Pelzer presents draft budget to residents

0
179

Pelzer Town Council held an open forum with residents Tuesday to go through the 2022-23 budget line by line and allow public comments from those in attendance.
Mayor Will Ragland said Council has already had two workshops and gone over the budget several times before presenting the draft budget on Tuesday.

The new budget reflects the availability of funds including American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) COVID money, funds from the sale of the sewer system to ReWa. Ragland said the budget also reflects lower water bills as a result of the ReWa sale.

Pelzer is receiving $348,803 from ARPA and has $352,963 in the Cell Tower bank account. Funding from both is included in the budget and will go toward renovation of the Community Building which is estimated to be approximately $566,000. The budget includes funding for Preservation South to help with Historical Tax credits of up to 45 percent of the cost of the renovations.

The Town also received $600,000 from the sale of the sewer system to ReWa, which is being placed in the Town’s Reserve Fund Balance.

ReWa paid off the $2 million USDA grant/loan, which paid for recent upgrades and the annual payment of $95,000 is no longer an expense for the town. The ReWa payment of $196,800 is also no longer an expense for the town.

Before delving into the budget line by line, Ragland said, “It is not business as usual, there have been some changes.”

The budget reflects several money makers for the town including the rental of the old Cafe building for $250 month, gym rentals of $8,700 and $2,800 in proceeds from the Pelzer Christmas Market. It also includes a yearly payment of $2,500 from Hughes Development in place of taxes on the old BiLo (now Food Lion) building.

Revenues in the new budget also include $3,000 from the Pelzer Hospital bank account and $35,000 from the Community Building bank account.

General Fund
Total revenues for the General Fund are $926,799.
Expenses include: Salary and benefits $61,923; Council salaries $4,800; Mayor salary $2,400; Workers Comp $5,500; Office Expense $3,000;
The copier expense of $5,789 has been eliminated.
$2,000 has been added for travel and training expense;
Property/vehicle insurance is $16,000; Accountant Fees (and Audit) $13,000; Attorney $12,000; IT $5,636; Public Safety (ACSO) $89,180; Advertising/Public Notice $2,000; Duke Enjergy Street Lights $25,000; Utilities $25,000; Vehicle/Equipment expense $14,000; Vehicle repairs $6,000; Vehicle/Equipment fuel $8,000.
One of the highlights of the budget, according to the mayor, is the Community Building Renovation, budgeted at $566,400.
Historic renovation consulting/tax ccredit application $29,736; Hospital roof repair $3,000; Community cameras $14,500; Recodification of Ordinances $10,000; Contingency expense $0 and Capital Projects/Reserve $7,723.

Public Works Budget
Revenues for the Public Works Department budget reflect the sale of the sewer system to ReWa with a reduction in revenues of $245,000 which were collected to pay for loan, maintenance and repairs . The sale also eliminated revenue of $234,000 which was collected to pay ReWa.

Water Revenues are budgeted at $260,000. Trash revenues reflect a 50 cents increase each month in garbage fee for GFL. Revenues are budgeted at $69,768.
The town has reinstated late fees and penalties on water bill payments which are budgeted at $2,000 for the upcoming year. The fees were suspended during COVID. Deposits amounting to $12,260 were discontinued in preparation of selling the water system to Greenville Water.

Public Works Expenses include Salaries and benefits for two full time employees reduced from $118,477 to $90,657; SCDHEC fees $3,700; QS1 increased from $11,482 to $14,000;
SUEZ Water Tank Inspection $8,881; SC Rural Water Association Membership $950; Uniforms $500;Parts/Supplies/Repairs/Maint. for Water $10,000; Water Contract Agreement $50,000; Greenville Water Consumption $56,000; Greenville Water Samples increased to $2,400; Sanitation Contract with GFL increased from$61,737 to $69,000.
Two large expenditures, the Debt Service for the RD Sewer Project, budgeted at $95,000 and ReWa Payment of $196,800 are no longer budgeted due to the sewer system sale to ReWa.
Capital Projects reserve is $1,679. Total Public Works Budget amounts to $331,768.

Hospitality Tax
The Hospitality Tax budget reflects revenue of $32,000 and a transfer of $80,000 from the Hospitality Bank Account. Total budget is $112,000.
Hospitality Fund expenditures include $10,000 for Parks, $3,000 for Events; $4000 for Special Projects; $10,000 for Christmas Lights; $20,000 for a Master Plan for the Monkey Park, Hwy. 20 Ballfields and Field; $35,000 for Landscape design and implementation for Community Building and $30,000 for Paving for the Community Building.
Totals for the town’s three funds are General Fund $926,799; Public Works $331,768 and Hospitality $112,000. The total for the 2022-23 budget is $1,370,567.

The Town of Pelzer will hold first reading on the 2022-23 budget at the regular monthly Council meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9.
A special called meeting is scheduled for Tues, Aug 16 at 6 p.m. for public hearing and final reading on the budget.

As far as highlights of the new budget, Mayor Ragland said he is most excited about the full restoration of the Community Building to its historical integrity because it is an asset to the community and will be used. “It will bring life back to the Monkey Park,” he said. “Also reducing water bills and using funds from the sale of the cell tower to work for the desires of the residents.”

Another highlight for Ragland is “being able to save our historical structures.”
Ragland said of the town’s three historic properties, renovation of the Community Building is a priority because it produces revenue and he expects more with the added amenities and parking.

Future plans are to restore the Hospital Building for a Town Hall Office and more work on the Gym.