At Chapman Park
By Stan Welch
West Pelzer Town Council voted to amend the Town’s sanitation contract Monday night and to approve an additional $4,000 expenditure in order to finally finish the veterans monument at the Town’s Chapman Park. That additional expense is the result of repeated design changes to the park and to the veterans monument that sits at the entrance.
The money, to be drawn from a $5,000 allocation by County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson, will be spent to create a base for an $11,000 monument which was eventually agreed upon by the Council.
“We really have no choice,” said Mayor Peggy Paxton. “We have to finish the monument. We have to build something to set this monument on that will support it.”
Town Councilman Blake Sanders questioned why the weight of the monument wasn’t accounted for in earlier planning. Paxton reminded him that several changes were made to the design.
The design, materials and the installation all were topics of debate and discussion by the Council, as well as the general public. That debate continued even after the vote to create a foundation for the monument, when former Councilman Jimmy Jeanes raised the issue of placing a flag pole at the monument site.
“If you don’t put up a flag, I don’t see the point in the monument,” said Jeanes. Paxton agreed and assigned Jeanes the task of investigating the cost of putting up “ a decent flagpole.”
The Council also addressed the issue of a rate increase in the garbage collection fees, in order to accommodate a proposed cost increase in the Town’s sanitation contract.
Former Pelzer mayor Kenneth Davis, who currently holds West Pelzer’s sanitation contract, recently informed Mayor Paxton that he wants an increase from $17,460 to $21,000 per year. If the increase is denied, he would invoke the clause allowing him to drop the contract following a thirty day notice.
The rate increase necessary to the town’s citizens and businesses would be one dollar per month. The residential rate would go from four to five dollars while the commercial rate would go from seven to eight dollars.
Several members of the Council observed that Davis was the significantly lower bidder for the contract. His latest offer also includes a three year promise to maintain the same rate.
Paxton pointed out that any new contract should remove the thirty day escape clause. “He may promise to lock in the same rate for three years but if he can give 30 days’ notice, nothing is locked in.”
Councilman Sanders agreed. Following further discussion, he made a motion to increase the rate in order to meet the higher costs, but to also ask for a commitment to pick up leaves and limbs through the autumn months, in lieu of a once a season limb and leaf pick up currently required by the contract.
Sanders’ motion also would negate the thirty day notice clause from the existing contract. Council approved the motion unanimously.