News Archive

Week of June 23, 2004

Pelzer officials approve $435,000 budget for 2004-05
County Education Board approves District One budget
Fireworks celebrate Independence Day
West Pelzer officials revise schedule of rates and fees
Crenshaw continues in sheriff’s race
Russell named principal at Concrete

Pelzer officials approve $435,000 budget for 2004-05

Pelzer officials unanimously approved the first reading of a new fiscal budget showing an estimated total income of $435,219 and estimated total expenses of $391,141. The $44,078 surplus will be paid to Dunn & Associates for engineering fees associated with the sewer project, Mayor Page Henderson explained. Water, sewer, and trash customers can expect a 3% increase in fees according to Henderson.

Henderson reported that the June 11 meeting on the sewer project for Pelzer and West Pelzer with town attorneys and Lara Payne of Rural Development was “the best, most constructive meeting we’ve had.”

According to Henderson, there was a misunderstanding with attorneys about some of the terminology of the agreement which was cleared up in the meeting.

“Looks like we could cut ground in December,” Henderson said. 

Driven by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements, officials began plans for the sewer project over 10 years ago. A $1.852 million grant was awarded to the Town of Pelzer in 1999 for the project which will fund 45% of the cost. The Town which is responsible for the balance of the cost was forced to start collecting funds in advance to assist in paying for the project.

Henderson reminded the council that town customers will “pay through the nose for water and sewer.”

“Rates will increase dramatically due to EPA and DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Control) requirements no matter who is mayor,” Henderson said.

Henderson also addressed the issue that there is an “undertone that this office doesn’t know where to go to borrow money.”

“We haven’t left a stone unturned,” Henderson emphasized and continued by listing many sources of funds available for municipalities.

Henderson explained that the Town of West Pelzer is able to apply for a $500,000 grant due to the fact that residents of that municipality meet certain income criteria. Citizens of Pelzer do not meet those criteria, Henderson added.

Henderson added that Michelle McCollum, director of the National Heritage Corridor, is looking at the gymnasium repair project with the possibility of acquiring some grant funds to assist in paying for that project.

Henderson also reported that the “300 to 400 buckets of spikes” at a CSX railroad crossing were cleaned up within one week after he mentioned the ongoing problem to Rep. Gresham Barrett.

Henderson reported that Tom Green purchased all the property from Gerber. Green is in the process of negotiations to sell the land and has no plans to donate the land to anyone, Henderson added.

Henderson reported that the town needs to replace a 16-year-old truck “that is putting more oil on the road than it’s burning out the tail pipe.” He suggested that the town look for a used truck with a utility bed or buy a used truck and add a utility bed. The council unanimously approved an expenditure of up to $25,000 to purchase a truck.

Henderson also reported that the town is on the mosquito spraying list for Anderson County and should be sprayed once a month.

County Education Board approves District One budget

In a budget work session last Thursday with the Anderson County Board of Education, Anderson School District One Trustees presented a budget that includes additional training and certification, materials and adds 12 new teachers for the District.

The County Board approved the $40,356,835 budget for school year 2004-2005 without changes.

The County Board was presented the same slide presentation made to District One Board members May 25. The budget represents an estimated 6.8 percent increase over the previous year, however, Superintendent Dr. Reggie Christopher said it includes no tax increase and allows for additional teachers, teacher training, and materials for students.

The budget shows  increases in areas such as workers compensation, a 2.07 percent pay raise for employees, increases for teacher certifications and a 14 percent increase in health insurance premiums.

According to information provided by Dr. Christopher, workers compensation will add the following to the budget: $19,856; salary increase, $960,923; teacher certification $91,447 and health insurance $127,869.

Christopher said district employees are also facing a 14 percent increase in the portion they pay for health insurance, resulting in a 28 percent total increase for insurance.

Other increases for District One include property casualty insurance, $25,426; sewage/natural gas and electricity, $49,000; maintenance and repairs $28,800; vehicle maintenance which includes a new vehicle $23,450; and school resource officers, $45,000.

Christopher said the resource officers have been covered by a grant and will now be in the general fund.

The budget includes $13,000 for National Board Certifications.

According to Christopher, the District has 44 certified teachers and will add 10 to 13 more this year.

The budget also includes $25,000 to cover expenses for SACS evaluations, including materials and housing for the 1.5 day evaluation period.

The budget also restores base student supplies and materials to 2002 levels, according to Christopher.

The budget includes $524,087 for 12.2 additional teachers needed due to student growth in the district.

According to Christopher, the District has continued to maintain a 21.5 to 1 pupil to teacher ratio in elementary schools and 23.0 to 1 in middle and high schools.

