NEWBERRY COUNTY — Five amendments will be created for the fiscal year 2017-18 operating budget.
These amendments include poll worker pay increase, emergency equipment rolling stock purchases, use of bonded indebtedness to pay for capital projects, pay increase for all county employees and cutting $70,000 for the Newberry Museum.
These amendments will be presented to Newberry County Council before the budget is approved, but they may not necessarily be approved by council.
The first amendment would be for the poll workers’ pay increase. The Election Commission asked Council for a $20 increase in pay for poll workers for the June 2018 primary. The cost of this increase for 131 poll workers is approximately $3,000.
The emergency equipment rolling stock purchase amendment would be adding $500,000 per year in new lease-purchase expenditures. This strategy moves lease purchasing to a “steady state” of $530,000 per year in lease payments, which would equal to 4.1 mills at today’s mill value. This would allow for the purchase of emergency service needs at big costs, such as fire tankers.
The third amendment would be the use of bonded indebtedness to pay for capital projects.
“Rather than utilizing cash reserves to meet a number of expenditures proposed in the fiscal year 2017-18 budget, it is suggested that the County’s bonded indebtedness levy be used instead to meet these costs,” County Administrator Wayne Adams said.
The specific expenditures involved are transfer station (scale house) at $60,000, IT server room at $30,000, DHEC/DSS building improvements at $54,000, Old Jolly Street Road Bridge at $94,422, Mid-Carolina Commerce Park irrigation at $30,000, removal of Public Works storage tank at $150,000, Mid-Carolina Commerce Park site prep at $320,000 and Detention Center improvements at $500,000. This would total $1,238,422.
“At an interest rate of three percent the annual amortization for this borrowing would be about $260,000 or approximately two mills. To offset this millage increase, Santee Cooper would agree to push out principal indebtedness on the Santee Cooper loans ($1.2 million for the speculative building in the Mid-Carolina Commerce Park) five additional years,” Adams said. “Otherwise, repayment of principal on the speculative building would begin two years hence.”
The next amendment would be to remove the $70,000 allocated to the Newberry Museum. Councilman Kirksey Koon did not believe that the county should use property taxes to fund an employee to run the museum.
“It is not going to open for two more years, why are we going to fund it now, why don’ they come to us a few years from and, and ask for additional funding,” he said.
The final amendment would be to give county employees and one and a half pay increase.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.