West Pelzer Council 
decides on position, rates

Wendel Trotter said he will follow the wishes of fellow Councilmembers after a vote taken Tuesday to officially remove him from his position as West Pelzer Town Councilman.

Acting on a motion by Councilman Joe Turner, Councilmember Earl Brown, Mayor Bill Alexander and  Turner agreed with a 3-0 vote. Councilmember Maida Kelly was not present and Trotter did not vote.

“I thought this was the best thing,” Mayor Alexander said.

After the vote, Alexander said that he appreciated Trotter’s input on Council and he hoped there were no ill feelings with Trotter.

Trotter said he had enjoyed his time on Council and that it was an honor to serve the town.

“This is the best decision for our town,” Trotter said. “There are no ill feelings.”

Concerning the vote, Trotter said that he will abide by Council wishes concerning his position on Council.

“I’m happy to follow it,” he said.

Trotter said that he was trying to save the town the cost of having a special election to fill the seat and that he had received advice and opinions from several State and legal sources that indicated he could legally remain on Council and finish his term, which expires in one year, if Council agreed.

Council held a special called meeting July 2 which included a public hearing to decide whether Trotter should remain on Council.

After considerable discussion and comments from the public, Turner made a motion to declare Trotter unqualified for the office due to the fact that he resides outside the corporate limits of West Pelzer.

Turner, Brown and Mayor Alexander were in favor of the motion. Kelly and Trotter were opposed.

During the July 8 meeting, a question concerning the legality of actions in which Trotter had voted, including the recent  water and sewer rate increases, was raised.

Appalachian Council of Governments representative George McDaniel said that Trotter was a member of Council until the second vote was taken on Tuesday.

“As long as he was on council, until tonight, his vote counts,” McDaniel said.

A special election will have to be held to fill Trotter’s seat, West Pelzer officials said. The date will be announced when details are finalized.

Mayor Alexander also said that he will finish his term in office as West Pelzer’s mayor.

In other business, Council decided to reverse an earlier decision and to continue paying  for spouses to attend Municipal Association meetings held throughout the year.

Trotter said he had thought about an earlier vote to stop the practice, had changed his mind, and would like to see it continue.

Council approved 3-0 with Trotter not participating in the vote.

Council also approved first reading on a sewer rate change.

With restructuring of the water and sewer bills, West Pelzer citizens will not see as large an increase in their sewer rates as originally expected, officials said.

Under the new rate structure, sewer rates, which are based on water usage, will be as follows:

Residents inside the town will have a flat rate of $16 for the 1000 gallon minimum with a charge of $1.90 for additional 1000 gallon usage.

Residents outside the town will pay $20 for the first 1000 gallon minimum and $2.35 per 1000 after that.

RDA rates will remain the same with residents inside the town paying $4.50 for sewer and residents outside paying $7.

Second reading on the new rates will be held Tuesday,  July 16.

Sewer rates for the town were based on rate of 80 percent of the water rate for inside town residents and 90 percent of the water rate for outside town residents.

McDaniel said customers did see an increase in the water and sewer rates and the interim charges for sewer were higher due to the old rate structure which was based on a percentage of water usage.

“In the interim the water rate was higher, affecting the sewer rate,” he said.

 

 

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