Winnsboro Budget Clears First Reading

WINNSBORO (May 26, 2016) – Town Council on May 17 passed first reading on their 2016-2017 general fund and utilities budgets, both of which grew by more than $1 million.

The general fund weighs in at $5,539,335 for the coming fiscal year, up from $4,284,921 last year. The utilities budget for 2016-2017 comes in at $16,806,976, up from $15,534,364 last year. The utilities budget also includes an increase of 1.4 percent, or .065 cents, in the wholesale water rate. Effective July 1, wholesale water sold to the Town of Ridgeway and Mid-County Water will go for $4.683 per 1,000 gallons.

The general fund budget also includes a 2.3 percent cost of living pay increase for Town employees, Council said during their May 10 work session. And, as Council ponders the fate of the Mt. Zion Institute school buildings, they have budgeted an additional $200,000 on top of the $100,000 already in the pipeline for the potential demolition of the structure.

Council had to cope with approximately $200,000 less in Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) funds after the closing in January of Walmart, the fund’s largest contributor. However, Town Manager Don Wood said during the May 10 work session that the Town’s remaining share of the fund was still greater than their millage rate and property owners would still receive tax relief.

The Town’s millage rate of 38.46, Wood said, amounts to approximately $331,000, while the Town’s share of the LOST fund is around $351,000.

Expenditures

Expenditures for Council’s 2016-2017 budget are down slightly from last year to $231,730 from $237,918. The Town Manager’s budget edged up to $315,463 from $309,224. Vehicle repair (up $150), equipment service contracts (up $1,000) and professional services (up $5,850) account for the largest shifts in the Town manager’s budget.

Municipal Court expenditures are up slightly to $156,666 from $152,950, while expenditures for the Municipal Building rose to $33,981 from $32,100. Maintenance Shop expenditures fell from $95,041 last year to $73,632 in the coming fiscal year, while the budget for the swimming pool is also down somewhat from $44,108 to $44,077.

Public Safety expenditures are up somewhat to $1,597,730 from $1,586,710, while Streets and Sanitation expenditures are down to $622,885 from $672,165. Building, Zoning and Planning expenditures are also down to $73,920 from $82,140.

Utilities

Natural gas revenues are projected to rise in the coming fiscal year from $4,395,849 to $4,505,901, while revenues from the sale of electricity are projected to rise from $6,950,947 to $7,248,092.

Water revenues are also expected to rise from $2,986,922 to $3,726,922. Sewer revenues are also on the rise, from $1,200,646 to $1,326,061.

Natural gas expenditures are down in 2016-2017, from $3,905,220 to $3,470,762. Expenditures for the Electric Department are also down, from $6,653,483 to $6,623,857. Water expenditures are on the uptick, from $2,110,327 to $2,382,196.

Expenditures at the water plant are up from $744,759 to $773,864, while sewer expenditures are up from $656,663 to $705,352. Total sewer plant expenditures are up from $505,551 to $584,447.

Council will hold second reading at their June 7 meeting.