By Stan Welch
The Town of West Pelzer has now officially formed the Go West Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization that will serve as the town’s qualifying agent for grants and possible low interest loans for future projects. The corporation is designated as a public benefit corporation, and its board members will coincide with the members of the town council.
The Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget for next year at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 23, followed by a budget workshop at 6:30. Following that workshop, the first meeting of the Go West board will be held, for the purpose of adopting bylaws, as well as considering which grants to pursue.
During his report to Council, Mayor Blake Sanders also informed Council that he and Police Chief Mike Clardy had recently held what he described as a very productive meeting with the Pelzer Town Council, concerning a possible arrangement about police services. “They will be presenting us with a proposal in the near future,” said Sanders.
He also announced that the necessary sewer easements along Stewart Street had been obtained, and that portion of the sewer project is scheduled to begin construction soon. In addition, he announced the right of way needed to place additional warning signs at Gray Mortuary had also been obtained.
Town Clerk Paula Payton reported that the town has entered into an arrangement with Palmetto Youth Connections, which provides young people, ages 17 to 24, from Pickens, Anderson, and Oconee counties with real life work experiences, to aid them in entering the job market. The intern positions are paid by PYC, and the first intern, Lexie Marter, will be working in town hall.
Payton said that she hopes the town will be able to contract with interns for a variety of services in the future. “They aren’t all office workers, so I hope we can utilize them for a number of things.” The interns can work a total of five hundred hours, with a maximum of thirty two hours per week.
Sanders then presented a request from Chief Huff of the West Pelzer Fire Department for a reduced fee for the station’s water use. The current bill is approximately a hundred dollars a month. Sanders suggested that the town simply absorb that cost. Councilman Jimmy Jeanes agreed but both acknowledged that the department became a paying customer as a condition of the Rural Development authority when the water system in the town began upgrading.
“It was a condition that every water tap be metered and charged. But I feel like if they are willing to run into my burning house and save my family, the least we can do is pay for the water,” said Sanders. It was agreed that he would speak with RDA officials to insure compliance with their requirements and then report back to the Council.
Councilman Johnny Rogers spoke briefly on the matter of purchasing a time clock and tightening up the time keeping procedures. Councilman Donnie Jeanes inquired if there was a widespread problem with possible abuses or just something that perhaps the mayor could address with certain people.
Sanders then pointed out that the agenda called for an executive session on personnel matters, and moved to table the issue until the next meeting, so that it could be discussed in private.
The Council unanimously agreed, and voted to move to the executive session for both personnel and contractual matters.