News Column

Anderson County officials still have budget decisions to make

June 15, 2014

By Nikie Mayo, Anderson Independent Mail, S.C.

June 15--The Anderson County Council will revisit its budget discussions this week, with elected officials trying to determine how to handle nearly $3 million in changes that have been proposed for the 2014-15 financial plan.

Sheriff John Skipper projects needing $1,444,005 that the county had not anticipated he would use. The bulk of that money is coming from the sheriff's reserves. The rest could be generated by adjusting millage rates.

Other adjustments include adding a total of $40,730 to increase the salaries for two positions in the county's planning and community development division. Those two pay raises are beyond the across-the-board small percentage pay increases that have been proposed for all county employees. County finance manager Rita Davis said the $40,370 to be split between two jobs will make the salary in each one more comparable to what other areas are offering.

Another $168,340 would be divided among two things -- a web design consultant and a new phone system for the county. Interim administrator Rusty Burns has said the county's existing phone system has become increasingly less reliable, adding that the economic development office was without phone service several times this month.

"We don't need any of our county offices to be without phones, but we surely don't need our economic development office to be without them," Burns said.

Another increase, $292,765, is for roads and bridges projects that were approved in the current budget year, but that won't be completed or billed until the 2014-15 fiscal year that begins July 1.

Some of the proposed changes result in no net increase -- like redirecting money intended to buy a storage shed and using the same $7,000 to pay for a commercial washer and dryer for the animal shelter.

No votes on the 2014-15 proposed budget are scheduled for Tuesday's county council meeting, though the agenda indicates that Cindy Wilson will discuss the financial plan. Wilson, a longtime council member, previously proposed making more than $600,000 in cuts to Burns' recommended spending plan for the year ahead and then redirecting money to paving roads. But her proposal met resistance from her council colleagues.

The council is expected to schedule another budget workshop for sometime after Tuesday's meeting, but no date has been set.


What: Anderson County Council meeting

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: historic county courthouse on South Main Street in downtown Anderson

Call: council clerk, 864-260-4062


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Source: Anderson Independent-Mail (SC)

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