Pelzer Council takes first look at draft budget

By Stan Welch
The Pelzer Town Council met in a budget workshop last Thursday, where they got their first look at the draft version of the proposed  budget. Town clerk Cheryl Boudreau, with assistance from Appalachian Council of Governments (ACOG) representative Trey Eubanks, produced the balanced budget, which is subject to amendment at any time prior to the final vote, which is scheduled for June 28.
The public is invited to the first reading, slated for June 11, and to offer their comments. A public hearing will also take place just prior to the second reading.
The budget anticipates an increase in general fund revenues of almost $9000, due almost entirely to an increase of seven thousand dollars in franchise fees received by the town. The projected expenses for the general fund total $205,185, up almost $29,000. The total revenues matches the expenses precisely. That increase includes just over $11,000 in pay increases for employees, though the pay for the mayor and council members will be unchanged.
Mayor pro tem, presiding in the continued absence of Mayor Scott, asked if there was any money budgeted for recreation. Boudreau took the opportunity to chide the Council for the way funds generated by the recreation programs are handled, going so far as to tell them that if the manner in which funds are accounted for didn’t change, she would leave those duties to the council. “ That money is being handled inappropriately. I’m not about to go to jail over this.”
She went on to say that the Council should establish the fees for participation and that all revenues generated by those fees should be handled by the town. “We need to establish a clear paper trail. Councilman Eddie Waits agreed, saying that all funds need to be accounted for.
The review then moved on to the public works department, where the main feature reflected an increase in the garbage fee from seven dollars to ten dollars. Boudreau pointed out that the current fee does not cover the actual costs, which are $7.29 per month, per household. The increase would produce approximately $76,000 annually, including the monthly loss incurred under the current budget.
The total estimated revenues for the public works budget are $893,320, an increase of $128,000. Projected expenses for the department’s operations are a precise match. A lot of the increase results from a sizable increase ($125,000) in the reserves established in anticipation of  possible capital  projects. An additional $65,000 is budgeted for a contingency fund, an increase of sixty thousand dollars. A salary for a part time helper for Mark Vickery would add an additional $12,872.
The budget also reflects a reduction in the water contract agreement with Greenville Water of $44,000, and a cut in professional service (Goldie & Assoc.) of more than $43,000.
In the hospitality budget, a significant reduction ($14,880)in maintenance and beautification expenses accounts for the cutting of that budget from $44,132 to $30,000.