West Pelzer approves first reading on $1.15 million budget

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The Town of West Pelzer approved first reading on their 2019-20 budget Tuesday. The $1,115,500 budget is almost the same as last year but shows a slight decrease, according to Mayor Blake Sanders. General Fund Revenues and Expenses amount to $429,304; Water/Sewer Fund Revenues and Expense are $650,196 and Hospitality Budget is $36,000.
Sanders said the focus of the budget is to continue to provide a high level of service for traditional services while building on the successes of previous budget years. The town’s three major services are Administration, Police and Public Works. Sanders said the goal is to maintain the quality and level of service, improve the town’s financial position and embrace equitable and sustainable funding for those services.
Sanders said highlights include: For the General Fund, stabilized police protection by scheduling part-time officers; Decrease violent and non-violent crime; increase the fund balance with conservative spending. The general fund currently has approximately $85,000 in the fund balance.
In Public Works, Phase two of the sewer rehab project is completed and hiring two regular, part-time employees working less than 20 hours each week. The Public Works department fund balance has approximately $20,000 in it.
Hospitality highlights include providing funding for eight events through the year and the Christmas parade. It is funded by a 2 percent tax on prepared foods and brings in about $36,000.
Property taxes and  auto taxes will remain the same, there will be no increase in the millage rate, currently at 94.
Sanders said all town employees will get a two percent cost of living raise, but there will be no change in the budget figures to cover it due to other changes such as working fewer hours.
Property tax collections are expected to increase from $124,406 to $130,000 based on new homes that have been built in West Pelzer recently.
There will be no increases expected from either Greenville Water of REWA and no increase for citizens, he said.
Sanders said the sale of the sewer system to REWA is still be looked at. He said RDA and USDA are looking at the transfer and the loans and grants associated with it.