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Public hearing held to adopt 2019-20 budget

A public hearing to adopt the fiscal year 2019-20 budget through ordinance number 05-19 was held on Thursday, July 11, at 5:30 p.m. at the American Legion Hall.

Present at the meeting were Mayor Todd Harrelson and council members, Joan Gause, Lewis Hardee, Mike Suggs and Jan Vescovi; Terrence Hardee was absent.  Department heads present were Brandon Harrelson, Loris Police Chief Gary Buley, attorney Kenneth Moss and city clerk Kenya Wright.

Harrelson brought the meeting to order with the tapping of the gavel.  He asked Lewis Hardee to give the invocation and lead the pledge of allegiance. 

Wright said, “The purpose of the hearing was to comply with the state law by holding a budget hearing for the fiscal year 2019-20.”  She continued, “The proposed budget covers the period beginning July 11, 2019, and ends June 30, 2020”.  The advertisement for the budget hearing was published in the Wednesday, June 26, edition of the Loris Scene; whereas Wright read the public notice for the record.

Wright stated the proposed budget is presented to council to approve favorably by the mayor and council.  The General Fund Budget is in the amount of $4,742,244 which is made up of the following departments:  mayor and council $44,506; administration $2,124,625; attorney $24,414; court $105,853; planning $97,775, police $936,087; fire $208,213; recreation $268,783; sanitation $391,305; street department $461,037; maintenance $79,646; Total General Fund Expenditure/Revenue $4,742,244.

She read the expenditures in the general fund consists of the following, personnel services which include salaries, workers compensation, FICA tax, retirement and health insurance.  Operating expenses include supplies, repairs and equipment rental and maintenance.  Contractual services include  auditing, municipal judge, public defender and other outside services, insurance on vehicles, equipment, personal property, tort liability, fidelity bonds and capital purchases such as vehicles and equipment.

Revenue sources to support the expenditures include but are not limited to real and personal property taxes, business licenses and hospitality fees, franchise fees, local government and state aide, MASC and set-off debt collections, solid waste services, court fines and forfeitures, fire impact fees, permits building and yard sales, fire contract, hard grant, insurance recoveries, FEMA reimbursement, donations and sponsorships and Horry County SRO.

The water and sewer fund budget totals $1,794,237 and is made up of the following departments, water department $771,826, sewer department $1,022,411 for a total of $1,794,237.  Expenditures consist of the same items mentioned in the general funds which include salary, FICA tax, retirement, worker’s compensation, health insurance, etc.  The revenue sources to support the expenditures are base charges sale of water, base charges sewer use charges, connection fees water and sewer, penalties and reconnection fees and impact fees for water and sewer. 

The total expenditure and revenue for general fund and water and sewer combined is $6,536,481.

Harrelson asked for public or press comments. Scott Harper stated he wanted to thank Wright for her dedication for going over and beyond in preparing the documentation to the press and council after having spent a day at the hospital; he thanked her for her hard work.  Jennifer  Boyd-Causey asked about the Wi-Fi taken off the budget in the police vehicles; Wright responded, “The two police cars that were purchased four or five years ago, one of the vehicles is what Chief Buley drives and another vehicle;” she continued, “those two were actually paid off, I think, in April 2019.”  Boyd-Causey asked about the volunteer fire department being paid twice a year and when will they be paid; Wright replied that there is no set date for the volunteers to be paid. Last year she believes they were paid on August 18 and again in December.  The reason for paying twice a year is that the firemen requested to receive checks twice a year; the fire department is paid $12 per call whether they are there one hour or a full day.   Wright further stated, “We did not want to write out a payment before this budget is approved.”

The public hearing was adjourned at 5:47 p.m.

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