Council Grooms Budget

WINNSBORO – In spite of a marathon five and a half hour work session last week, County Council is still another two hours shy, at least, from combing through the proposed $26+million 2015-2016 budget. With another session scheduled for May 7 at 4 p.m., after The Voice went to press this week, Chairwoman Carolyn Robinson (District 2) said she hopes to trim what is already being billed as a “no tax increase” budget and perhaps turn that into a “tax decrease budget.”

“There is no millage increase,” Robinson told The Voice Tuesday. “We don’t plan on having one. After the first session, we actually cut some of the figures. We’ve cut a small amount of it.”

Robinson said the cuts weren’t drastic, describing them as “a $500 here, $600 there kind of thing,” and services and departments would not suffer. One reason for the flexibility, she said, is because revenue is projected to be up, from $25,711,549 last year to $26,153,115 this year.

In his budget letter to Council, Interim Administrator Milton Pope noted that while the general fund budget includes no tax increase, he is recommending an increase in spending. That spending, he said, is chiefly “one-time” spending “for a few major ticket items needed for County operations and public safety issues.”

One of those “major ticket” items is slated for the Detention Center, where Pope has recommended $500,000 for a new roof. And while the Detention Center requested an additional $117,000 for vehicles and a freezer with walk-in cooler, Pope is only recommended the freezer at $40,000.

The EMS Department requested more than $1 million in vehicles, equipment and a new substation in Ridgeway, the recommendation is for $735,000. That will cover the substation ($400,000), one ambulance, one set of extrication equipment and a training simulator.

The Recreation Department is getting slightly less than half of the $740,000 it requested.

“There may be certain cuts to some proposals,” Billy Smith (District 7) said this week. “There are some things written down that we want to go have a look at. Maybe there will be some type of millage decrease.”

 

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