By David Meade
Pelzer Mayor Steve McGregor began the December town council meeting thanking current councilmembers for their service and their efforts in supporting the town’s annexation process, which expanded the town limits to include the upper and lower mill villages, and in turn, resulted in an all new council that will take office in January. “They did a lot to make it worthwhile,” he said. “ And did it so everything was timely and people got to vote and run for office. I want to thank them.”
It was the last meeting as councilmembers for Cheryl Beaudreau, Donna Ide and Tony Riddle, who all lost their seats on council to persons who were able to run for office due to the annexation which passed in June. Ide and Riddle both served on Pelzer Town Council for the last nine years.
New councilmembers who will be sworn into office in January include Olene Bear, Will Ragland, Roger Scott and Kimberly Crone Wilson.
During the meeting citizens also thanked them for their service and support of the annexation process.
Mayor McGregor said that when the new council convenes, there will be some changes in an effort to make the meetings less informal and in his words, to “start operating like a town should.”
McGregor said there will be a signup sheet for citizens who want to speak at the meetings and the meetings will be a bit more structured.
He said over the last year the council meetings were scheduled on Mondays so more citizens could attend and he let many of them speak and air out concerns during the meetings.
“It was a unique situation,” he said. Pelzer used the 25 percent annexation method which brought 600 people into a town of 40.
“We worked and strived to get everybody into the town,” he said.
McGregor reiterated how Pelzer had relied on the mills, and the town tried to provide the same services after the mills left.
That included going from artesian wells to supply cheap water to connecting with Greenville Water, not updating infrastructure, and attempting to keep recreation as a priority, including keeping a costly public swimming pool open.
“We are working on finding the best ways to run the town,” McGregor said.
“We need you to participate, the mayor told the audience of about 20 people attending the meeting. We need your help. We need your input. It has to be done by somebody. Lets us do it.”
McGregor said one of the first things the newly expanded town will do is turn on approximately 25 streetlights that were turned off when the town could no longer afford to keep them on.
McGregor said the lights should be back on by January.
During the meeting there was considerable discussion about the Phase II sewer project and repair of roads and yards and cleanup associated with it.
It was also mentioned that Waste Management will begin providing trash pickup services to residents on the first Tuesday in January. Trash cans will be supplied to residents by the end of December, Town Clerk Heather Holcombe said.
Holcombe said 17 residents are participating in the Deck your Doorway decorating contest the town is sponsoring. Judging will be held this Friday.
Following the meeting outgoing councilmembers Tony Riddle and Donna Ide had the following to say:
“I enjoyed nine years working for the town of Pelzer,” Riddle said. “I love this town.”
Ide said, “I feel bad in a way that I will not get to finish what I started.” She added, “But the diversity of the bunch that is coming in will be a big plus for the town. They will bring new ideas. I would have loved to continue on council, it just was not meant to be. I enjoyed my time on council.”