Sewer upgrade, REWA top discussion for Pelzer Town Council

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By David Meade
Pelzer Town Council discussed water and sewer and explained higher bills in January during their meeting Tuesday. They also heard comments from citizens and answered questions about a variety of issues.
During the comments portion of the meeting, Bill Davis told council that the youth basketball program had finished their season Saturday. He said they were playing in the Tri-County league and were extremely competitive. Davis said they were getting ready for softball, baseball and T-ball signups soon. He said he had applied for a grant to help fund the program.
Larry Smith presented information about recycling and said we should all be concerned about the environment. He showed pictures of the County recycling area near the schools in the Wren area and said there needs to be a recycling center on this side of the county.
He encouraged residents to contact Greg Smith with Anderson Solid Waste and Recycling at 260-1001 about having a recycling center in the area.
Town Clerk Cheryl Boudreau reported that 82 water meters have been replaced with the new radio read water meters. Eighteen were done in January. She said the town has six more in stock and will need to order more. The goal is to replace all of the towns 562 water meters, she said. The project is being done in stages. The water meters cost $200 each.
Boudreau also reported that a list of un-kempt houses had been given to a contractor.
Pelzer Mayor Roger Scott said he had met with the sewer project contractor and recently made a payment but held back some until problem areas are addressed. He said under the contract, J&M has a one year guarantee on fixing problems and that work areas were supposed to be “as they found it or better.”
Scott also explained recent water bills being higher.
According to the mayor, water meters were not read by the 15th of the month due to bad weather and that some meters were seven to ten days longer being read. The result is a higher water/sewer bill. He said the next reading should be lower and balance out.
He also reported that REWA rates for the town had increased in January but residents were not charged more.
The base charge of $11 for the first 1000 gallons increased to $12. Additional 1000 gallons usage increased by 25 cents.
Council then heard comments and questions from citizens.
Linda Ford reminded council that they will have to decide on selling the sewer system to REWA and cautioned them that they can charge what they want to.
Mayor Scott said selling the sewer system to REWA has pros and cons. A positive would be the town would not have to have someone to service or repair problems and the town’s old lagoon property would have a free title. On the other side, if the system is sold, the town will have no control and rates could go up.
Scott said the sewer situation is a rough one and “it affects us all.”
Scott said currently the town gets $1 on each customer bill from the REWA for collecting the bill.
He also said Pelzer will need to look at replacing water lines in the future.
Scott said the town’s annual audit is being done.
He said the town is currently paying three different payments amounting to $13,000 each month for the Phase 1 and 2 sewer upgrades and a cost overrun.
There was other discussion about water leaks and it was noted that a new 2 or 2.5 inch water meter for the Pelzer Auditorium will cost the town $2000.
It was also mentioned that the town has four or six inch water mains lines, but most of the houses are on one inch line, sometimes with four or five houses on one line. Scott described the town’s water system as a “spider web.”
Also discussed was some drainage problems, selling property along the river and county ordinances that could be enforced in Pelzer.
A town workshop will be held Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at the community building.