Anderson County approves budget with no millage increase

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Includes additional Resource Officers

By Stan Welch
Anderson County Council held a special called  meeting Tuesday night to give first reading  to the proposed budget for fiscal year 2017-2018.
The highlights of the budget document included the announcement that there is no expected millage increase in the general fund, despite the recommended addition of thirteen positions, at a projected cost of $747,158, and a total of one and a half million dollars in employee raises and incentive based pay adjustments. It has been several years since employees received any significant raises.
There will also be an additional eleven school resource officers, which will be funded by the school districts. The additional officers are the result of the school shooting in Townville last year.
While the general fund millage will remain steady, there is a total of 2.9 mills increase projected in the tax levy. Two tenths of a mill will be allocated for debt service to meet general obligation bond payments; while an additional 1.1 mill would be used in capital projects, largely designed to meet the challenges of an aging fleet of vehicles and other equipment. Some needed improvements to various county buildings would also be included.
The levy to the Tri-County Technical College would be increased by 1.1 mills to fund the County’s proportionate share of the debt service incurred by the new Student Success Center. That share is fifty per cent.
A half mill would be added under the proposed budget to the EMS levy to meet the obligations of the EMS providers and the terms of a new medical  control contract, which is currently being negotiated with the EMS providers. Despite a study of the county’s emergency medical services that has lasted for several months, no change of responsibility or structure within the system has been enacted. Services, as currently provided, will be extended for a full year.
The result of the proposed increases in the tax levy would result in an additional $11.60 in the taxes on a one hundred thousand dollar home; or half that amount on a home under the homestead exemption.
The special called meeting was held to get the process started, and on schedule for completion by June 30. Two more readings and a public hearing are required to approve the budget. Amendments can and likely will be made, although there are currently no budget workshops scheduled. District Two Councilwoman Gracie Floyd had asked that such workshops be scheduled, but she has cancelled those, and it is unclear whether she will reschedule, or simply meet with the various departments to gather information.