By David Meade
During a budget workshop held Tuesday, Pelzer Town Council began discussions on services the town wants or needs and how to pay for them. Top on the list and the subject of recent discussions with West Pelzer, is providing police protection and how to pay for it.
Town officials discussed the cost of having a police department, and other services, and establishing a millage rate for a tax base. There was some discussion about comparing nearby towns with police departments and how to budget for services.
Pelzer Town Attorny Jimmy King told the council that the earliest that tax notices could be sent out would be late 2018 and that the town would not collect any revenue until late 2018 and early 2019. He also advised the council that he had concerns about committing to an expenditure for services until the town has a tax base to cover the cost.
He said the proposal by West Pelzer would be a three year contract that gives West Pelzer the option to get out but Pelzer can not get out of until the term expires. According to King the proposal is for Pelzer to put up income from franchise fees as security.
King said the town could apply for a tax anticipation note if they had a tax base.
Presently the Town of Pelzer has no taxes and bills residents for only water, sewer and trash pickup services.
“Until there is a tax base, I feel very uncomfortable entering any kind of contract pledging franchise fees for three years,” King said. “I would be very cautious about netering tinto any kind of contract that would bind the town while there is no tax base.”
King also advised that town officials should determine what services they want to provide and equipment needed, and the related cost so that an adequate tax base is set.
Once set, the town will be limited in how much it can increase it, he said.
He also suggested the town discuss with West Pelzer what capital items are needed or can be shared jointly.
There was some discussion on road paving and obtaining funding from the Anderson County Transportation Committee.
Former town clerk/administrator Skip Watkins was asked to help obtain some of the information needed to begin the process of budgeting for services.
In addition to police services, there was some discussion about the need for a municipal building, maintenance on the gym and community building, another employee and equipment.
The next meeting of council will be held on September 13. The next citizens workshop is set for Sept. 27.