The draft budget includes new capital projects, a millage rollback and budget cuts.
The new county budget, which starts July 1, is just under $20.8 million, compared to a current budget of $21.6 million.
Budget planners are projecting a net decline in revenue of $1.4 million from 09-10 levels.
The bulk of the decrease comes from the implementation of reassessment, which diminishes property tax values by $1.1 million.
Second is a decline in the automobile taxes by an estimated $450,000.
The third factor dinging revenue is state budget cuts totalling more than $200,000.
When the county undertakes reassessment, as required by law every five years, there is usually new growth and increases in property values.
But the property values increases can not increase tax receipts creating a windfall for government, which leads to a rollback in the millage rate.
This year, the county is projecting a new growth rate of 1 percent, which equals $835,440.
The increase will equal a $6,266 increase in the value per mill taxed for county purposes, giving the county a tax base of $111,531,000 and a single mill value of $111,531. The mill rate is estimated at 136.5.
However, the county can choose to increase the millage rate collected to 137 mills to meet the budget, which is a 6.4 mill reduction or 4.4 percent from the current millage.
Like most budgets, employees account for most of the county budget, consuming 47.3 percent or $9.8 million. This amount includes payroll, retirement, social security, health insurance and $350,000 in merit pay increases for employees.
The next highest expenditure is for contracted services, which makes up 15.5 percent, or $3.2 million. This includes solid waste hauling, EMS services, fleet maintenance, recycling center staffing and 911 mapping.
The third highest expense for the county is contracted maintenance, which is 5 percent or $1 million of the budget. The contracted maintenance items range from the highest amount of $380,000 for roll-off trash containers to the fire siren lease on the Parr Building at $1,600.
Other line items are tax software, microfilming, cellular phones, law enforcement software and record checks, pest control, telephone maintenance, emergency radios, copiers, registration and election forms and supplies and landfill well monitoring.
The estimated amount for tort, property vehicle and workers compensation insurances cost the county $747,640, comprising 3.6 percent of the budget.
Lease purchase payments
The budget includes $622,782 for lease purchase payments on ambulances, rescue squad vehicles, fire trucks, the haz-mat truck, public works equipment and other items.
County leaders may move the payments to the debt levy portion of the budget, which would reduce the operating levy. But it would go toward the county’s borrowing power at that point, which is limited to 8 percent of the tax base.
The county will spend an estimated $555,006 for utilities next year. This is 2.6 percent of the budget.
With fuel costs on the rise, the county expects to spend $479,276 for gas and diesel — 2.3 percent of the budget.
The county will support outside agencies like Sister Care, Council on Aging, Soil and Water Conservation District, the medically indigent fund, the Solicitor’s Office, and hospital with $475,034 or 2.3 percent of the budget.
To feed and medically care for inmates in the next year is expected to cost $335,543 or 1.6 percent of the county budget.
The draft sets aside $251,000, or 1.2 percent of the budget, for road repairs.
Replacement cars for deputies add up to $175,000, or 0.8 percent of the budget.
Travel, training, etc.
The county expects to spend $177,740 for travel, training and subsistence, 0.9 percent of the budget.
One-time capital projects planned for account for $128,994 or 0.6 percent of the budget. This is a reduction from $462,003 spent last year. The money will be used for the upkeep of county buildings.
Maintenance of county buildings
Routine maintenance on county property is slated to cost $122,635, or 0.6 percent of the budget.
The total telephone expenses for the county are projected to be $117,242, or 0.6 percent of the budget.
General office supplies for the entire county are expected to be $113,327, or 0.5 percent of the budget.
The cost of renting offices for Clemson Extension and Voter Registration is set to be $80,760, or 0.4 percent of the new budget.
Mid-Carolina Commerce Park
The cost of lighting, irrigation, road maintenance, grass cutting, and plant maintenance and replacement at the new industrial park is expected to cost $40,000 or 0.2 percent of the budget.
New capital projects
Paying for capital projects will come through grants, bonds, borrowed money and from county savings.
The proposed projects include:
• A double basketball court built next to the new Helena Community Center. The project is projected to cost $98,355.
County Council Chair Henry “Buddy” Livingston said he felt the county should do a comprehensive recreation plan before building additional facilities.
• Plans to put an EMS station in the old Silverstreet Fire Station would cost $141,125.
Councilman Les Hipp said he would like to see the department be built closer to the Newberry city limits.
County Administrator Wayne Adams said the Silverstreet facility is already built and owned by the county, and would be much cheaper.
Councilman Bill Waldrop said it only takes the Silverstreet crew six minutes to get to Newberry from the Silverstreet station and would give better response times to Chappells, Stoney Hill and the Bush River areas from there.
Waldrop added that the station already has a generator and can be used as a shelter.
Hipp said he wanted to see statistics on the calls being answered from the temporary station before making a decision.
• Also, for a cost of $22,610, a helicopter pad is proposed to be built at the Chappells Fire Department.
Currently, helicopter pads are located at the Pomaria, Consolidated, Little Mountain and Fairview fire departments.
• A new public works complex for a total cost of $2.26 million is proposed for just behind the current facility on Highway 34.
The cost for the public works office would be $677,843, the access road to the facility would cost $232,901, a new vehicle maintence building at $466,689 and the cost of an animal shelter would be $878,756. Of this money $660,000 is expected to come from overruns in the current penny sales tax.