzer Town Council will be held this Thursday, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. to address an ongoing cash flow problem the town is experiencing. The meeting is being called for council to hold second reading on a budget amendment which will affect two jobs with the town.

West Pelzer Town Councilmember Jimmy Jeanes proposed amending the budget which will in effect eliminate one position in the police department and one part-time position in the Water-Sewer Department.

Jeanes said he is concerned about the current cash flow of the town and the town’s ability to cover expenses and salaries as they are now. Jeanes said additional cuts in other areas will also need to be made. There has already been some discussion about the town planning to execute another TAN in the coming budget year.

Jeanes said the town could possibly cover expenses over the next few months until additional expected revenues come in however the town must pay back the $40,000 borrowed on the TAN note by April.

“There is expected to be very little income taken in by the town before the note is due,” Jeanes said in a statement to The Journal this week.

Jeanes said he is not against the police department as some citizens have said and that he believes the police department is critical to the town, however at this time the town is experiencing a cash flow problem which must be dealt with somehow.

Salaries are the town’s biggest expense. Jeanes said he has spent many hours looking over the town’s finances and agonizing over the decision.

“This is not an easy decision to make,” Jeanes said, “Especially when it involves having to cut employees. At this time there is not any other way to make the necessary cuts. I would love for there to be a full-time police force for our town, but the fact is that we cannot financially support four full-time police officers at this time.”

Jeanes addresses the issue in more detail this week in a Letter to the Editor.

West Pelzer Police Chief Mike Clardy also addressed quotes made during last weeks council meeting in a Letter to the Editor to be published in this weeks Journal.

In the letter, Clardy states, “Please understand that I realize that our elected officials have determined that this course of action was what they best saw fit to improve the quality of life in our community.” Clardy also apologizes for a statement made to council which he said he made out of frustration with the issue.

In the statement Clardy said, “Regardless of the outcome of the latest proposal we will stand together and continue to provide you the best service possible with the manpower we are alloted.” Chief Clardy alluded that if the department does lose an officer due to the budget cuts, he will be forced to outsource a shift.