By Stan Welch
While observing the prohibition against taking formal votes in a workshop setting, the Pelzer Town Council nevertheless made it clear that significant changes will be made to the working arrangement the town currently has with West Pelzer.
Mayor Roger Scott began the workshop by pledging to become more proactive as mayor. “I have been spending a good deal of time on the phone with Jeff Shacker, from the Municipal Association and I have found out that I could be doing much more on my own than I have been. So I will be getting more involved.”
The strong mayor form of government, which is utilized by all three of the area’s towns, gives the mayor a more active role in the day to day operations of the town.
Scott then reported that he and Town Clerk Cheryl Boudreau had been reviewing the costs involved in the operations agreement with West Pelzer. “Cheryl and I have been running some numbers. In the fifteen weeks that we reviewed, we spent $17,830 just on salaries and benefits.”
The town pays fifty five per cent of the total operational costs that West Pelzer incurs, including salaries, cell phone costs, fuel, and other daily expenses. The annual costs, according to Boudreau, would come to sixty one thousand dollars just for the employees.
Several Council members, as well as citizens, complained that Pelzer isn’t getting their money’s worth. “I have spoken to their employees several times about different issues and they always act like they don’t have time to do what they should, said Councilman Gary Pridmore.
Councilwoman Olene Bear reminded the group that she opposed the arrangement from the start. “I wasn’t in favor of this, but we gave it our best shot, and it just isn’t working out.”
Scott acknowledged that fact, while suggesting that the town consider hiring one full time general maintenance worker, and a part time person to help with reading the town’s water meters. He conceded that the savings would be minimal over the current arrangement, but added, “We would have full control of those employees, and I think that is a big benefit.”
He stressed again that he wasn’t seeking a vote at that time, but would raise the issue at the next regular council meeting. “I will be asking for a vote at that meeting,” he said. He also added that there is a thirty day notice requirement if either party chooses to alter or terminate the agreement.
Scott and Boudreau also reported that they had been informed by county staff that they could use some existing funds as a match to seek up to $165,000 in seed monies to repair some of the worst potholes and other problems in the town’s streets.
Scott also informed the dozen or so citizens present that the town has received a menu, so to speak, of various ordinances to consider for adoption by the town council. “If we adopt any given ordinance, we have to adopt it as written. We cannot amend or change it. But we are working through those choices and hope to have a report soon.”
By Stan Welch