Landrum considers budget with no tax increase this year

Published 4:50 pm Thursday, July 16, 2009

The City of Landrum has begun discussing its fiscal year 2010 budget. No tax increases are currently proposed but the city is discussing the need for rate increases in upcoming years.

Landrum council approved the first reading of the city&39;s new budget Tuesday. Council is required to approve a second reading as well as hold a public hearing before the budget is final.

Council members discussed the proposed $1.75 million budget, which is 3.4 percent less than the current year because of an expected decrease in revenues due to the economy.

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Landrum discussed the need in the near future to increase its millage rate, which has not increased since 1987. City administrator Steve Wolochowicz presented council with a no tax increase budget for next year, but cautioned that the city should prepare for the year 2013, when the city will receive its last payment of $50,000 per year from Spartanburg Water, which purchased Landrum&39;s water system several years ago.

Some council members said they do not want a tax increase next year because of the current recession, but others indicated perhaps it will be easier for residents if the increases were done gradually over the next few years. The city may be proposing an approximately three percent increase in its millage rate in 2011, which would mean about a $30 per year increase in property taxes for a $150,000 home. Some said it may be better to include a 1.5 percent increase in 2010, which would mean a $15 increase for a $150,000 home.

Changes to next year&squo;s budget will include the separation of the fire department budget as recommended by auditors. The fire department budget will stand on its own and not be a part of the city&squo;s general fund in 2010.

The city will also likely purchase a new patrol vehicle, with police chief Bruce Shelnut saying he may want to purchase an SUV that will better accommodate the department&squo;s K-9 dog.

Council will be discussing the budget until this fall. The city will have to approve a final budget by Sept. 30.