West Pelzer Council talks trash, sewer

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By Stan Welch

Garbage and sewage were the only topics of the evening for the minimal quorum of three members at the West Pelzer Town Council meeting Monday. Mayor Peggy Paxton was not present, leaving mayor pro tem and mayoral candidate in this year’s election, Jimmy Jeanes to run the meeting.

The first topic,the contract for garbage pick up service, was one he had placed on the agenda himself. The contract the town has been operating under for three years expires soon, and it is apparent that most of the Council sees a need for some changes in the new contract. Those changes are related mostly to the number of times that the service provider should be required to pick up leaves and yard debris during the course of the year.

Currently, the contract calls for a once yearly pick up of such materials, as well as a once a year pickup of junk items such as abandoned appliances and furniture. That requirement drew much of the discussion, which preceded the offering of a motion to be brought to the floor. The general consensus was that both the current provider, as well as potential providers, probably have reservations about that requirement.

“It requires different equipment for them, and sometimes additional manpower,” said Jeanes. Councilman Blake Sanders, who is also running for mayor, agreed and actually made a motion to issue a basic request for proposals,or bids, that would give the town the flexibility to perhaps remove that requirement in lieu of additional leaf and debris removal.

“If we put some alternative conditions in the RFP, we can get a lower base price, and then be in a better position to negotiate any additional services we might add. For example, if we got a price for leaf removal based on cost per time they pick them up, we might add two or three more pickups, and not do the junk pickup,” said Sanders. Councilman Johnnie Rogers seconded that motion and the measure passed unanimously.

The legal announcement of the request for proposals will run in the Journal for three consecutive weeks, beginning on September 23rd, with the bids to be opened at the Council meeting on October 12. The contract will be awarded for just one year, instead of the three year contract currently in force.

Jeanes and the Council then moved to the issue of an ordinance providing for the issuance of one million, one hundred and thirty thousand dollars in two separate bonds designed to finance the second phase of the town’s water and sewer systems.

Following a lengthy discussion, led by Town Attorney Carey Murphy, about the benefits of interim financing by a bank, rather than the traditional method of Rural Development Authority financing, a motion was eventually made to give first reading approval to the proposed ordinance.

The Council decided that the benefit of an earlier start to the project through the use of interim financing was worth the additional costs, and the ordinance was unanimously approved.