By David Meade
During their meeting Tuesday, Pelzer Town Council addressed the sewer upgrade, streetlights, staggered council terms, a property sale, and heard their annual audit report. During public comments, residents asked about streetlights, concerns with shooting, water bill reduction, sewer project cleanup and a suggestion to add two more council seats.
Council approved second reading on the election ordinance allowing Anderson County Elections to take over future Pelzer elections. Brad West updated council on the sewer upgrade. West said compaction tests have been completed and paving begun. He named several streets crews were working on. He also stated that work has been delayed due to a slow response from the railroad on a right-of-way.
Council discussed changing council terms of office so that two of the four are staggered. Mayor Steve McGregor said that recommendation from the SC Municipal Association was to have the mayor and top two vote getters change their term to four year terms and leave the other two at the current term of two years. Then have an election in two years and change the ordinance so that those two seats become four year terms at that time, which will stagger the council terms.
The council agreed to have an ordinance drawn up with the suggested wording.
Neal McCoy and John Wright of McCoy Wright Commercial Real Estate presented information on the sewer lagoon property the town has listed for sale with them.
The property includes 121 acres and is currently listed for $3,000 an acre. Wright said they have had five or six calls about the property in the last six months, and one offer at half the listed price, but only one party that is seriously considering it.
Wright said that interested party has walked the property and asked for more testing. He said they are actively marketing the property, but that it is “grossly overpriced” for the current market. The property was appraised several year ago at $365,000.
Wright suggested the town look at the property, which has river frontage, and get community involvement for a concept of what it could be used for.
After the presentation, a request by Wright McCoy to extend the listing for another year or two was turned down with a 5-0 vote
Councilmember Kim Wilson made the motion to not renew the listing, but instead have council look at what has been done and to bring the community into a decision of what to do with the property.
Following the vote Wright said, “We would like to be involved and can bring alot more to the table than you realize.”
Auditors David McAlister and Josh Garvin of Manley Garvin auditing firm, presented results of the 2015 audit.
Garvin said the town received an “unqualified opinion”, meaning that the records were fairly stated.
Garvin said the town had $147,000 in cash and liabilities of $151,000. A Greenville Water 10 year contract is also included as debt at $381,000.
GASBY 68 reporting requirements for state retirement system shows a liability of $273,000.
Garvin said the town should keep an eye on the finances and that most towns have a larger general fund but in Pelzer the enterprise fund for water/sewer and trash make up most of the town’s financial operations.
Council unanimously approved a motion by Councilman Roger Scott to allow three minutes each for citizens input.
Wilson presented some information about the streetlights. The town is in the process of getting Duke Energy to turn on lights that had been cut off several years ago. According to Wilson, during discussions with Duke, it was determined that 25 of the lights being turned back on are old Mercury Alloy and are no longer supported and will have to be replaced.
The town has 145 lights which will have to be evaluated and a new contract will have to be drawn up with Duke, she said. The type of light and the costs will have to be evaluated. “It is a slow process,” Wilson said.
Coucilman Will Ragland said councilmembers received good training with the State Municipal Association in Columbia last week and learned alot. “It was a great start and we are excited about getting to work,” Ragland said.