City taxes will increase, based on budget passed Monday night
City Council adopts budget with a tax hike
Clinton City Council gave unanimous first reading approval Monday to a $29,996,175 budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, a $129,796 increase over the current budget that ends June 30.
Council held an extended budget workshop in April and a short workshop prior to Monday night’s meeting to finalize work on the new financial document.
The budget, which will be considered for final reading in June, includes a cost-of-living increase for city employees. The raises will range from 1% for employees making $50,000 or more to 2.5% for those making $30,000 or less.
Property taxes will go up by 2.2 mills, the amount allowed by state law (according to the Consumer Price Index). The city will use 29% of the Local Option Sales Tax Revenue to fund public safety training and equipment.
Electric rates will remain stable in the coming fiscal year, but water and sewer rates will be adjusted according to an rate restructuring study approved last year.
Business license rates will not increase but council voted to replace the current business license structure with a NASIC-compliant program that reduces the number of business classifications.
The new budget includes funding to address several deferred maintenance issues, including the Department of Public Safety building and some capital equipment replacement. Funds are also included to provide options for the construction of a fire substation near I-26, a requirement for lowering the city’s ISO rating.
The budget also includes the possibility that sanitation service may be outsourced during the coming fiscal year.
After a 40-minute executive session, council voted unanimously to commit up to $35,000 for an engineering study to determine the feasibility of the city buying water from the Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission when the LCWSC’s water treatment facility on Lake Greenwood comes online.
LCWSC said the city would have to agree to purchase water no later than July 2 to keep the project on schedule. If Clinton decides not to purchase water from LCWSC, the city will repay the agency for the cost of the engineering study.
Much of Monday’s two-and-a-half-hour meeting was taken with council hearing comments from Clinton residents – the vast majority of them speaking in favor of or against the second and final reading of a proposed special events ordinance.
The public’s comments dealt with the section of a ordinance that allows for the sale of beer and wine at certain city-sponsored events in a special “beer garden.”
Anyone wanting to sell alcohol at city events must apply for and receive a permit from the city manager’s office.
Twelve of the 18 speakers spoke in favor of the special events ordinance. Six were opposed.
Two other speakers asked council to finish the community center/city park project at the former Martha Dendy School building.
Council also recognized the Clinton Middle School and Clinton High School Science Olympiad teams and later voted to give the teams $5,000 from the city’s community assistance fund.