Details still being worked out on Pelzer sewer system sale

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Second reading on the sale of the Pelzer’s sewer system to Renewable Water Resources (ReWa) was expected Tuesday, however the vote was postponed until numbers on the purchase are finalized, according to Mayor Will Ragland.
First reading on the sale was held in a special called meeting last week.
At that meeting, Town Attorney Richard Thompson said the ordinance was in draft form and there were several items that needed to be confirmed before the second reading could be held.
The Town of Pelzer began discussing the purchase of the town’s sewer system by ReWa in 2017 and negotiations have been underway since then.
Ragland said he hopes the details of the sale can be worked out this month and that closing can be held in May.
The Town will also be considering the sale of the water lines to Greenville Water soon.

Responding to citizens questions, Ragland said selling both utilities will be good for the town and for residents. “Selling sewer and water is really good for you water bills,” he said. “It will present challenges.”
Ragland said he expects water bills to drop considerably, as much as thirty percent, when Greenville Water takes over the system.
“There will be a challenge to cover the revenue loss of the water and sewer rates,” he said.
The mayor offered several options the town will be considering how to cover the loss including business licenses, franchise fees and a possible loophole in ACT 388 which limits the amount of taxes that can be set.
Pelzer is currently in a position due to ACT 388, and with no taxes in place, that the town limited in what can be done regarding taxes.
There has been an effort made by local legislators to change the law in Columbia.

Ragland also said that once the utility systems are sold, equipment the town has will either be used or sold. He said cameras used to inspect the sewer lines will probably be sold.
“We will be looking at how to navigate through this.”
Ragland said the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds the town will receive can be used for regular expenses or police protection. “We have a safety net we can use so that gap can be covered.”

Clerk Cheryl Beaudreau reported there were 54 work orders completed by the Public Works Department in March with 28 miscellaneous, 14 water and 12 disconnects.
In law enforcement, there were 97 traffic stops, 163 contacts, 66 calls for service and 9 arrests.

Mayor Ragland said the town will begin work on the new budget soon.

In old business, Council unanimously approved first reading on an ordinance for the annexation of the (new) Pinelawn Cemetery. Ragland said the town had already voted to move forward with the annexation but an ordinance was required with two readings.
Council then went into an executive session lasting approximately 20 minutes for contractural matters.

Upon returning to open session, there was no vote taken or information provided.

During Council comments, Councilman Mike Matthews said the planning commission does not have enough people on it and the town will need people to step forward.
Mayor Ragland said the town will also need people to serve on a zoning commission and a Board of Architecture Review