West Pelzer postpones budget vote until after workshop


By Stan Welch
The proposed budget preparation schedule for the West Pelzer FY2017-2018 budget was derailed Monday night when Council voted to table the proposed budget until May 22, when a budget workshop will be held. A public hearing  will be held prior to the second reading, which will be announced later.
Councilman Jimmy Jeanes made the motion to table, citing several concerns about the proposed budget. Council approved the motion by a vote of three to one, with Mayor Sanders opposed, and Councilman Donnie Jeanes absent.
Some of the highlights of the budget that were mentioned before the motion to table, which, by rule, stops any further discussion of the subject at hand, revealed that no tax increase is proposed in the general fund; nor would there be any increase in water, sewer or sanitation fees. The revenues from the hospitality tax have increased due to the opening of two new establishments that serve prepared food. They are projected to reach forty thousand dollars in the coming  fiscal year.
A four percent increase in the salary of the court clerk is proposed in the budget, while an additional change in the budget will result from the recent resignation of Police Chief Mike Clardy due to health issues. Captain Chris Brewer’s promotion to Chief, and his subsequent hiring of Lt. Alexis Eliopoulos, will actually result in a lesser expenditure for salaries. Brewer introduced Lt. Eliopoulos to the Council, citing her extensive experience and qualifications. “I have worked with Alexis in the past, and she is precisely the type of officer I would want as my lieutenant. I would be completely comfortable knowing that she was filling in for me, if events required it.” The department still has one opening for a certified officer.
Planning Commission Chairman David Odom also nominated Monique Gambrell to the Commission. She was unanimously approved. The commission is beginning work on a signage ordinance for the town, as well as reviewing the comprehensive land use plan before it is presented to the full Council for adoption or rejection.
In other business, the Council unanimously approved the expenditure of two thousand eight hundred fifty four dollars to replace one of two water meters at the Midway Manor Apartments. The meter is slowly failing, and no longer reflects the actual water usage by the units it serves. The town is losing approximately six hundred dollars a month to the faulty meter.
The Mayor also recognized the week of May 7-May 13 as Municipal Clerks’ Week, and also recognized municipal clerk Paula Payton  for her work and contributions to the Town. Chief Brewer was also officially recognized as the new police chief and was also presented with a plaque.
During her presentation of the town  clerk’s report, Payton reminded everyone that the GPATS committee will be holding a drop in at the Lander Library on May 30 to receive input into its long range transportation plan. The drop in will  last from 4 till 7 p.m.,  and will allow citizens to make their wishes known for road projects and improvements in the area.
She also announced that contractors on the RDA sewer update project are working to complete storm drains, lift stations and paving requirements. The project is expected to be complete by month’s end. Other paving projects, commissioned by the Anderson County Transportation Committee, are also under construction.
The report reflected that the general fund received $42,789 and expended $34,806 in April, while the water/sewer department received $58,476 while spending $35,607. The hospitality tax fund took in $3,350 and  spent just $219.
The new municipal center project continues apace, with framing completed, and the HVAC system fifty per cent completed. The exterior doors, the awning  and the exterior painting is all finished.