By David Meade
With the exception of Mayor Steve McGregor, an all new Pelzer Town Council held their first official meeting of 2016 Monday at the Pelzer Community Building. Newly elected council members, Olene Bear, Roger Scott Sr., Will Ragland, and Kimberly Wilson were sworn in.
Mayor McGregor nominated Roger Scott as mayor Protempore. In their first official action as elected officials, Councilmember Kim Wilson made a motion seconded by Olene Bear and Scott was unamiously elected Mayor Protempore.
The new council immediately began addressing the business of the town. First order of business was setting a new meeting day, followed by approving a revised election ordinance, then discussing two ongoing issues, the town’s sewer upgrade project and trash pickup.
Due to a conflict with schedules, the council decided to begin holding their monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month. Councilman Will Ragland seconded a motion byCouncilmember Bear and the change was unanimously approved. The next meeting of Pelzer Town Council will be held on Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. Council meetings will continue to be held at the Community Building.
Council also held first reading on a revised election ordinance 005. The change clarifies that the candidate(s) with the most votes wins an election and there will not be a runoff. Councilmember Roger Scott made the motion which was seconded by Wilson. The vote was unanimous.
Councilmembers heard an update on the Phase 2 sewer project. Maintenance Supervisor Brad West reported that the project is 65 to 70 percent complete as far as laying pipe and manholes. “There is still a lot of cleanup,” he said.
Councilmember Wilson asked if councilmembers could be given notice of where the workers would be each week.
West said that often the town doesn’t know and the workers themselves don’t know where they will be working until the day they show up.
Wet weather has delayed a compaction test required before asphalt can be laid.
West said the project is expected to be finished about July or August.
Town Clerk Heather Holcombe said she was told by representatives of the construction company that they “are not going anywhere unitl it’s done.”
Holcombe said she posts updates and information on the town website and Facebook page and that those sites and town meetings are the best source for information.
Councilman Ragland asked about the timeline for turning on the street lights.
Holcombe said that the work order had been submitted in December and that Duke Energy is working on a list of the lights that will be turned back on.
There was also some discussion about trash pickup. Waste Industries took over the trash contract in December.
Holcombe said that household garbage in the new Waste Industries containers is being picked up by machine. If residents have an additional trash can, waste should be in a bag so that it can be lifted by hand. Responding to a question about the break down of fees on the town’s billing, Holcombe said that the garbage fee is included in the water billing and amounts to $4.40 per customer. she said the amount is $2.50 short of the actual cost for the service.
Waste Industries was recently awarded the trash contract at a yearly cost of $43,000.
Holcombe said the company is still working out pickups and if anyone is missed to let her know by Wednesday so she can relay it to Waste Industries.
Holcombe said that she and town councilmembers are available if there are questions or concerns by residents. Town Councilmembers will each have a town email which is the first letter and last name of the councilmember @townofpelzer.us.
Holcombe said she is available in the town office 8-12 and 1-4 weekdays.
Each of the councilmembers expressed their thanks to everyone for being able to serve on the Pelzer Town Council.
Roger Scott said, “Thank you all for your confidence. We take this job very seriously. Call us if you have a problem. We work for you all and will do our best for the town.”
“I don’t have an agenda,” he said. “I want us to work together. If we know about it we can address it. I appreciate your confidence. We can make this work. We will do our very best to make Pelzer a great place to live.”
Olene Bear also thanked “all who made this possible. Our hearts are here. I waited 57 years to vote. You have put trust in us to take this job. Pray for us. We want to make a little town a great town.”
Kim Wilson said, “I look forward to working together. We need your help and will work together to make Pelzer a great town.”
Will Ragland said, “I am very excited about 2016. There is positive energy we are going to bring to this town. What you say can curse or bless this town,” he said.
“We want to work together and work hard to make it happen. There are some great things on the horizon.”
Mayor Steve McGregor asked residents to have patience as he and the council begin the process of building a new town.
“I ask for your patience. We are going to have some growing pains,” he said. “We are all on equal ground, and now we all have a franchise fee.”
McGregor said, “Whatever comes up will be for everybody. We have treated people in the village like they were in the town. We always have.”
McGregor said they are in the process of “renovation of a town” and rebuilding the infrastructure that the mills had provided.
“It is now all on us,” he said. “I ask for your patience and prayers.”
During citizens comments, Larry Coker spoke on behalf of the Pelzer Heritage Commission. Coker updated council on the Pelzer Mill property cleanup and grants and said he hopes they can join forces and work together.