Town passes $1.5 million budget

BLYTHEWOOD – Town Council unanimously passed final reading of a budget that, at $1.533,360, is slightly less than last year’s $1,596,679 budget.

This budget comes with a 3 percent cost of living allowance for employees. However, Town Administrator Gary Parker said the actual COLA for the Town’s employees will weigh in at 1.7 percent this year.

Parker pointed out that Accommodations Tax and Hospitality Tax revenues to date continue to be good which, he said, allows the town to transfer some of those funds to the Enterprise Fund (Manor), which he said is justifiable due to the increased patronage of Blythewood restaurants resulting from Manor events.

“Even with this transfer of $82,244 of the Hospitality-Tax to the Manor, we still have funding for Town events like the S.C. Diamond Invitational baseball tournament, the Christmas Parade and other events,” Parker said.

“Funding for community events amounts to over $166,000. If all of that funding isn’t needed, the unused amounts can roll over to next year’s fund balances,” Parker said.

The budget also includes funding for a major Town and Midlands Council of Government (COG) project.

“We are including matching funds of $50,000 for the study of how to improve traffic at Blythewood Road, Langford Road and Main Street,” Parker said. “That study possibly will be completed the first half of 2018.”

The budget includes a Capital Project Budget for the construction of the amphitheater in the park which will be funded by donations that include a $125,000 contribution from Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union, a $75,000 grant from Central Midlands Community Foundation and Hospitality Tax funds. This construction project will go into FY 2018 and funds have been budgeted for that portion of the cost that hasn’t yet arisen Parker said.