No public comment on Polk’s budget

Published 8:00 am Thursday, June 7, 2018

Commissioners set to approve 2019 budget June 18

COLUMBUS — After budget work sessions and a public hearing Monday, Polk County commissioners are set to approve the new budget for fiscal year 2018-2019 on June 18.

There were no public comments during the public hearing Monday, with minor changes made to the proposed budget during the work session. One change was to take out the county purchasing a new ambulance next fiscal year, as commissioners recently approved the new ambulance be purchased this fiscal year after finding savings in the purchase.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The budget is proposed with no property tax increases, but increases in fire tax for the departments of Tryon, Green Creek, Mill Spring and Saluda.

The Tryon Fire Department tax is proposed to increase 4 cents, from 6.35 cents to 10.35 cents; the Green Creek fire tax is proposed to increase 2 cents, from 4.46 cents to 6.46 cents; the Mill Spring fire tax is proposed to increase 1.5 cents, from 6.63 cents to 8.13 cents; and the Saluda fire tax is proposed to increase from increase 1.1 cents, from 9.4 cents to 10.5 cents.

There are no increases proposed for the fire departments of Columbus or Sunny View, nor any increases to the Harmon Field tax rate. 

“Thank you for all the hard work put in by staff,” said Commissioner Chair Jake Johnson. “We appreciate all you did. There was a lot of compromise that had to be done.”

Next year’s budget, which will begin on July 1, will include a one-time funding of Polk County’s After School program next year at $280,000. Polk County Manager Marche Pittman said that one-time funding from the county will give the school system time to seek grants, and the county can consider funding in future years if no other funding sources are found.

Next year’s tax rate will remain at 52.94 cents per $100 of property valuation.

The proposal is for the county to use fund balance to make major capital expenditures next year, as the county has practiced for the last several years.

Major capital expenditures include five sheriff’s office vehicles ($206,260); a truck replacement, track hoe, recycle bins, garbage cans and transfer station floor repair for the solid waste enterprise fund ($221,040); three vans and computer replacements for transportation ($16,800 county portion); a transport car, four pistols and vests for the jail ($42,500); computers, printers, tablets, scanners, server, storage building, signature pads and furniture for the department of social services ($16,825 county portion); a new vehicle and computer replacements for community development ($30,736); and expansion of the parking lot for Cooperative Extension ($13,800).

Personnel changes next year are proposed to include one new deputy for the sheriff’s office, increased as needed position for animal control, increased part-time hours for tourism, a full-time Foster Care Worker and added part-time money for DSS.

Polk County is also proposing to transfer $150,000 to capital reserve for future dam repairs, which will bring the total saved to approximately 1.05 million.

The county also plans to budget $95,000 for water line extensions, with $45,000 included for engineering fees and $50,000 remaining for future water line extension projects.

Commissioners plan to approve the budget on Monday, June 18, with the meeting beginning at 7 p.m. in the R. Jay Foster Hall of Justice, located on the second floor of the Womack building in Columbus.