By Stan Welch
Anderson County residents will see increases to various millages and fees as a result of the narrow passage of the 2013-2014 budget. The total budget, including the enterprise funds which are supposed to be self sustaining, is approximately $134 million. Of that amount, $60 million is allocated to the general fund for day to day operations.
The sewer enterprise fund currently drains almost $3 million a year from the general fund, due in large part to an agreement with the city of Anderson forged years ago by then county administrator Joey Preston. That agreement placed an enormous debt load on the county, which incurs most of the annual deficit.
District Seven Councilwoman Cindy Wilson, who has consistently taken issue with the sewer fund and its operation, led the charge to increase the base sewer rate from $6.95 per thousand gallon by an additional fifteen dollars for the county’s 4000 sewer customers.
Commercial and industrial customers will also pay an additional fifteen dollars per 400 gallons per day allotted to them. The increase was touted as a huge step towards making the sewer fund solvent and reducing the drag on the general fund.
Solid waste fees will also go up by $4.55 per month. Again, the goal is to make that fund more self sustaining. A half mill increase to the millage dedicated to funding TriCounty Technical College was also approved.
To partially counter the increase, the countywide levy was decreased by one mill. The budget also included a one time five hundred dollar raise for county employees making less than fifty thousand dollars a year. The raise, which will be absorbed by payroll takes, is little more than a gesture. It was proposed by Councilwoman Gracie Floyd.
The budget split the Council 4-3, with Council members Wilson, Eddie Moore and Francis Crowder opposing the budget, while Floyd, Councilmen Dunn, Allen and Waters approved it.