News Archive

Week of Dec. 4, 2002

Christmas parades begin in West Pelzer this Saturday  
Williamston officials considering accepting Forest Hills sewage
Gerber Childrenswear to close Pelzer facilities
Anderson County Council
Robert Bosch plans $200 million expansion


Christmas parades begin in West Pelzer this Saturday  

West Pelzer residents will be the first in the area to enjoy the sights and sounds of their very own Chirstmas parade and it will be the first in the town in 40 years, according to organizer Peggy Paxton.

“I am so excited. We have a lot of entries and people are still calling,” she said.

The West Pelzer Christmas Parade will be held on Dec. 7 at 10 a. m.  

The parade will begin at the West Pelze Fire Department and end at Depot Rd. at the stop light at the intersection of Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 20.

Participants are asked to gather at Palmetto Road behind West Pelzer Elementary School beginning at 9 a.m.

Paxton said she is very pleased with the interest and participation for the parade, with more than 40 entries already signed up.

“The Palmetto AFROTC will help organize the entries and will lead the parade march,” Paxton said.

Awards will be given in several categories, Paxton said. Judging will be held at the West Pelzer Baptist Church.

Anyone interested in participating can register in advance at Town Hall or by calling Peggy Paxton at 947-2807. There is a $10 entry fee. Entry will be allowed up to the start of the parade, Paxton said.

The Piedmont Christmas parade will be held at 11 a.m. on Dec. 14. The theme will be “Joy to the World.” There is a $5 entry fee to help cover expenses, organizers said.

Entry forms are available at the Piedmont Fire Department. The Bonnes Amies Club is sponsoring the parade.

The Bonnes Amies are also sponsoring an outdoor holiday decorating contest for the Piedmont area on Dec. 15.

Judging will begin at 6 p.m. Anyone who would like to be included or to have a specific area included in the judging should contact Lorri Lundgren at 269-7876.

First, second and third place winners will be awarded. Signs will be placed in the winners’ yards, organizers said.

Piedmont firefighters will be accepting donations at the intersection of Hwy. 20 and Hwy. 86 in Piedmont on Dec. 5-6 and Dec. 12-13 for the needy families fund. New toys items, good used toy items and non-perishable food items will also be accepted and can be dropped off at the Piedmont Fire Department, Hwy. 86 Piedmont during the holiday season, Chief Butch Nichols said.

The Williamston Christmas Parade will be held on Sat. Dec. 14 at 3 p.m. Parade organizer Walt Smith said that members of the Sesquicentennial committee and pageant winners will lead the parade. There is no fee for entry. Anyone interested in participating in the parade may sign up in advance by calling Walt Smith at 847-7929 or Annette Drake at 847-5599 or register the day of the parade.

Participants are asked to gather on Hamilton St. near Fort Hill Natural Gas office for the parade which will procede along Greenville Dr., East Main and West Main to the Williamston Fire Department, where judging will be held.

The Greater Williamston Business Association Collector Christmas Ornaments are now available at GWBA member locations. The 2002 ornament is white with gold imprint featuring the 150th Anniversary of the Town of Williamston. Ornaments are $5 each.

Open House at the Municipal Center will feature “Deck the Halls - 2002.” Area businesses, churches, and civic groups will display Christmas trees decorated in a chosen theme featuring their organization. The trees will line the halls and corridors of the Municipal Center during the holiday season.

Residents may also tour the Municipal Center during regular business hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from 6 p.m to 9 p.m. through Dec. 23.

Santa will be in the park nightly from 6-9 p.m through Dec. 23.

Any church or civic group interested in providing entertainment and/or hot beverages between in the Christmas park through Dec. 23 are asked to sign up at The Municipal Center or call 847-7473.

Williamston officials considering accepting Forest Hills sewage

During their regular monthly meeting Dec. 2, Williamston Town officials said they were not ready to make a decision on a request to provide sewer services to residents of the Forest Hills subdivision located just out of the town limits.

Jeff Ellison/J. C. Cox Utilities, owners of a sewage treatment lagoon  serving the Forest Hills area have asked town officials to again consider an option of allowing their system to be connected to town sewer lines. The proposal would allow waste treatment at the town’s plant.

Residents of the subdivision, which was contructed in the 1970s, have had sewage treatment provided by a lagoon treatment system which was constructed at the time the area was developed.

