Pelzer budget reflects increase in revenues

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By Stan Welch
During a public hearing on the proposed 2018-19 budget, attended by one citizen, Pelzer Town Council explained a number of the more significant changes in the proposed budget.
Among those changes is a projected $21,000 increase in general fund revenues, based on an increase of twelve thousand dollars in rental income, four thousand in franchise fees, and six thousand in revenues from the community building.
The largest increase in revenues is projected for the public works revenues. The budget estimates an increase in revenue from water billings of approximately $63,000. When asked to explain such an increase, Pelzer Mayor Roger Scott stated that the cause is that all water meters in the town will be properly and thoroughly read from now on. He elaborated further on the matter during the regular council meeting that followed the public hearing. (See story elsewhere in this issue.)
In general fund expenses significant savings were also budgeted. The salary and benefits costs for administrative personnel were cut by more than twelve thousand, to $32,000 annually. The cost for the town’s street lights were cut by $9,000; a savings that town clerk Cheryl Boudreau said came from the actual costs being provided. Part of the savings were negated by a six thousand dollar increase in professional fees; in this case for the accountants who did the town’s audit. On the whole, general fund expenses were cut by more than $9,000.
Salary costs for the public works department were also cut by $25,000, as a result of the town severing the agreement with West Pelzer to combine their respective departments. The town has a single public works employee who makes thirty six thousand dollars a year, according to the budget document. Utilities for the public works department were also cut by twenty five thousand dollars, an amount that was explained by Cheryl Boudreau who said simply, “The new figures are the actual figures.”
Forty thousand dollars was budgeted to pay Goldie and Associates for four months of consulting on the town’s infrastructure issues. Among those issues is the installation of water meters.
Mayor Scott reported that when the agreement with West Pelzer ended, Pelzer did not own the software to electronically read the meters; nor did they have the twenty thousand dollars needed to purchase the software. So they exchanged the electronic meters for the conventional mechanical ones. Scott said the exchange rate was three to one.
An increase in the sanitation contract of more than nine thousand dollars will cause the town to pay $7.29 per customer, while billing them for seven dollars. Currently, the town is absorbing that difference.
The total operating budget shows revenues of $1,005,331 and expenses of $1,006,041.
Despite the numerous changes, the budget adopted Monday night is essentially the same as last year’s budget. Representatives of both the Municipal Association of South Carolina and the Appalachian Council of Governments advised the council to retain last years budget and simply amend it where needed.