Pelzer to purchase Church of God property on Hwy. 20

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During their meeting Tuesday, Pelzer Town Council voted to purchase a dump trailer, purchase Church of God property for a park and heard updates on several items including street lighting, pool property, renovation of the community building and lagoon property timber sale.

During citizens comments, Earl McClellion asked about Pelzer maintenance people being in Williamston helping with Christmas decorations and the candlelight service.
Donna Ide (council elect) expressed concerns about several things including the proposed purchase of property from the Church of God. “We don’t need to put out money for something we don’t need,” Ide said.
Kenny Andrews had questions about the purchase of a dump trailer and Jim Bundy had concerns about speeding on Adger Street and Guy Street.

Town Clerk Cheryl Beaudreau reported 54 work orders were completed by the maintenance department. She announced that residents can still sign up for the Christmas Decorating Contest at the town office until 4 p.m. this Friday.
Beaudreau reported that ReWa will increase water/sewer rates in February. Residential base rate of $12 will increase to $12.38 and additional rate of $5.86 /1000 gallons will increase to $6.27/1000 gallons.
Commercial base rate of $5.57/1000 gallons will increase to $5.96 and the additional usage for commercial will be $12.38/1000 gallons.

Pelzer Mayor Will Ragland updated council on several items the town is working on.

Street Lighting – Ragland said he has been in contact with SCDOT and Duke Energy regarding additional street lighting on Lebby Street, Courtney Street and others. He said that projects on state roads take a long time and that Duke Energy recommended the town add lighting to a small group of streets at a time. Recommended first are Lyman, Law, Murray, Beattie and McCaughrin. He said that most new lighting is 50 watt LED. The mayor said that additional questions will be answered by the end of the month and they plan to eventually add street lighting to all areas of Pelzer.

Pool Property – Town Attorney Richard Thompson reported that condemnation notices have been sent to property owners of the former Pelzer pool property. He said the property is tied up in the estate with two owners that have not been found. “Everybody else has been contacted,” he said. Thompson also said that the property has IRS and SC Tax liens on it from when the prior owners had it. He said by the time the courts are paid it will likely be more than the property is worth. The IRS and Department of Revenue have the only interest in it. “They will get all the money,” he said.
Providing background information, Mayor Ragland said the property was purchased from the town for $11,000 and a truck, and that the pool had been filled in. “The former owners have passed,” he said. “The new owners wanted to put in a tire center,” Ragland said. However nearby “residents did not want that to happen.” Ragland said the town is looking to purchase the property back and use it for something for the community. It is appraised at $50,000.

Hughes Development payments – Mayor Ragland said he has been in touch with Hughes Development regarding annual payments the commercial real estate company is supposed to be making to the Town. Hughes Development purchased 5.6 acres of the “Monkey Park” to build the new BiLo store, and as part of the agreement, Hughes Development promised to pay $2,500 a year to the town for as long as there were no taxes in Pelzer. “They haven’t paid in the last five years,” Ragland said. “They owe us $12,500.”
“I do expect that to come back to us.” The mayor said he would like to see the Hughes Development money go toward renovation of the Community Building.

Renovation of Community Building – Mayor Ragland said that the community building is currently unusable and the town needs to find money to pay for an architect.
He said there is $12,500 in a renovation account and they are looking at applying for a $50,000 grant from the SC Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) in January. Ragland said there is also cell tower money available and a $15,000 PARD grant for HVAC that has been transferred to the renovation project. “We are trying to amass funding sources to restore the building.”
Ragland said they plan to replace beadboard, windows and add ADA compliant restrooms to make the community building “a revenue making venue for the town”.
Lagoon property timber sale – The pines on the lagoon property have been thinned out in sections and the town is being paid $13,875.47 for the trees being removed. “That can also go toward the community building,” Ragland said.

Council unanimously approved the purchase of a dump trailer from Bennett in Piedmont for $10,900 plus tax.
The 7ft. x 14ft. trailer will be used to transport the town’s new excavator and it can be used to move dirt.

In a 4-1 vote, Council agreed to purchase 26.71 acres of property on Hwy. 20 that is owned by the Pelzer Church of God. The property appraised for $237,400 and the Church was asking $179,000 for it. There was considerable discussion about the usability and need for the property. Mayor Ragland said it was needed so that a park land swap could take place to allow the “lagoon property” to be sold for future development. Councilman Eddie Waits, who voted against the purchase, expressed concerns about comparable property value used in the appraisal.

Council also approved meeting dates for 2022 to remain at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month.

In comments at the end of the meeting, Ragland said Request for Proposals (RFP) for work on the Community Building will be advertised soon. He thanked the “Light People” for what they do and mentioned their “snow machine”. “People see and appreciate them,” he said.

At the request of the mayor, town employee Clay Fields responded to a question raised during citizen’s comments regarding Pelzer town workers in Williamston. Fields said that the towns have worked together and that Williamston workers have helped with water leaks in Pelzer. The mayor said that Pelzer has a smaller lift and that they trade services with Williamston’s larger lift when needed, so “we don’t have to rent equipment.
“It balances out. They have come to our rescue when we had some leaks,” he said.

Councilman Waits said that AIM/Share has funds available to help pay utility bills and urged residents that may need help to contact them. He also said local food banks could use food donations.