Landrum approves $1.4 million 2011-12 budget

Published 5:48 pm Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Landrum City Council members approved the city’s final budgetary plan for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, making several cuts to the original proposal to make up for revenue shortfalls.
The final approved budget amounted to $1,431,915.
“[Revenues] were looking really good through the end of May,” said city administrator Steve Wolochowicz. “We had a little slowdown in June but we haven’t gotten a whole lot [of revenue] in July and August either.”
According to the most recent census numbers, many of the small towns in Spartanburg County dropped in population. Landrum had 2,472 residents in 2004 and only 2,376 in 2010.
“That amounts to about 3.9 percent, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but to us it’s a pretty significant amount,” he said. “I think people are just moving where the jobs are.”
What does that mean for the town’s budget? It means less revenue flowing in.
“I think the problem with property tax could be based on collections by the county,” Wolochowicz said. “Based on the last census, we saw a number of vacancies and foreclosures which are also having an effect.”
Property tax collections were down by about $30,000 compared to this time last year. But hospitality tax fees are up, Wolochowicz said.
The state legislature also cut the local government fund, which is a redistribution of state taxes for the third year. Before they started cutting, three years ago, Landrum received about $70,000 each budget year. Now the city sees a return of about $50,000 – a loss of $20,000 over the past three years.
Wolochowicz eliminated a plan to add a benefits package to one employee’s contract in the street maintenance department. The city also chose not to purchase a new police car unless funds from a grant come through and to shrink smaller line items such as tree trimming.
Landrum’s millage rate will remain at 73.9 mills and if revenues improve, the city council does have the option of instating a 3-percent cost of living contribution to staff.
“We’re just trying to chip away at some of that discretionary money,” Wolochowicz said.
The city’s rate of expenditures this year is below target, Wolochowicz said, which means he expects the city could still put funds back. He will provide a full summary of this past fiscal year to council in November, including information on what the city has been able to save despite tightening budgets.

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