By Stan Welch – The West Pelzer Town Council hauled out the checkbook Monday night, paying an emergency water repair bill, to the tune of nearly $20,000 as well as purchasing a new computer for the Clerk’s office and repairing the ceiling in the Town Hall. The repair, involving 14 feet of water line, restored service to six houses in an area on Ponderosa Road. The houses had lost virtually all water pressure, according to Mayor Paxton. “It would take them hours to fill a bathtub. These folks were suffering, and the repairs simply had to be made.”
She also pointed out that the line was originally included in the recent project to repair and replace broken lines, but was removed from the project because those in the area did not qualify as low to moderate income families. “This is an area we had hoped to fix with the grants and loans, but it didn’t qualify.”
The Council also approved the expenditure of $1450 for a new office computer and software. The current equipment is more than six years old and is experiencing frequent malfunctions. The ceiling in the Town Hall needs approximately $520 in repairs. The computer and ceiling repair costs will be split between the general fund and the water and sewer fund.
Council also agreed to consider splitting Town Clerk Paula Payton’s salary between the two funds, since the majority of her duties actually involve the water and sewer department, such as billing and attending various meetings related to the ongoing construction projects.
The Council also gave first reading approval to a revised ordinance regulating the burning of leaves in the town. Under the revised proposal, burning of leaves, limbs, tree branches, and yard trimmings will be allowed only on the first and third Saturdays of the months between October 31 and April 1. The hours of burning will be between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., with fires to be extinguished by 5 p.m.
Nothing other than the mentioned materials can be burned, and the fire must be monitored by someone 18 or older at all times. Recreational burning, such as campfires, bonfires, and open cooking fires are not regulated by the ordinance. Penalties can range as high as a $500 fine and 30 days in jail for each offense.
The issue of livestock within the town limits was raised by a couple that has twenty five chickens in a coop at their home. A town resident who has rental properties nearby said she is receiving complaints about the smells, and stated she lived in town because she didn’t want to hear and smell farm animals.
The couple who has the chickens said they didn’t know they were illegal and asked if they could keep them. “Our four year old thinks of them as his pets and what would we tell him if we had to get rid of them?’ asked the father.
“What does he think when you kill his pets to eat them?” asked Councilman Randall Ledford. Councilman Blake Sanders suggested that a work session be held to discuss possible solutions. “We should encourage people to engage in sustainable urban agriculture.”
The council also approved the appointment of Pat Black, Amy Black, and Jeanette Duckworth to the planning commission. Michael Tyre was appointed to the post of zoning administrator.
Town Clerk Paula Payton also made a presentation on two programs she hopes to initiate. One is the production of business hospitality packages for the twenty one businesses that have store fronts in the town. “These are the folks paying the hospitality taxes that are building the park. I’d like to present each business with a package including shirts and caps and totes, as well as other information about the town and its businesses.”
The council approved the $922 expenditure needed to purchase the materials. Payton also said she hoped to have an Awareness and Wellness Day organized by the opening of the Chapman Park. It would include health screenings, voter registration, and other services.