Dr. Christopher said the base student cost in the district is $1,852 and the EIA maintenance is 1.5 percent.

State property tax relief brings in $1,717,732 and homestead exemption, $462,621.

The value of a mill in the district is set at $127,883.

Anticipated revenue includes Local, $14,888,413; State EFA, $22,424,601 from property tax rollback, homestead exemption and merchant’s inventory tax; EIA, Indirect cost etc. will bring in $2,997,496.

Budgeted expenditures are $40,356,835, with anticipated revenue of $40,310,510, resulting in a difference of $46,325.

The public can comment on the new budget during a public hearing scheduled for the regular monthly meeting, June 29 at 7 p.m. at the District Administrative office, 801 N. Hamilton St., Williamston.

Fireworks celebrate Independence Day

If you enjoy watching fireworks as part of your Independence Day celebration, you will have several opportunities right here in the community.

The town of West Pelzer will hold a 4th of July Celebration on Saturday, June 26 at the Pelzer ballfields.

The event will feature fireworks, food, snocones and other activities for the community, according to Mayor Peggy Paxton.

Activities will begin at 6 p.m. with fireworks starting around 9 p.m. Paxton said. The West Pelzer Fire Department will help with the event. In event of rain, the celebration will be held on July 3.

Beech Springs Tabernacle will have its annual Freedom Celebration Sunday, June 27, at 7:30 pm. There will be skydivers, fireworks, music and more, organizers said. For  information and directions call the church office at 864.243.3697 or visit  the web at www.beechspringstab.org.

The Town of Williamston is planning a Freedom Celebration Friday, July 2 which will include a free fireworks show, a dance with a DJ, an old fashioned community cookout in Mineral Spring Park and a cruise-in at a local restaurant.

The fireworks show is being sponsored by the Town of Williamston and the Greater Williamston Business Association and will be held in the vicinity of the ball fields located behind the Municipal Center as in past years, Mayor Phillip Clardy said.

The fireworks show will begin at approximately 9:30 p.m.

A viewing area will be located on the grassy area located behind the municipal center with parking in the paved parking area behind the municipal center. Handicapped parking will be located next to Moore’s.

Another activity planned in conjunction with the fireworks display is a cruise-in sponsored by the Williamston Fire Department.

Fire Chief Steve Ellison said the department will sponsor the cruise-in which will begin at 6 p.m at McDonald’s in Williamston.

Between 100 and 150 vehicles are expected, Ellison said. There is no cost and anyone who wants can show up and participate in the event.

The public is also invited to come by and look at vehicles during the cruise-in, he said.

Tickets will be sold for cash drawings at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. with proceeds going toward the purchase of trophies for the Spring Water Festival car show the department sponsors in August. Tickets will be available for $1 each or 6 for $5.

A dance with a DJ will be held following the fireworks show. The dance will be held on the tennis courts in Mineral Spring Park. There will be a $2 admission charge for those attending the dance which will help offset costs of providing the DJ. The dance is recommended for ages 12 and up.

Town residents are also encouraged to participate in a community cookout in the park prior to the fireworks display.

Everyone is invited to bring grills and food to the park and join in. A cookout for town employees will also be held in conjunction with the event, Mayor Clardy said.

The fireworks show will be put on by Pyrotecnico of New Castle, Penn. and will last approximately 20 minutes, Chief Ellison said.

West Pelzer officials revise schedule of rates and fees

The West Pelzer Town Council unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance establishing a new schedule of rates and fees for the town at a special meeting held June 21.

According to the schedule, water rates for customers outside the town limits would increase from $17 to $25.50 for the first 1,000 gallons. Water rates for customers inside the town limits would change to a minimum fee of $12 for the first 1,000 gallons.

Sewer rates for customers outside the town limits would increase from $20 to $30 for the first 1,000 gallons. Sewer rates for customers inside the town limits would increase to $16 for the first 1,000 gallons.

Monthly DHEC fees for outside-residential would increase to $1.50, and outside-business fees would increase to $2. Residents inside the town would pay a $1 fee, and businesses inside the town would pay a fee of $1.50.

Due to a contract renegotiation, monthly garbage fees would be reduced from $6 to $3.50 for residents inside the town and from $9 to $6.50 for businesses inside the town.

The council also unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance amending business and license fees. Businesses would pay a $50 minimum fee for gross sales up to $10,000. For every $1,000 of sales above that amount, businesses would pay a $1 fee – an increase of $.50 above current rates. Fees would be doubled for non-residents.

The first reading of the proposed budget for fiscal year 2004-05 was also unanimously approved by the council.

The council also unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance to change the regular scheduled council meetings from the second Tuesday of each month to the second Monday of each month due to a schedule conflict.

