By Stan Welch
Pelzer Town Council recently looked at the 2021-22 draft budget during a workshop.
A public hearing on the proposed budget will be held this Friday, June 4.
In the general fund, the proposed revenues are budgeted at $186,532; approximately five thousand dollars less than last fiscal year. That partly reflects an absence of rental income from the community building, which will be undergoing major renovations, and unavailable for use to the transfer of thirteen hundred dollars from the general fund for town activities to the hospitality tax fund.
General fund expenses, as presented, reflect two significant changes. The arrangement with the ACSO to provide off duty deputies to patrol the town will be reduced from seven eight hour shifts each week to five six hour shifts, if the proposed budget is adopted. That change will reduce the amount spent on patrol coverage by almost exactly twenty thousand dollars. According to Mayor Will Ragland, those funds will be used to give raises to town clerk Cheryl Boudreau and her part time assistant. That line item in the proposed budget goes up from $49,224 last year to $70,902. The increase includes the associated rise in benefits and insurance.
The expenses matched the revenues exactly.
In the public works budget, revenues are anticipated to increase by just under ten thousand dollars, while revenues from the sewer department are expected to drop by almost twenty thousand dollars. The fee for trash pickup will increase to $8.50 a month. Ragland explained that the town’s residents had expressed a desire to have two special pickup days each year, when large objects could be disposed of. “This additional fifty cents a month will cover that additional cost.”
In the public works expenses salaries and benefits for the town’s three full time employees will rise from $77,297 (for two employees last year) to $118,477 in the coming year, if the proposed budget is adopted. It was also announced that the fees for water and sewer taps on new construction will be $1300 and $1000, respectively.
Again, the revenues and expenses matched precisely.
A number of line items in the hospitality tax fund were unfunded; a situation partly explained by Ragland that several major transactions that are looming, such as the sale of the water and sewer systems, the sale of the cell tower property and the reception of more than a half million dollars in federal COVID relief could and would completely change things, and alter the budget. “The total of those potential transactions is over a million dollars,” said Ragland. “Obviously, that would be a total game changer.”
A small number of attendees tried to ask questions of the council, but Ragland explained that work sessions are not designed for public input. The residents left and hung around in the parking lot for the remainder of the meeting.