By Stan Welch
The West Pelzer Town Council gave first reading approval to the draft of their comprehensive plan Monday night, as well as awarding the four hundred dollar a month lawn care contract to Southern Boys Lawn Service, LLC.
While Councilman Jimmy Jeanes was concerned that the town’s public works employees might not have enough to keep them busy without their lawn care duties, Mayor Blake Sanders assured him there was plenty to keep them busy. He also pointed out that the town’s overall appearance is an attraction to those considering moving to the town.
“Since 2016, the average price of a home in West Pelzer has increased by thirty per cent. The average time that a house is on the market before an offer is made is forty hours. We have made tremendous strides as a town in the last year or so. This is just another step in that direction.”
Sanders, in discussing the general plan, reported that two key demographic groups, those from zero to eighteen years old, and those from twenty six to forty five years old had increased by six per cent. “That shows that the population is getting younger, with people who are buying homes, and who have some disposable income to spend.”
Jeanes acknowledged that the town will likely merge with Pelzer in the future but opined that it would not be possible right now. “I thought that the sharing of the water and sewer operations and other public works like grass cutting would save us some money, but if we’re going to pay somebody to do it, I don’t know.” Nevertheless, both the contract and the general plan were approved by a vote of three to nothing. Councilmen Jim Riddle and Donnie Jeanes were absent.
Town Clerk Paula Payton reported that she had completed the Leadership Anderson Class, sponsored by the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce.
She reported on the various town departments. The Police Department is still accepting applications for one certified police officer, and she explained that three police cruisers were donated to the department by the Sheriff’s Office. One will be put into service as a cruiser, while one will be used by town personnel for official purposes. The third one will be sold .
Her report that the paving to restore roads disturbed by phase two of the sewer update sparked a lengthy discussion of the condition of the street Jeanes lives on, Spring Street. The road was cut during the first phase of the upgrade, and has never been restored to its original condition, as agreed to. There is a noticeable dip in the road, which is slated to be repaired before the last of the paving is done.
Jeanes complained at length about the fact that paving funds in phase one were misspent on some equipment, and that had resulted in the condition of the road now. Sanders acknowledged that, but explained that there was no money for a complete recovering of the sixteen hundred foot stretch of the road. To completely repave the stretch would cost between $54-$58,000.
Mayor Sanders offered three options. The first option was to repave the entire street, without repairing the dip. The other option was to do nothing, since it happened in phase one. “We really have no recourse since those funds have been gone for years.”
The third option, which the mayor clearly preferred, was to repair the dip, leveling the road but not repaving it. He told Jeanes that repaving was already in the town’s next request for funds from the Anderson County Transportation Committee. “If you can just be patient a bit longer, I believe we can fix this problem.
Jeanes argued that the money for other streets slated for paving should be diverted to paving “his street. Let somebody else put up with bad roads. We’ve been putting up with for a long time now. We’re tired of it.” He enlisted the support of Andy Gambrell, a member of the planning commission and a resident of Spring Street.
“I’m not happy about the condition of the street either, but I’m not in favor of robbing Peter to pay Paul. I can’t see taking money from my neighbors to fix my street. I think the C fund money will come along and I can wait until then.”