Pelzer ready to talk police protection with West Pelzer

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By David Meade
Following a two hour meeting Tuesday capped by an executive session to discuss personnel, Pelzer Town Council unanimously approved Shane Black to serve as the Pelzer Town Clerk.
Council also approved a resolution to begin negotiations with West Pelzer for police protection, provided some funding for recreation and decided not to proceed with a forensic audit.

The meeting included considerable discussion between councilmembers and the public.
Several residents spoke during public comments, one stating there should be an apology made to councilman Scott after comments were made during a previous meeting.
Charles McJunkin addressed incorporation stating Pelzer didn’t vote to get incorporated to be a part of West Pelzer or Williamston and that if they couldn’t set up a tax base to be a town they need to dissolve the town.
Mayor Steve McGregor addressed the comments stating the council had listened to proposals and looked at all options to do what is in the best interest for Pelzer.
“There is not enough time in this calendar year to consolidate a town,” he said. “We’ve had conversations, trying to find out the best options for us all.”
McGregor said “Lots of things have to take place” and there would have to be public hearings if the towns were considering consolidating. “Everybody just be at ease as far as that goes,” he said.
Paula Payton reported that 17 work orders were recorded in the utility system for August. She said a request has been sent to Rural Development to allow use of some of the remaining funds on another line that was omitted from Phase 1 project on McCaughrin Street.
She said the contractor is addressing complaints before another pay estimate is processed.
Payton said that water meter replacement should be complete by the end of October.
She also announced that the new West Pelzer Municipal Center at 30 Main Street is now open and all business for Pelzer and West Pelzer is being conducted there.
She said the phone numbers have not changed but some of the prompts have.
Pelzer customers can continue to use the drop boxes at 3 Hindman St. and 103 Courtney Street for payments and they are checked daily. Payments can also be made by phone she said.
Councilmember Kim Wilson presented information on police protection and made a motion for the town to reconsider a proposal made by West Pelzer last year.
Wilson, along with councilmembers Roger Scott and Olene Bear met with Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns recently to discuss options.
Wilson said that after the meeting, there were two options available for ordinance enforcement by the county. According to Wilson that is grass and animal control.
For grass, the town could cut or hire someone and then notify Anderson County of the fee, which would be placed on a tax lien at the end of the year.
There was some discussion about property the county and Pelzer Heritage Commission owns.
Wilson then presented an option for police protection which would not cost citizens more money but would be paid for by savings in the budget.
She said that the council was able to save $150,000 in the 2017-18 budget, which amounts to approximately a $20 savings per household.
She said she would ask council to use $10 of that to contract with West Pelzer for police protection. She also said that in 2019, the town should be able to give it back to citizens “if we implement business license fees.” She also said the town would not have to charge for trash pickup.
Wilson introduced a resolution for shared police protection that Pelzer could adopt to go into negotiation with West Pelzer for the service.
There was some discussion about what ordinances would be included.
West Pelzer Police Chief Chris Brewer addressed some of the ordinances he said could be enforced by his department.
Among them traffic, park closing, and firing weapons in the town.
There was more discussion about the number of officers and hours of police coverage.
Brewer said Anderson County was offereing 8.4 percent coverage at $35 an hour for only two hours per day. Response time for a county deputy is 26.42 minutes he said.
He said under the proposal made last year, his department is offering 62 percent coverage with a response time of three minutes.
“I am offering you a police department,” he said.
Chief Brewer said his department currently has five parttime and three fulltime officers. One additional officer will be added if Pelzer and West Pelzer come to an agreement.
Council approved the resolution to go into negotiation with West Pelzer on police protection.
Mayor McGregor said the issue will be discussed further during the September workshop. He said the October workshop will be another meet the candidates forum.
Wilson also presented information and a resolution for the Town of Pelzer to be supportive of more activities.
Discussion included having a kickball game at the Pelzer ballfields, for people in costumes, after the Pumpkinpalooza event planned by West Pelzer Oct. 28.
There was also considerable discussion about recreation and other activities for seniors and children in the town.
Terry Davis and Bill Davis have been looking at options to build community activities, including improvements at the ballfield and Pelzer gym.
Bill Davis said they are working on a schedule of ballfield activities and providing a calendar for the gym and ballpark.
He said they have been in contact with the Wren Youth Association and the Powdersville Youth Association about basketball.
“It is all about growing Pelzer,” Bill said. “Lots of kids came here and played sports. That’s what makes Pelzer special.”
Following that discussion, Wilson introduced a proposal to provide funding of $5000 to pay someone to open the gym for activities three days each week.
Wilson also presented Bill and Terry with plaques recognizing them for their dedication to Pelzer recreation.
During the discussion, it was pointed out that the gym needs some maintenance and paint, inside and out.
Councilman Roger Scott said he has been working with Terry and Bill on recreation needs and that he has bids for painting the outside of the gym.
“I want to get the gym open for anybody that wants to use it,” he said. “Make it a safe place to go.”
Scott said, “We have been talking for a good while to get something started. They (the Davises) have not asked for one penny from the town. They volunteer and I appreciated it.”
After more discussion, Council approved the request for $5000 for paying someone to open the gym.
Next on the agenda was the forensic audit.
Mayor McGregor said that the annual audit would be happening soon and council needed to decide about a forensic audit.
Councilman Scott had made the initial request in August and other councilmembers agreed the town needed to proceed with a forensic audit.
But after discussion about the possible cost of a forensic audit being between $20,000 and $30,000 for a two year audit, Scott said he was withdrawing his motion for the town to proceed with it.
Following council comments, Town Council went into executive session to discuss personnel.
Upon returning to regular session, council named interim town clerk Shane Black as the fulltime town clerk.
Black also serves as the municipal court clerk for West Pelzer.