By Stan Welch
West Pelzer officials expressed concerns about the town’s streetscape and approved funds for security for town hall during a recent meeting of Council.
West Pelzer Police Chief Mike Clardy reported an increase in police calls over the last year of more than thirty per cent, or 5007 calls. Of those calls, five hundred seventy three were reportable incidents; and of that number, 286, or almost exactly half, of those resulted in arrest, with 286.
Capt. Kevin Marsee, of the Williamston Police Department, was on hand to thank the Council and the Chief for the opportunity they gave him as a former West Pelzer officer. Marsee moved to the Williamston department earlier this month.
Marsee spoke for several minutes, telling the Council that despite his prior experience with the Anderson Police Department, he had always wanted to serve in a small town like the one he grew up in near Louisville Ky.
“Like my home town, West Pelzer has great history and heritage, and that is what builds communities. I have been honored to work with this Council and with Chief Clardy. He has achieved amazing things given the demand made on a relatively small force. That force’s dedication is the key.”
The Council made quick work of a zoning issue that turned out not to be an issue, after all. A request was made to zone the business location at 69 Main Street to allow for a liquor store. Planning committee chairman Kevin Paxton reminded the Council, as did Mayor Peggy Paxton, that that location is already zoned general commercial, and that a liquor store is an approved use in that zone.
No vote was needed for the approval.
Council then entered an executive session to discuss contractual matters and after a fairly brief absence, they reconvened into open session.
Mayor Paxton made a motion to enter into a contract with Autech to provide electronic security for the town hall. The cost of the contract was $729 with an additional $360 a year for monitoring of the alarm system.
The vote was unanimous, as was a subsequent vote to enter a contract with the same firm to provide monitoring and security at the town’s sewer plant, where break-ins and thefts have been a problem in recent months. That contract was in the amount of $1034 with the same annual monitoring fee added.
Councilwoman Ann Odom was absent due to illness in her family.
During the public agenda portion of the meeting, former Councilman Jimmy Jeanes reported on his research into the cost for a flagpole for the town’s new Chapman Park. During that discussion, he also raised several concerns about the Town’s streetscape project, which has dragged along unsatisfactorily for more than two years.
“The whole thing just looks awful. We’re a laughingstock because of it. Pelzer’s is finished, looks great, and they have already gotten their money back from the state,” said Jeanes.
Mayor Paxton agreed with Jeanes’ complaints, saying that the project is embarrassing and a disaster. “It could hardly be any worse. I hate it. I hate it as much as anybody does. That project was funded in the amount of $291,000, and in my opinion, I can’t see where the money is. It looks terrible.”
Councilman Blake Sanders, who works in the field of design and consulting, and who drew up the preliminary plans for the project, volunteered to take the point on dealing with the state and the contractor to see what might be done.
The Mayor was only too happy to turn it over to Sanders. “I’ll be glad to let you handle it. I don’t know what to do, but something needs to be done.”