Piedmont approves budget with no tax increase

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By Stan Welch
Following a public hearing on the matter, at which one citizen spoke, the Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners gave final approval to the budget for fiscal year 2020-2021 Monday night. The budget, which includes no millage increase actually shows small surpluses in each of the three areas that it covers. Charlene Spelts spoke glowingly about the fire department’s performance, and wholeheartedly supported its efforts to increase training.
Chief Tracy Wallace explained that some adjustments were made, with funds being moved to different line items, in order to make the fire department’s salaries and benefits more competitive. “Retention is a problem , especially for smaller departments. We found ourselves moving in the direction of becoming a training department, where we would train guys up and get them certified, and then they would take better jobs at other departments. That just wasn’t acceptable to us, so we worked very hard with the commissioners to bring the lower end of the scale up, while the upper end of the scale flattened out a bit.”

An example of the costs of providing such benefits is readily apparent in the $188, 250 the department budgeted for health insurance costs this coming year. The total budget for the fire department is $1,512,974, with health insurance consuming approximately twelve per cent of that amount. Of that total amount, Greenville County generates $1,312,520. Salaries and fire runs account for an additional expense of $805,709. A surplus of $126.00 is reflected in the fire department’s budget.

The lion’s share of the lights operations budget is eaten up by the power bill, not surprisingly. $24,400 of the $27,915 budgeted goes to Duke Power, with a miniscule $65.00 surplus. The recreation budget totals $58,072 and shows a surplus of $84.oo

The Commission does not meet in July, The next meeting will be August 17 at 7p.m. The department will be holding a cookout to honor Dusty Allen, who is retiring after 28 years of service to the department.