News Archive

Week of Oct. 22

Group makes a difference in Piedmont
Piedmont PSD Board, YMCA partner to offer community programs
Halloween events planned
Taxpayers address county council on tax increases

Group makes a difference in Piedmont

The Pride In Piedmont community group is asking volunteers to help make the Piedmont community a clean and safe place for its residents.

Volunteers are encouraged to meet at 9 a.m. Oct. 25 at the Piedmont Community Building to help with a trash clean up along the banks of the Saluda River and along River Road.

Anybody in the community is welcome to come out and help according to participants who said the community group has been meeting for about four months.

The group hopes to make a difference in the community by organizing cleanups and other activities from the grass roots level to help improve the Piedmont area.

The group sponsored a clean up in April which included scraping dirt and sand from the Verner Bridge (Hwy. 86) and planting flower beds on ends of the bridge.

The volunteers have also taken it upon themselves to remove kudzu and other brush from the old wagon bridge which is sometimes used by fishermen. A trash can was also placed in the vicinity.

The group hopes to make a difference in Piedmont by sponsoring similar clean up days.

The activity is in advance of a visit by Heritage Corridor representatives  who will be visiting the area next week.

For more information call 845-3410 or 845-4520.

Piedmont PSD Board, YMCA partner to offer community programs

In their regular meeting Monday night, the Board of Commissioners of the Piedmont Public Service District voted unanimously in support of a partnership with the Greenville YMCA designed to offer programs and increase opportunities for the community.

Representatives from the YMCA and from Strong Communities were present at the meeting to explain plans for the initiative and to answer any questions from the board.

Eric Nelson, YMCA vice-president, explained that the organization “hopes to one day locate a facility on this end of the county.”

According to Nelson, the first step in that process is to begin programs and services in the area. Nelson referenced a similar program in the Fork Shoals area which now includes dance, basketball, a fitness center, and a senior citizen program.

Kim Carnes of the YMCA explained that an initial plan for Piedmont is to start dance classes for ages 3-13 utilizing the old police department.

Carnes said that 30 girls have already expressed an interest in the program. The classes would be offered for 10 weeks at a cost of $45, Carnes said.

In response to Chief Administrator Butch Nichols’ question about liability issues, Nelson explained that the organization has an “umbrella insurance program” to cover activities in schools and other facilities.

Nichols also expressed concerns about the possibility of damaging the floors in the building as well as responsibilities for maintenance and cleaning.

“We’ll clean up behind ourselves,” Nelson advised. He also proposed that a committee meet once a month to monitor and assess the program and deal with any issues or concerns.

Nichols also emphasized that the community needs to understand that the partnership is “not to make money” and is “non-profit.”

Chairman Marsha Rogers supported the partnership idea saying, “We have a facility but do not have the means, money or skills to fully utilize it.”

Commissioner Al McAbee made a motion to support the partnership with a second by Commissioner Rudy Rhodes. The board voted unanimously to support the proposal.

Lucinda Quick of Strong Communities announced that a Harvest Festival will be held in the gym on October 30 from 5 to 8 p.m. for children up to eight years of age.

Gloria Morris of Foothills Alliance and Strong Communities explained that the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor is in search of historical areas in which to locate parks.

Morris asked about the details of the footbridge and the history of the area and explained that a representative from Columbia will visit the area on October 29 to pursue the possibility of a park.

A representative of Pride in Piedmont was on hand to promote a cleanup scheduled in anticipation of the visit from Heritage Corridor representatives.

The cleanup is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. October 25 at the Community Building. The plan is to work in teams on cleaning the area from the sandbar back to the bridge, an organizer said.

Chairman Marsha Rogers presented a long list of needs for the ball park. Rogers said the board will have grant money which should cover some of the items.

According to Rogers, an estimate of $950 has been given to remove three dead trees in the area but that now four trees actually need to be taken down.

Other needs on the list included: re-grading and reseeding the bank, reconditioning the field, lighting, swings, a shelter, benches, grills, and asphalting a parking area.

McAbee reported a total of 41 calls in September which included: 6 structure fires, 2 grass fires, 1 vehicle fire, 3 vehicle accidents, 23 medical calls, 3 sewer calls, and 3 street light calls.

The board voted to move into executive session to discuss personnel matters and resumed the meeting with no action taken in executive session.

Nichols reminded the group that the Fire Department will start Thanksgiving collecting canned goods and new or barely used toys for families in need. Over 100 families were helped last year according to Nichols.

Rogers reminded the group that the Christmas Parade is scheduled for December 13.

The board scheduled the next meeting for November 17 with no meeting to be held in December and adjourned.

Halloween events planned

A Fall Festival will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on Halloween, October 31, at the Pelzer ball field. No admission will be charged and the event will include rides, games, a costume contest and food according to West Pelzer Mayor Peggy Paxton.

The Town of Williamston will host a community wide costume ball fron 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on October 31.

