County Lowers Millage Rate

WINNSBORO – County Council unanimously gave the OK to a resolution Tuesday night establishing the millage rate for the 2014-2015 budget, reducing the County’s millage rate by 4.8 mills.

“What that means for a $100,00 home that’s an owner-occupied home, that’s going to be a reduction of nearly $19.20,” Milton Pope, Interim County Administrator said. “We’ve been able to fund those major items needed in our County operations and I think we are adjusting and right-sizing our operations to make sure we are efficient and effective.”

Pope said his staff was planning to recommend to Council for the next budget year setting millage rates in September instead of setting those rates during the normal budget preparation period.

“You do have better numbers after a lot of the tax numbers and a lot of the numbers from the Department of Revenue come in late at the end of the fiscal year,” Pope said.

After the meeting, Pope added that the next budget would be prepared using an estimate for the millage rate, which he said presented no specific challenges. The millage rates would be locked in well before the first tax bills go out in October of 2015.

Ordinances

An ordinance to restore the District 5 voting lines cleared public hearing and second reading Tuesday night, with the final reading set for a June 5 special Council meeting. The District 5 lines budged slightly with the 2011 redistricting process, shifting two School Board members into District 6 and leaving District 5 without representation. A bill passed by the General Assembly in February corrected the shift, but only for the School District. That left a School Board member serving in District 5 while residing in a District 6 County Council district. After the bill was passed, it was determined that only County Council could correct County Council voting lines. The State Budget and Control Board accepted responsibility for the muddled lines last month and recommended that Council make the necessary corrections.

An ordinance to rezone less than an acre of land at 785 Peays Ferry Road from R-1 (Single Family Residential) to R-2 (Inclusive Residential) passed third and final reading without dissent. The property is owned by Thomas and Paula Gaston.

Council also held first reading on a pair of ordinances to expand the County’s I-77 Corridor Regional Industrial Park agreement to include property owned by University Residences Columbia LLC and property owned by PTI Plastics & Rubber, Inc.

“Fairfield County participates in a multi-county park agreement with Richland County and when we have potential industrial investment we partner in, there is a percentage of proceeds that go to Richland County,” Pope said, “but Fairfield County is a major recipient also with our relationship with Richland County where industries are located in Richland County.”

Pope said that details of the amendments would be included in the second reading of the ordinances.

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