By David Meade
The Tuesday night meeting of Pelzer Town Council was the last meeting of the year, and the shortest. After more than a year of lengthy meetings with lots of questions, comments and discussions among councilmembers and citizens, the meeting Tuesday was void of all, with no old or new business discussed. It lasted only about thirty minutes.
The meeting was the last with longtime Mayor Steve McGregor presiding.
McGregor has served on Pelzer Town Council as either a councilman or as mayor for the last 21 years. (Pictured – File Photo of Mayor McGregor during a Council meeting at the Pelzer Town Hall located on Courtney Street)
After hearing a short report from Town Clerk Shane Black, McGregor said the following:
“It’s been an honor to be on council for the last 21 years. A few things have changed. I will miss not being involved. It is not fair (for the town) with the obligations I had, to continue on.”
“The town is bigger than four streets now,” he said. “The mill is no longer here. We are the mill,”
“I appreciate everybody’s support through the years and hope you will support the new council. It is not easy. Thank You. A lot has happened over the last two years. There are still some challenges ahead.”
“Pelzer is never going to be like it used to be,” he said. “We have to jump aboard. The future is here. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year.”
McGregor has made similar comments many times over the last few years, referring to the fact that the mill that built and ran the Town of Pelzer has been gone for a long time, and that the residents, through electing town leadership, are now in charge.
McGregor led the town through the annexation process which expanded the town’s limits to include both the upper and lower mill villages.
The meeting was also the last for councilmembers Kimberly Wilson and Will Ragland. Both were elected in November 2015 election, the first election held after the annexation process was completed. They have served on council for the last two years, along with Olene Bear and Roger Scott, who were also elected in 2015.
During that time the new council, under McGregor, were instrumental in examining town finances, making hard decisions such as ending the longstanding traditions of providing youth recreation and senior citizen programs, combining public works with West Pelzer, losing all of the town’s employees including public works head Brad West, town clerk Heather Holcombe and former administrator and consultant Skip Watkins.
The town office was closed and moved to the new West Pelzer Municipal Complex and West Pelzer Clerk of Court was eventually named Pelzer Town Clerk.
Councilmember Olene Bear will be the only member of council returning, other than Roger Scott who will serve as mayor when he and three new members of council are sworn in on January 2.
New members of Pelzer Town Council will be Mike Matthews, Gary “Garbo” Pridmore and Eddie Waits.
During his report, Clerk Shane Black said that the West Pelzer Municipal Center will be closed Dec. 25 through Jan. 3 and the public works department completed 26 work orders in November.
Mayor McGregor said auditors are in the process of beginning the town’s annual audit.
A swearing in ceremony for the new mayor and council is tentatively set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 at the Pelzer Community Building.