The council also unanimously approved an ordinance increasing the compensation for the mayor and council. The mayor’s compensation would increase from $1,000 to $2,400 annually. Compensation for council members would increase from $12 per month to $50 per month.

Paxton explained that according to established guidelines, the increases could not take effect for one year – the time of the next general election for the town.

Police Sgt. Bernard Wilson presented an estimated cost of using the bank building at the corner of Hindman St. and Main St. as a police station. Including rent, a business phone line, electricity, gas, and an Internet connection, Wilson estimated that the building would cost the town $573.50 per month.

Wilson estimated that the initial costs of getting the building ready for use would be $3,632. This would include desks, chairs, file cabinets, computers, building materials, and cleaning, Wilson said.

The council also unanimously approved a resolution supporting a local match of grant funds should the town receive the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) which could amount to as much as $500,000. The town would be responsible for a 10% match as well as any project costs that exceed $500,000.

Mayor Peggy Paxton said she felt that county and legislative representatives would assist the town in acquiring the matching funds if the grant is received.

A citizen questioned whether the town would lose the grant money received for the signs for the town if the money was not used. After discussion, the council unanimously supported a motion by Terry Davis to allow Jimmy Jeanes to proceed with the signs he had designed for the town.

Another citizen suggested that the town automatically replace the bullet-proof vests for police officers as the time approaches for the expiration date of each vest. A police officer explained that the vests usually have a 5-year life span and added that there are grant funds available through the Bureau of Justice to purchase the vests

Crenshaw continues in sheriff’s race

David Crenshaw captured the Republican nomination for Anderson County sheriff in the runoff election held Tuesday and will now move on to the general election in November.

A narrow 766-vote margin separated Crenshaw and his opponent John Skipper who currently works as a captain at the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. Unofficial results showed Crenshaw captured over 52% of the votes cast with a count of 9,543 votes to the 8,777 votes cast for Skipper.

Crenshaw and Skipper were forced into a runoff election after neither captured 50% of the vote in the June 8 primary.

Crenshaw worked 15 years with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff E. E. “Duck” Cooley until Gene Taylor defeated Cooley in the election for sheriff in 1988. Four years later in 1992, Crenshaw lost a close and heated race for sheriff against incumbent Taylor by a narrow margin of 401 votes.

As a part of his speech announcing his campaign for sheriff, Crenshaw pointed to “current deficiencies in leadership at the Sheriff’s Department that have impeded the efficiency of the agency’s response to burglaries, hindered cooperation with other area law enforcement agencies, and failed to ensure that the public received a dollar’s worth of service for every tax dollar we spend.”

Recently, Taylor added further controversy to the current race for sheriff by un-endorsing Crenshaw in a public statement issued just before the election.

Crenshaw will now face political newcomer and Democratic candidate Bob Appell in the November election.

In the regular primary election June 8, voters in District 3 gave a resounding show of support returning Larry Greer to Anderson County Council with 1,423 votes – a convincing 61.39% of votes cast. Challenger Peggy Taylor garnered 2,318 votes - almost 40% of the votes cast. Greer faces no opposition in the November election.

An extremely close race in the District 5 race resulted in the defeat of incumbent Mike Holden. Challenger Michael Thompson received 2,896 votes which represented 51.59% of the votes cast. Holden’s 1,402 votes amounting to 48.41% of the vote were not enough to return him to office. Thompson will run unopposed in the November election.

Russell named principal at Concrete

Patricia Russell, assistant principal at Wren Elementary School, will become the new principal at Concrete Primary School, Anderson School District One officials announced recently.

Russell will officially begin her new job in July and succeeds Jane Harrison who will become the elementary education director for the school district.

Russell has worked for six years as an assistant principal at Wren Elementary. “She has developed the knowledge and skills to become the principal and will provide the instructional leadership to ensure that Concrete Primary will continue to have an excellent program that is focused on the needs of young children,” said Dr. Wayne Fowler.

Russell taught second grade, third grade and directed a summer school program in Greenville County for 10 years before coming to School District One in 1998.

She participated in the Anderson/Oconee/Pickens Potential Administrator’s Academy in 1999-2000 and worked as a site facilitator with the School Renewal Planning Team at Spearman Primary School the same school year. She also worked as a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) School Review Team for Lancaster County School District in the year 2000.

Russell assumes the leadership of Concrete Primary which is located in Powdersville and has a 35-member staff. The school had an enrollment of 350 students last year in the K-2 program and also has a K-4 program.

Russell received her undergraduate degree from Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia in 1988. She also received a master’s degree in elementary education in 1991 and a master’s degree in elementary education administration and supervision in 1994 from Furman University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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