Approximately 33 homes in the  Forest Hills area are on the system, which is currently out of compliance with DHEC guidelines.

The current system owners are under a mandate to upgrade the system and are looking at alternatives which include connecting to the town’s treatment system or abandonment of the system, officials said.

Ellison/J. C. Cox Utilities attorney Paul Lewis, of Goaldie and Associates, said that something had to be done with the facility and urged Williamston Town Council to make a decision on whether or not to allow the utility to be connected to the town system.

 Williamston Town Council earlier turned down a proposal to allow the system to connect with the town’s system, citing possible problems of additional flow through aging lines in the area.  The proposal also requires building a lift station, which the utility owners said they would pay for.

Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy said that he and others had attended a meeting in Columbia recently which included a four hour discussion on the options available to the utility and the town.

Several Forest Hills residents expressed irritation about not being included in that meeting.

Residents spokesperson Ailene Wilson stated that she was told by a Public Service Commission representative and a representative of the utility that it was not necessary for residents to be included in the meeting held in Columbia.

“The residents are not being informed,” she said.

Approximately 10 residents were present and expressed their frustration with the proposals being offered.

Representatives of the Public Service Commission, Department of Health and Environmental Control, and Anderson County were also present at the council meeting.

Anderson County has offered to allow use of a portion of a 300,000 gallon treatment capacity set aside for the County in a 1986 contract.

Expected capacity of the homes is only 12,000 to 15,000 gallons per day.

 However, officials said that if the treatment is offered through the County capacity, residents will still have to pay the Town’s sewer charges in addition to a County usage fee.

Residents currently pay $14 month for sewer services provided by the Jeff Ellison/J. C. Cox Utilities.

According to information presented during the meeting, bills for the 33 residents will jump to an estimated $140 or more if the town accepts the residents as customers and the Ellisons retain ownership of the utility. The rate is based on the town’s sewer fee of 85 percent of water usage.

Forest Hills residents are already on the town’s water system and receive a water bill from the town.

Residents were told that their bills would amount to $81.71 if J. C Cox Utilities continues to own the system and approximately $57 for treatment by the Town of Williamston.

If Williamston doesn’t accept, J. C. Cox Utilities will be forced to upgrade the system, resulting in an estimated cost to residents of approximately $223 per month.

To complicate the situation more, the owners of the utility have recently filed for abandonment of the system.

“We normally don’t approve abandonment unless there is an option,” a Public Service Commission official said.

Lewis said if the abandonment is successful, somebody will have to take over and upgrade the system or construct a lift station and pump to Williamston.

Lewis said the utility had to act as a business.

“It has to run as a business and pay for itself,” he said.

Approximate cost estimate for  upgrade of the lagoon system is $500,000.

One resident raised the question of going to septic tanks.

“If public sewer is available, you can’t go back to a septic tank,” Lewis said. “It is a sad situation, but the reality is that is what sewage costs to treat.”

Lewis said the treatment lagoon was created for the neighborhood and it has been treating to the standards at the time of construction.

Increasingly strict state and federal standards have to be met and the business has to pass the costs on, he said.

If the town declines to accept the facility and the abandonment is successful, residents could possibly be forced to go to a septic tank, one official said.

“Each individual lot would have to be tested,” a DHEC official said.

Clardy said there is another complicating factor involving adjacent land development for the town to consider.

The town has no water rights to the property adjacent to the developed subdivision, however if the town provides sewer service to Forest Hills, Clardy said he thought the Town could be forced to accept additional sewer customers, even without being able to provide other services.

Mayor Clardy said he wanted to do what he could to help the residents and make a decision that will be in the best interest of the town.

“We have residents in the town who do not have city sewer provided,” Clardy said, referring to Shorebrook subdivision residents.

“We have to make a decision based on what is fair and in the best interest of the town.”

Clardy also pointed out that there is an economic liability associated with accepting the service.

Officials also pointed out that there would be a cost to residents if the town did not accept the system and they had to pay for a system upgrade.

Clardy asked if the Public Service Commission could look at two alternatives.

An official said, “We normally look at a proposed contract.”

“If the town objects to taking the system,” Clardy asked.

“We are back to the abandoned position,” PSC official said.

Clardy stated that he felt that some decisions should have been made before the Ellisons purchased the utility.

