West Pelzer budget shows increase in reserves

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During their meeting Tuesday, West Pelzer Town Council approved second reading on the 2021-22 budget. No one spoke during a public hearing on the budget. The budget shows a slight increase in revenues and expenses over last year to $1,133,860.81. It has no increase in taxes or fees.

West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders said the budget is a “carry over” budget from last year with only a slight increase. He said the council works together on budget issues and that they have done a lot over the last four years.

Highlights include: An increase in the fund balance due to conservative spending and restructure of a General Obligation Bond.

General Fund Revenues are projected at $479,664. The town will have approximately $110,000 in the fund balance which is anticipated to increase slightly. With the restructuring of the GO Bond, General Fund Expenses related to vehicle payments for the WPPD have been removed, resulting in funding being available for capital improvements (see below). Capital Expenditure (unallocated) amount to $31,380.

Public Works Revenue is budgeted at $654,196. The Public Works fund balance is approximately $20,000.

In the Public Works (Water/Sewer) Department, the budget reflects preparation of a sewer system transfer to Re-Wa; Maintenance of Department staffing and Emergency Management Preparation and Execution for COVID-19 and other areas.

The budget includes some capital fund requests including:
Public Works – $3,000 for a golf cart or ATV which can be used for meter reading; $10,000 for a lawnmower and $50,000 for radio read water meters.

Police Department – $9,000 for tazers, additional firearm holsters and training.

Other Capital requests include $4,000 for safety and security at the Municipal Center and O’Dell Community Center, $1,000 for public parking signage, $5,000 for Christmas Lights and $1,500 for Wifi in Chapman Park.

Hospitality Tax revenue is expected to be approximately $36,000 with a fund balance of approximately $10,000. The budget reflects several town events not completed last year. Events are returning beginning in July.
Hospitality Tax expenses include: Bond Payment of $22,371.71 coming off; Festival Expenses $3,000; Christmas parade $1,500; Hospitality Tax Utility $5,000; Hospitality Tax Liability $1,000; Beautification/Maintenance $23,700 (unallocated); Public Parking $1,800.

West Pelzer will receive approximately $350,000 from the American Recovery Program which can be used for revenue reimbursement, infrastructure, technology and COVID related expenses. The funding will allow the town recover some expenses and will provide one time bonuses for employees who worked during the COVID crisis. It will also be used for picnic tables and other items that can be used outside.
The town expects to transfer sewer system assets to REWA. Funding from the CARES ACT and REWA sale are considered “unallocated” in the budget.

In her report, Town Clerk Paula Payton said bids are currently being accepted on the 2021 General Obligation Bond and closing is expected be be prior to June 30.
The Public Works department completed eleven work orders during May.

Police Chief Alexis Eliopoulos reported the department had twenty reports with nine arrests.
Arrests included two traffic related, one unlawful communication, one harassment, one disorderly conduct, one trespass notice, one drug charge and one juvenile pickup orders.
There were 17 grass/weed violation letters sent out.
A total of 69 tickets were written with 26 warnings.
Arrests are down 50 percent from May of 2020, the Chief said.

Chief Eliopoulos reported that the Palmetto Elementary Palomino Trot 5k and 1 mile fun run will be held June 5 starting at 8 a.m.

The event will affect traffic on Hwy. 8 east bond, Palmetto Rd. north bound, Depot Rd. south bound. Other roads that will be affected include: Tasha Drive, Welborn St., Dendy St., Spring St., and Smith St., “Roads will reopen as quickly as possible,” she said. “The race should not last more than an hour.”

Chief Eliopoulos reported the department has receive four tire deflation device and eight flashlights from the US Deputy Sheriff’s Association. She said the tire deflation device could be used in the event of a vehicle coming through West Pelzer at a high rate of speed, which happened recently.
Lt. Stoller and Sgt. Marro recently completed SFST training.

Reminder that to reach an officer, call 864-947-6297 Option 5 or call Anderson County Dispatch at 864-260-4444. For emergencies call 911.

During council comments, Councilman Jim Riddle said organizers of a new community bookclub are meeting and will announce details soon.
Mayor Sanders announced that the Palamino Trot will be held June 5. The county has let bids for paving of Spring Street, marguerite Street and Stewart Street.
July events will include a ribbon cutting ceremony for three new businesses on July 10th. New businesses opening in West Pelzer include Moon Dog Art, Tim Lee Guitar Studio and Mister Sandless Flooring.
An Ice Cream Social will be held in Chapman Park July 18th and Dog Days of Summer will be held July 24th.