During their meeting Tuesday, Pelzer Town Council voted down a Duke Energy franchise fee increase, approved first reading on a “temporary” budget and approved two property annexations.
The town was considering an increase in the Duke Energy franchise fee from the current three percent to five percent, to help make up for some monthly revenues the town will lose due to no longer having a sewer system.
Ragland and councilwoman Alicia Tuttle were in favor of the increase. Councilmembers Mike Matthews, Eddie Waits and Donna Ide were against. Before the vote, Ide stated that she had numerous residents tell her they were against the fee.
The town is also beginning the process of a new budget for fiscal year 2022-23. Municipalities are required by law to have a budget in place by July 1.
Mayor Ragland asked council to adopt the current budget until the town can finalize the Greenville Water system purchase. Ragland said they are in the middle of negotiations on the sale of the system and should know something in the next week.
According to Ragland, Greenville Water is trying to get ARPA funds to help with necessary upgrades to the system, which are estimated at $6.9 million.
Councilman Waits expressed concerns about portions of the current budget being re-approved.
There was also mention of the cell tower money.
Ragland told council that selling the system to Greenville Water “totally changes everything.”
“We could come up with a budget tonight, but it will not be accurate or effective,” he said.
“Water bills will go down thirty percent or more. We are trying to come up with other means of income to replace the sewer rates. We can sit on this money (from the cell tower sale) until it runs out. I don’t think that is smart.”
Ragland said when negotiations with Greenville Water are completed, Council can work on the new budget in a work session.
The temporary extension of the current budget was barely approved with Ragland, Tuttle and Councilman Mike Matthews in favor.
Council unanimously approved first reading on annexation of the old Pine Lawn Cemetery.
The property is owned by the Pelzer Heritage Commission (PHC). A portion of the property is being sold to a developer for residential development. West Pelzer will provide sewer service to the new homes and recently approved an ordinance requiring new homes on their sewer system be annexed into the town.
“The Pelzer sewer system does not cross Hwy. 20,” Ragland said.
Ragland said PHC requested annexation of the cemetery portion of the property, “to keep it in Pelzer.”
Pelzer recently approved annexation of the new Pine Lawn Cemetery. The two properties have different TMS numbers.
Tuesday night Council unanimously approved first reading on annexation of the old Pine Lawn Cemetery.
Council also unanimously approved annexation of approximately 56 acres on Courtney Street. That property has recently been purchased by a developer who plans to build residential single family homes on it, according to the mayor.
The developer is requesting the property be annexed into Pelzer.
Councilwoman Ide asked about sewer taps on the property leading to a brief discussion about an agreement in the 1980s between the former property owner and Kendall Mills. Ragland said the ordinance they were voting on was solely about annexation of the property and did not concern sewer taps.
“It will increase the size of Pelzer by a lot,” he said.
Council unanimously decided not to sell a white 2004 Chevrolet work truck, but to keep it as a backup for now. The KBB value of the truck is between $4900 and $7700.
Council approved the purchase of a new HVAC system for town hall. The current system has a freon leak and is not cooling. The town received three bids, A low bid of $3,250 by Lilly refrigeration was unanimously approved.
Before adjourning, Council went into executive session to discuss a legal matter.
Pelzer Town Council will hold a special called meeting next Tuesday, June 21 at 6 pm and a worksession the following Tuesday, June 28 at 6 pm.