Walterboro officials work their way through budget plan

by | May 9, 2019 5:00 am

Last Updated: May 8, 2019 at 12:22 pm

Walterboro City Council is working its way towards finalizing the 2019-2020 General and Enterprise funds.
During a Finance Committee meeting on April 30, Walterboro City Manager Jeff Molinari told council that city officials drafted a proposed General Fund budget of $7,208,360 and an Enterprise Fund budget of $4,480,100 for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Both figures represent an approximate $200,000 increase over the current fiscal year.
Molinari said during the course of the current fiscal year, the city has seen “modest increases” in the property tax revenue, sales tax receipts and business license fees.
Currently, the city’s proposed budget does not require an increase in the city’s ad valorem property tax millage, business license fees or water rates.
The proposed budget contains a one-percent increase in the city’s contribution to the South Carolina State Retirement Fund.
Approximately two years ago, state officials established a series of increases local governments would have to pay to assist the state in addressing a shortfall in the retirement fund. The city had to provide a two-percent increase in the retirement fund contribution in the first year of a five-year adjustment, followed by four years of one-percent increases.
Molinari also pointed out that the General Fund budget provides a one-percent cost-of-living adjustment for city employees. Since 2014, the city’s budget has provided employees a cost-of-living raise.
As the city prepares for the opening of the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary’s Discovery Center this summer, city officials placed an additional $50,000 in the Parks Department’s proposed budget to cover the new center’s operational costs.
Molinari said city officials plan to use the rest of this year and the first half of 2020 to make an assessment of the long term operational needs of the center. Among the things the city will be considering will be the possible hiring of a part-time employee within the Parks Department to handle the maintenance of the center, amphitheater and grounds.
Another possibility the city will consider will be hiring a second part-time employee to serve as the discovery center’s events coordinator.
The city is required to have the budget ordinance approved by June 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

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