Saluda approves new 2017-2018 budget with no increases

Published 10:00 pm Monday, June 19, 2017

SALUDA-The City of Saluda adopted its new budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 last week that keeps the same tax rate and has no increases in services.

The Saluda Board of Commissioners met June 12 and adopted the new budget following a public hearing.

The city’s total tax rate will remain at 60.5 cents, which includes 54 cents per $100 of property valuation for the city’s general fund and 6.5 cents for the fire department.

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City finance officer Julie Osteen said the revenue neutral tax rate for the city would have been 55.79 cents per $100 of valuation, but the city did not elect to go revenue neutral for the new budget.

The city’s total budget is for $1,920,565, which includes $1,160,365 in the general fund and $760,200 in the enterprise fund, or water and sewer fund. The general fund is expected to receive $1,029,629 in revenues but to spend $1,160,736 so the city could have to appropriate fund balance of $130,736 to make up the difference.

Osteen said the general fund includes debt service payments for the city hall/police department renovation.

The city’s total debt service is budgeted at $40,000. The city also budgeted $25,000 in contingency.

Administration is budgeted at $400,732; police at $324,395, fire department at $73,000; transportation at $132,950; Sanitation at $97,200; Powell bill at $30,434 and cultural and recreation at $36,654.

The city budgeted a three percent cost of living increase for all employees as well as a longevity pay for employees.

The police department is budgeted for a fourth vehicle to provide all officers with an on-duty vehicle.

The water and sewer department was also budgeted to receive an additional employee next year.

Resident Nettie Sweet asked if there was funding to finish painting the library next fiscal year. Commissioners said there is some money to finish painting the windows and other repairs. Commissioner Stanley Walker said there is a line item for such items at $10,000.

Commissioner Carolyn Ashburn asked if some of that funding will be for the library roof that needs to be replaced. Osteen answered no.

Saluda Mayor Fred Baisden said the city had the library roof patched and fixed with contractors saying the city could get 3-5 years out of it, “so we need to start looking forward.”

A member of the audience asked if there is money to finish the sidewalk problem where the creek runs underneath it downtown.

Baisden answered no, saying the city saved that money out of Powell bill funding to do repairs that have been made. Baisden said over the last year the city didn’t have a severe winter so it had money left out of Powell bill funding.

“If we don’t use Powell bill money for storms then we can use that for sidewalks and streets,” Baisden said.

Saluda commissioners set a special meeting for Monday, June 26 at 7 p.m. to approve necessary budget amendments for the current fiscal year.

The city’s new fiscal year begins July 1.