By David Meade
Residents and town officials who want to see the town limits of Pelzer expanded from the original four or five streets that were incorporated in 1952, to include the entire upper and lower mill villages, will almost to the day have the opportunity to be a part of what could be a historic step for the town.
The town is collecting signatures under the Annexation by Elector Petition and Election Method allowed by the state to begin the process and Pelzer Clerk Heather Holcombe plans to turn the petition in to the Anderson County Election Commission Monday, one day shy of the date marking the town’s 63rd anniversary of being Chartered March 17, 1952. Holcombe is hoping to add 25 or more names to the petition before it is turned in.
The Petition and Election method allows 25 percent of the registered voters in the proposed incorporation area, in this case the Pelzer Voting Precinct, to sign a petition which is filed with the town council.
The petition must contain a description of the area to be annexed, the signature of the “qualified elector” (registered voter), the address of residence and the act or code section to which the proposed annexation is to be accomplished.
A black notebook at Pelzer Town Hall does just this. As of Tuesday afternoon, 153 people had signed the petition for annexation.
The Pelzer voting precinct has 559 registered voters. As required by the annexation method, 25 percent of those, or 145, have to sign the petition for it to move forward.
Holcombe said she would like to have a buffer with at least 180 to 200 names on the petition when it is turned in to the Anderson County Election Commission on Monday.
Holcombe said she and others will be working over the next few days to get additional registered voters to sign the petition. Any registered voter who supports the idea of expanding the town limits by annexation will have only a few more days to sign the petition and show their support for the effort.
The petition will then be turned over to the county election commission for verification which is expected to be completed by the end of the week, March 20, according to Katy Smith, Registration and Elections Director of the Anderson County Election Commission.
Once verified and receipted back to the town, the Pelzer Town council will meet and pass a resolution verifying whether the petition is valid or not.
The official resolution will be sent back to the Anderson County Election Commission for the Election Board to act on during their meeting at 4:30 p.m. on April 4.
The County Election Board will then set the date for the annexation election, tentatively as June 9, Smith said.
The special election will be held at the Community Building which is the normal polling location for voters in the Pelzer precinct.
Those encouraging the annexation process hope that their effort will eventually help with crime and other problems. If it succeeds, residents will also be able to vote in town elections, beginning this year.