With 2 mill tax increase
By Stan Welch
Anderson County Council gave first reading approval to the 2015-2016 budget Tuesday night. The vote was taken based on very little real information about the budget, which promises to be the cause of some debate.
For starters, the budget, as proposed, will include a two mill tax increase, always a source of heat in any political setting. One of the mills will be used in the general fund budget, while the other is slated for use in debt service. Part of that debt service may be related to a proposed $15 million general obligation bond that is also proposed in the budget.
Other preliminary aspects of the budget include an additional $3.5 million to be put towards road repairs and paving, while $640,000 would be directed towards employee raises. Members of Council, most notably District Two Councilwoman Gracie Floyd, pointed out that competition for public employees is increasing, especially as government involves more and more highly technical skills.
The other big topic on Tuesday night’s agenda was the proposed Highway 81 overlay plan. In January of this year, the Council approved a resolution authorizing the study and preparation of a plan designed to shape and control the growth along the Highway 81 corridor beginning at Reed Road to the south and extending to Long Road on one side of Hwy. 81 and to Scott’s Bridge Road on the other side.
The proposed plan will address such broad issues as commercial development within the area, and as specific as the types of signage and lighting that would be allowed. The overlay is intended to encourage and direct compliance with the applicable aspects of the county’s comprehensive land use plan.
That land use plan reveals that forty seven per cent of the approximately eleven hundred acres included in the proposed overlay area are used as residential and agricultural lands. Twenty two per cent is under commercial use and sixteen per cent is public or semi-public use.
The specter of the crowded and often chaotic Woodruff Road corridor in Greenville was raised often by various members of Council. The stated purpose of the overlay is “to enhance the corridor to promote Anderson County while creating a consistent and efficient pattern of development.”
Second and third readings are scheduled for later this month, and at the first Council meeting in June, on the second. The required public hearing was held Tuesday night, and drew little comment, and no opposition, from the public. There has been a series of meetings held to receive public input, and fifty six written survey forms were returned to the County planning office.