During their meeting Tuesday, Pelzer Town Council approved sale of cell tower site at the ballfields, adopted uniform building codes and approved $39,165 for improvements in and around the Monkey Park.
At the start of the meeting several residents made citizen’s comments about about updates on the community building, hospitality tax expenditures, and a concern about noise and gatherings in the gym parking lot.
Several members of the Pelzer “golf cart club” spoke in defense of their gatherings at the parking lot, stating they get together, play music and recently shot fireworks “to give the people of Pelzer something to do” in response to having the year long situation with COVID and having no events. It was also stated they didn’t like the idea of being banned from town property and that they do a lot for Pelzer.
Lee Blackwell and Brian Bell of the West Pelzer Fire Department presented information on the Anderson County Fire Commission Referendum scheduled for May 18. The referendum proposes raising the tax millage for fire protection in the county from 6 mills to 10 mills over a period of time. Blackwell said the change “ will be a huge help” in providing needed equipment for West Pelzer FD and the county’s 650 fire fighters.
He said the increase will add $16 a year on the tax bill for a home valued at $100,000.
In a 3-2 vote, Council approved second reading on the sale of the the cell tower site at Town Park. The town is selling the 2400 square ft. cell tower site to American Tower for $700,000 and the company is paying all closing costs.
Councilmen Mike Matthews and Eddie Waits opposed the sale.
Waits said selling the property is a mistake and takes away future use of the property. “Once you sell prime land in the midde of town you can’t use it,” he said.
Councilwoman Alicia Tuttle said she wants to see “full disclosure and transparency” with the sale and wants to see “where every dime goes.”
Mayor Will Ragland said, “It is a great opportunity for the town to have some financial resources that we don’t have from taxes.” Ragland said he had consulted with other mayor’s about similar situations and they advised him that it was “the best thing they did.”
Ragland said one of the things he worked on while on council was looking at ways to bring money into the town. The town is currently unable to set a tax base due to state law. Legislators have been looking at changing the law for about three years, but until it changes, Pelzer, and other town’s across the state, have no tax base.
He said selling the cell tower property “Is a big answer to that.”
Ragland said a portion of that will be used for renovations at the Community Building.
“My goal is to bring in more from the Community building that we were receiving from the cell tower lease,” Ragland said. “I am very confident we can do it.”
Council unanimously approved second reading on adoption of Anderson County Building Codes. Ragland said the codes are needed for future development of property located in Pelzer.
Council approved a bid of $3,000 by Dnaile bagwell for a grading project along an old railroad bed which has a steep drop off on one side.
Council approved a bid of $22,000 by Steve Posey for tree work in and around the Monkey Park. Mayor Ragland said there are two trees that need to come down and some dead trees along Hwy. 20. The project will also include raising the canopy of trees in the park. “We have done a lot of work in the park making it safer,” Ragland said. Funding of $11,900 will come from the hospitality tax fund which was designated for replacement of broken lighting at the ballfields. Ragland said a recent PARD grant the town received with help from Anderson County Councilwoman Cindy Wilson and Senator Mike Grambrell paid for the lighting. The balance of $10,086 will also come from the hospitality tax fund.
Council approved a bid of $9715 for fencing at the Monkey Park. A new wooden fence will provide a border for the park and help cut down on foot traffic through adjacent yards, the Mayor said. He said the fence is designed similar to a fence in the area seen in historic photos from 100 years ago. “It will be a beautiful fence,” Ragland said.
The fence is 656 feet long and will be installed by ???
Council also approved a bid of $4,450 for a new metal roof for the picnic shelter in the Monkey Park. Funding will come from the recreation bank account.
Ragland said the town’s hospitality tax fund will have a balance of $8,408 left in it after the improvements are paid for. The fund had built up to approximately $85,000 over previous years.
The hospitality tax normally brings in about $25,000 a year to the town, he said.