By David Meade
During their regular meeting Tuesday, Pelzer Town Council explained a new council meeting format, heard an update on the sewer project, streetlights and posting of the lagoon property. Mayor Steve McGregor explained that under the new meeting format, citizens must sign up to speak to council and will be allowed three minutes to speak on issues affecting the town. Resident input will be held at the beginning of the meeting, he said.
Seven residents spoke on issues ranging from water pressure on Smith St., problems with the sewer project, concerns with the pallet yard, trains blocking roads and barriers being placed on the old Pelzer mill property.
Walter Davis thanked council for the job they are doing but said he had concerns of access to the lower side of the tracks in case of an emergency. He complained about two concrete barriers recently placed on a drive on the Pelzer mill property owned by the Pelzer Heritage Commission. He said he has concerns about fire and emergency situations if a train is blocking the tracks.
One resident said he had an emergency involving injured fingers in which he just got across the tracks before a train blocked them. He also wanted to know about purchasing a town owned lot so that it could be fenced to prevent problems.
Jimmy Harrison said he and others worked hard to get signatures for the annexation and were promised a bigger voice. He proposed citizens also be allowed to speak on issues at the end of the meeting.
Brad West reported that he and town clerk Heather Holcombe are sending complaints from residents about the sewer upgrade project to J&M contractors and that he has had several meetings with them. He said they are still waiting for three rights-of-way with the railroad. He asked residents to be patient.
Councilmember Kim Wilson reported that the town had two options for replacement of 24 streetlights the town is having turned back on.
Under a new contract required by Duke Energy, the old lights are no longer serviced and will have to be upgraded.
The town has a choice of new energy saving LED lights which look brighter but cover less area or a High Pressure Sodium light which emits an orange-yellow light and is cheaper for the town.
John Roache recommended the town go with the high pressure sodium which he said is cheaper and covers a bigger area per light.
Cost for the town will go up $3.55 per light per month more than they were paying for the old streetlights. Cost per light will be $9.71.
Wilson said Duke Energy will order the new lights which will take about six to eight weeks to come in, an additional five days to get the project underway and another two to three weeks for installation.
“Once we decide, it will take approximately three months till they get up,” she said.
Council unanimously approved Roache’s recommendation to go with the high pressure sodium lights. Eventually the town and Duke Energy will have to replace all of the 145 street lights in Pelzer.
Councilman Roger Scott raised the issue of liability at the old lagoon property. The town has had the property up for sale for over two years and recently decided to review options for it.
There was discussion about a gate at the entrance to the property and locks being cut by individuals and others who need access to it.
Scott said people are placing limbs and other debris on the property and he had concerns about having a big mess to clean up if the property is sold and other liabilities.
In the past, residents were allowed to dump leaves, limbs and other biodegradable material on the property. The town has been advised by surveyors to discontinue all dumping at the site due to unauthorized materal being left. There has also been hunting and ATV’s on the property creating a liability for the town.
In response, the town will post the property placing No Trespassing signs on it.
Beth Rostron of the Pelzer Historic Commission was on the agenda but did not attend the meeting.