By Betsy Finklea
A public hearing on the 2010-2011 proposed Dillon County budget will be held on August 11th at 4 p.m. at the Dillon County Administrative Building. The total projected revenues and expenditures for the 2010-2011 budget are $16,331,108. This is a decrease of 2.7 percent or $456,608 from last year’s budget of $16,787,716. The estimated millage for the operating budget of 113 mills is expected to generate $4,721,000. The millage for bond indebtedness of 20.5 mills will generate $1,050,000. At the public hearing, citizens can make comments or submit written comments about the budget for the council to consider. The proposed budget does not include a millage increase and does not include an increase in any fees at the time of this report. The Dillon County Council has held workshops so far to discuss the 2010-2011 budget. Another was scheduled for Monday, but it was to take place after press time. Budget Workshop #1 At the first meeting, County Treasurer Jamie Estes said the proposed budget had about a $40,000 deficit. Estes said she felt the council could hit their target without a millage increase. With state limitations, all the council could put on is four tenths of a mill. The council was given the requests from the departments, and the recommendations. County Council Chairman Macio Williamson said right not it is estimated that it will cost about $300,000 to fix the roof on the Dillon City-County Complex building. The Dillon County Recycling Center needs some roof work, and it is also under consideration to put a Butler building at the landfill and move recycling there. Williamson said some departments had requested pay increases. “We’ve got a full plate whether we like it or not,” said Williamson. “We’ve got to watch our pennies right now.” “It may not be right, but it’s going to be tight,” Williamson said. Williamson also discussed the possible re-location of the recycling center to the county landfill. Williamson raised the issue about how effective it was going to be to have recycling at the landfill in a Butler building if DHEC comes in and shuts the landfill down. There were also questions raised about whether people would travel out to the landfill to use the recycling center. Councilman Harold Moody said there were many department requests to take a look at. Williamson asked when they can start advertising for a finance director. Estes said if they chose to do this they would have to make cuts in other areas. Williamson said they need to advertise as this is a recommendation from the budget committee so the council can start watching the dollars rather closely. Councilman Bobby Moody said they needed a third engineer at the Lake View Fire Department to get the ISO down. Councilman Aron Gandy said Latta still had one engineer, and he wanted to know when they were going to get their second one. It is in the current budget, but has not been filled. Gandy also said they paid $600,000 for property at Hwys. 38 & 917, and he wanted to know when it was going to be certified and when it was, what they were going to do there. Administrator David Mobley said he was not working there when the process was started but they would try to get an industry there. Gandy went on to talk about unfinished projects such as the Bingham Fire Department which is supposed to have come from the capital projects money. There was discussion on adding $5 to the fire fee, and the need for more fire hydrants. Williamson said that he thought all pay raises should be tabled at this time. Estes said that overall Dillon County was in good fiscal standing. There is money in the bank, and they have not had to do tax anticipation notes like some of their neighbors. They decided to have another workshop to discuss the budget further. Budget Workshop #2 At a second budget workshop, the discussions continued. One topic was how to make up the approximately $40,000 deficit. Williamson asked how much they were paying the lobbyist in Columbia. The answer was $42,000. Another item was $31,000. Mobley said this included $27,000 to replace his car which has 108,000 miles on it and $4,000 for a copier. They also discussed requested salary increases. Estes said there were some things they had no control over such as health insurance and utilities. B. Moody suggested an across the board cut of two percent. H. Moody questioned why the request for the detention center was $160,000 when they spent $96,000 last year. After H. Moody and others pointed out some other things, H. Moody said “there is fluff in this budget.” It was also noted that the Development Board budget was increasing $45,000 over the budget last year. Budget Workshop #3 At a third budget workshop, Treasurer Estes said the discussed changes had been made and a two percent across the board cut had been taken. This two percent cut does not affect salaries, benefits, utilities, or signed contracts. The budget is balanced. There is no increase in fees. The extra fire engineer in Lake View was funded. Administrator Mobley said a great deal of hard work had gone into the budget. Mobley said there were no raises, but they would look at that again mid-year and see how the money is flowing. Budget Workshop #4 A fourth budget workshop was scheduled for Monday, August 9th. Due to the fact that it was before press time, it is not reported here. Check www.thedillonherald.com for details.