Clardy also said he wanted to use caution in making a long term decision.

Town attorney Richard Thompson said he would like to review the county contract and discuss the option with town officials.

“If J. C. Cox Utilities is taken to court, it should not make the town make a decision,” he said.

Council decided to postpone making a decision.

Gerber Childrenswear to close Pelzer facilities

Gerber Childrenswear, Inc., a division of Kellwood Company, announced Nov. 21 the decision to discontinue knitting and distribution operations at its Pelzer facilities according to Donnie Hodge,  Senior Vice President of  Operations.

Gerber Childrenswear has determined that it is increasingly difficult to service its customers efficiently and cost effectively at the Pelzer facilities. The knitting and distribution locations in Pelzer will be closed by the end of  February 2003. The distribution operations will be transferred to Kellwood’s Heflin, Alabama plant.

Management at Gerber Childrenswear has expressed its regrets in having to close the facilities but will attempt to do everything  possible to make the transition as smooth as possible for its associates.

Gerber Childrenswear, Inc., a division of Kellwood Company, is a marketer of infant and toddler apparel related products.

Robert Bosch plans $200 million expansion

The highlight of Anderson County Council’s December 3 meeting was the official announcement of a major project by John Lummus of the Office of Economic Development. Originally  referred to as Project Kudzu, the project involves a $200 million investment by Robert Bosch Corporation creating 200 new jobs for Anderson County.

The expansion will take place at Bosch’s 80-acre site on S.C. 81 and a 46-acre site on the other side of Scott’s Bridge Road. The project would involve a relocation of Scott’s Bridge Road which would be paid for in part by the state and in part by a county revenue bond.

Lummus requested that the council approve a resolution for an incentives package and a  millage rate agreement to support the project. Council Chairman Larry Greer recused himself from the vote due to a personal conflict. All other council members enthusiastically approved the resolution.

Michelle Lewis of the Foothills Child Advocacy Center appeared before council to propose a revision of the child advocacy system which would put all resources in one location and easily accessible to victims. She outlined the support that is already in place but requested assistance from council in locating a building. The council appointed County Administrator Joey Preston to assist in the effort to find a suitable facility.

Jeff Ricketson presented the new EMS map which divides the county into grids. The maps will be distributed to responders to be reviewed and evaluated.

Council unanimously approved the third reading of an ordinance to enlarge the Industrial/Business Park of Anderson and Greenville counties.

Council member Cindy Wilson introduced a resolution for council to consent to the closure of Silverado Drive, Wespannee Drive and Nalley Drive in rural Honea Path. Richard Taylor, a resident of the area, was present to discuss law enforcement issues and the need for the closure. Taylor said the two landowners involved have experienced problems with illegal activity involving drugs and alcohol for quite some time. Council voted unanimously to consent to the closure with the understanding that the next step for the parties involved would be to have the circuit court to officially declare the roads closed.

Council member Gracie Floyd received unanimous approval for $3000 for The Salvation Army Homeless Shelter.

Wilson requested $10,000 for the Town of West Pelzer to be used to repair water lines and streets. A split vote resulted in approval of the funds. Council member Fred Tolly abstained from voting. Council members Bill Dees and Larry Greer cast opposing votes while the four remaining members approved.

A similar vote resulted on a request by Wilson for $4250 to complete the Transportation Enhancement Rails to Trails study. Tolly again abstained from voting. Greer cast the only opposing vote with the five remaining council members approving the expenditure.

Wilson also requested $5000 to assist in dealing with contaminated wells in the Mt. Nebo Road area. Five council members approved the expenditure. Greer opposed while Tolly again abstained from voting.

Based on her review of financial reports, Wilson then posed several specific questions and requested explanations for the expenditures. Greer interrupted Wilson before she was able to complete all her inquiries.

Floyd suggested that Wilson make an appointment to discuss her questions with the County Administrator rather than pose the questions in an open meeting.

Tolly said he felt it was unreasonable to expect an immediate answer to such questions and also wondered about Wilson’s reason for posing such questions.

Wilson insisted that she had constituents who preferred public answers and stated that the she feels the council needs a better “handle on the budget.”

Floyd expressed a desire to see the council work as a team in the coming year without resorting to a lot of “crap” and negativity. She said she felt the council had made some progress recently in working together and she did not want to see that undermined.

Greer then adjourned the meeting. 




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