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy said the event serves as an alternative for families.  Some refreshments, such as hot dogs, will be served this year he said. The event is open to the public and offers fun for all ages.

A Harvest Festival will be held in the Piedmont Community building gym on October 30 from 5 to 8 p.m. for children up to eight years of age, according to Lucinda Quick of Strong Communities.

Taxpayers address county council on tax increases

Anderson County Council faced a council chamber filled with citizens upset over tax increases at their regular meeting Tuesday night.

Approximately thirty citizens protesting the tax increase and county spending participated in a protest outside the courthouse before the meeting began.

A large number of citizens made their feelings known during time set aside for citizen comments, and members of the Anderson County Taxpayers Association were allowed agenda time to give a presentation on the issue.

“There is a revolt in the making,” warned Rudolph Cole who referred to a 45% increase in his taxes. “The county has the right to tax and sell my property at auction if taxes are not paid. What right do I have?” Cole asked.

A Lake Hartwell property owner questioned a “property location disparity” which he says singled out Lake Hartwell residents for special treatment. Another citizen commented on an increased number of “For Sale” signs on lake property.

Brooks Brown reminded the council that according to the state constitution the “power of government is in the hands of the people” and referred to the recent recall of the governor of California.

Several citizens commented on a plan extending lifetime health and dental benefits to county employees. Edward Evans of Hartwell Ridge called the plan “obscene” saying the council should be “prudent stewards of taxpayer money.” Peggy Taylor commented that the “county is spending money like drunken sailors.”

Bruce Gerrard of the Anderson County Taxpayers Association said the “council has failed to recognize that economic hard times are upon us.” Dan Harvell referred to a description of the county as “innovative” and challenged the group to “innovate a way to rectify the situation.”

Charles Crowe said that he has had people in tears calling about their tax increase. He received strong audience support when he referred to his tax notice as a “letter of resignation” from the council.

Council member Cindy Wilson received a standing ovation from some members of the audience when she proposed a resolution rescinding the “windfall” taken by the reassessment and requiring that the budget be sent back to the County Administrator to provide more detail on line items and a diligent effort by council to reduce spending where possible.

Referring to an “incredible amount of money put out for lawyers, partying, and credit card expenses,” Wilson indicated that “$2-3 million can be cut without an impact on necessary services.”

Council member Larry Greer followed with an extended explanation on the process of taxation. Greer called on County Auditor Anna Marie Brock and Assessor Mike Freeman to answer questions and assist in the explanation.

Greer emphasized that reassessment is mandated every five years by state law. The county’s only option is to postpone reassessment one year which the county did according to Greer.

Freeman explained that fair market value is controlled by statistics and that reassessment must equal 85-105% of fair market value by state law. Freemen added that the county-wide reassessment amounted to 86% of fair market value.

Greer charged that citizens were “not looking at the majority of the tax bill and were using the council as an excuse for raising taxes.”

Using an unidentified tax notice, Greer showed that the county council vote affected 24.26% of the total bill. Greer also documented that 64.29% of the bill went to school districts.

“School Boards and the legislative delegation are hiding behind this council,” Greer offered. Greer went on to detail increases in each school district and documented the largest tax increase in School District One which showed a net increase of 7 mills.

Returning to Wilson’s resolution, the council became involved in a procedural discussion as to whether a resolution could amend a budget ordinance. Wilson finally proposed changing the resolution to a “title only” ordinance in order to comply with procedures.

Discussion arose about the details of the ordinance which led to a motion by Council member Gracie Floyd to table the ordinance until details could be resolved.

After three hours of citizen comments, presentations, council discussion and motions on the issue, the council voted to table the ordinance. Wilson, Greer, and Wright opposed the motion to table while remaining council members supported the motion.

Floyd then made a motion which was unanimously supported by the council to contact the legislative delegation about extending the appeals process for assessments.

In other business, Wilson presented information on LINWA prior to a council vote on ordinances involving the development. Wilson took exception to “paying development costs for a commercial development.”

According to Wilson, a principal of LINWA is also a principal of Design South. “We’re paying LINWA and Design South to engineer their own sewer system,” Wilson advised.

A subsequent council vote supported the second reading of ordinances providing for the issue and sale of almost a million dollars in special source revenue bonds for LINWA. Wilson and Greer opposed the ordinance, and remaining council members voted in favor of the ordinance.

The first reading of an ordinance including LINWA in the Industrial/Business Park of Anderson and Greenville counties was supported by council. Greer and Wilson opposed the ordinance, and remaining council members supported the ordinance.

The first reading of an ordinance authorizing a $400 million revenue bond to Robert Bosch Corporation for an expansion received unanimous council support.

The second reading of an ordinance authorizing the extension of a lease agreement between the county and BMW Manufacturing Corporation for a project at Plastic Omnium received unanimous council approval.

The third reading of an ordinance extending a FILOT agreement between Milliken & Company and the county received unanimous council approval.

 

 

 

 

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