Council Amends Budget

BLYTHEWOOD – Town Council took the second and final vote Monday night to amend the Town’s budget for fiscal year 2013, to more accurately reflect the operational losses of Doko Manor this past year. The 2014 budget that was set last July projected a $20,000 loss in the Manor’s operating funds in the 2014 fiscal year, which ends June 30, but in only six months that loss was already at $22,000 and climbing. The budget adjustment revised the projected loss from $12,000 to $44,000 for General Maintenance/Service Supplies and from $33,000 to $49,000 for Program and Oversight Salaries for the fiscal year. Councilman Bob Massa, a CPA, had advised Council in January that state law requires a budget adjustment when the budget veers from its projections by more than 5 percent.

Other revisions to the budget included: appropriation for Ground Maintenance was reduced from $8,000 to $2,500; General Maintenance/Major Repairs from $10,000 to $5,000 and Utilities from $22,000 to $14,000.

Council Sets Term Limits

By a 3-2 vote, Council also finalized an ordinance that sets term limits for the Mayor and Town Council members at two consecutive terms each.

New Rates for Manor

Council passed a resolution revising rental rates and charges for The Manor. Councilman Tom Utroska said he and the Director of Events at the Manor, Booth Chilcutt, have addressed the changes at length.

“Most of the rates are raised, but they are still lower than those at Saluda Shores, which is what we use as a basis for setting our prices,” Utroska said. “We have set a flat rate for local civic and community groups ranging from $35 to $60 per hour, based on a minimum of two hours’ usage and a maximum of four hours’ usage. These groups, as well as those who pay the rental rates, would also be charged extra for use of equipment such as table cloths, projectors, etc.”

Accommodations Tax Funds Awarded

Council voted on A-Tax Review Committee recommendations, awarding funds for those events that they feel bring visitors to Blythewood. Of the six applicants, the Diamond Invitational Baseball Tournament received the most at $15,000. The USC equestrian team, which won the 2014 SEC Championship at One Wood Farm on Saturday, received $5,000 and was earlier awarded another $5,000 for a total of $10,000. Three other groups/events that requested funding, Blythewood Chamber of Commerce ($20,000), Jon Godwin Racing Team ($10,000) and Blythewood Rodeo ($10,000), were denied their requests for funding. Blythewood Rodeo was asked to resubmit a more concise application and the Blythewood Chamber was asked to resubmit next year.

The awards are recommended by the A-Tax Committee based on how much business it is thought each group/event would bring to the town. Council then votes on the recommendations.

History Recognized

The Blythewood Historical Society kicked off the agenda Monday night to honor and thank the Blythewood Town government for 40 years of service. After historian and former Councilman Wade Dorsey presented a short history of the Town’s first election in 1974, Mayor J. Michael Ross asked those first elected officials and/or family members who were there to represent them, to stand and be recognized.

In other regular business, Council members voted to defer an ordinance to amend the Landscape & Tree Preservation Subchapter until they have more time to study it.

Council voted to go into executive session to discuss employment, appointment, compensation, promotion, demotion, discipline or release of an employee, a student or a person regulated by the public body or the appointment of a person to a public body. It was also to discuss negotiations incident to proposed contractual arrangements for the Doko Depot Restaurant. No vote was taken on either matter.

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