By Stan Welch
The Piedmont Public Service Commission gave first reading approval Monday night to a budget that involves no tax increase, while also providing a three per cent raise for the department’s fourteen fulltime employees.
The budget would also provide for an additional firefighter, bringing the department to full strength, at fifteen full time firefighters. The only significant change in the budget since it was first presented to the Commission at a budget workshop last week was the transfer of $4000 from the line item for equipment to the line item for insurance expenses. The transfer resulted in no increase to the budget.
Another factor in the budget includes a significant increase in the amount of tax revenues from Greenville County. “Greenville County and the South Carolina Department of Revenue discovered that there was a problem with the amount of revenues we were getting,” said Deputy Administrator Craig Lawless. “The new numbers are much better and we are basically satisfied with what we are scheduled to receive.”
Chairman Ed Poore said that he first viewed the proposed budget as ambitious, but the revised revenues from Greenville County “ leave me very happy with this budget” said Poore.
The Commission will meet May 20 at seven p.m.to give the budget second reading approval. There are three readings required to adopt the budget, including one public hearing, which will be held at the June 17 meeting of the Commission. Amendments can be offered to the budget at any of those meetings.
The Commission also learned that the state has committed to providing $16,000 of the almost $30,000 needed to pave the upper parking lot at the community building. Chief Wallace explained that the PARD funds are guaranteed but the remainder will not be accessible until 2014. “If we don’t get the second grant, we can pave part of the lot with what we have. We have to use the money by a certain date or we lose it.”
Lawless explained that the Commission has to spend the money up front, including a local match of $3300 before the state reimburses them for the project.