How to Make a Budget

This is a summary for the County budget for 2013-2014 and it shows how the Administrator and Council set a budget and how it should be done legally.

A Good Budget Document should:

• Include comprehensive information on all funds from all revenue sources – this should include revenue from V.C. Summer ($11,495,190.79), non-millage taxes (cars, trucks, etc.), fines and fees ($3 million);

• Include description of what dollars will “buy” along with the presentation of proposed expenditures;

• Provide a concise, non-technical overview of the entire budget through a budget message from the chief executive and through effective summaries;

• Last year’s actual expenditures, current year’s budget proposed budget for the coming year and coming year’s adopted budget from council.

• A simplified version of the budget should be provided to the public.

The South Carolina State Constitution requires a budget (6 months before the fiscal year) should be composed with an amount of money needed to operate the county.

The millage rate is then figured by subtracting the V.C. Summer, fines and fees from the budget to get a millage amount to balance the budget.

Fairfield County’s Administrator and Council figures the budget and sets the millage rate so the taxpayers pay for the entire amount, leaving the Administrator and Council $14,495,190.79 to spend out of the budget. Why should they need this extra money if budget has been set?

This is what our millage rate should have been according to the State Constitution:

The mill rate value was 127,427 and the tax payers had a millage rate of 178.77 to cover the budget of $22,780,152; however if the extra revenue is used this is what the millage rate should have been:

Budget for 2013-2014: $22,780,152

Less Fairfield County V.C. Summer Money: $11,495,190

Less Fees, Fines, and Other Taxes: $3,000,000

Amount needed to set millage: $8,284,961.21

Divided the amount needed by what the mill value is ($8,284,961 / 127,427) and the taxpayers’ millage rate should have been 65.02.

Over the last 12 years Fairfield County Council and Administration have spent over $100,000,000 out of the budget from SCANA. Where was the money spent?

J.R. Douglas

Winnsboro