Calhoun County Council unanimously approved a $16.3 million budget last week, which includes a tax increase.
The budget will increase the county’s mileage rate by 3.36 mils to 118.36 mils.
The mileage increase will mean an annual increase of $33 on a $100,000 home in the county, Calhoun County Administrator John McLauchlin said.
The 118.36 factories are expected to bring in $7.6 million in property taxes to the county. The budget is balanced by carry-forward funds and other county and state revenue, according to county officials.
The council last week approved the county’s seven separate budget orders for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
In related matters, the county received favorable notice for its 2020-2021 finances.
“It’s the best you can do,” said Brian Nicholson, senior manager of Mauldin and Jenkins.
The county ended with a total fund balance for the year of $5,257,868, which is an increase from the previous year of $13,462.
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“I believe this is the first increase in the last three years in the general fund balance,” Nicholson said. “It’s really good for the county.”
Total county general fund revenue for the 2020-21 fiscal year was $13.2 million and expenditures were $12.9 million.
Nicholson said the county had a cash-related material weakness that needed adjustment to be fixed.
“Money is a sensitive issue,” Nicholson said. “We consider this a material weakness.”
A significant deficiency was also found. Nicholson said a significant impairment is not as serious as a material weakness.
“It’s about segregation of duties primarily for elected officials, magistrates’ courts,” Nicholson said. “There’s a lot of money coming in and out of these elected officials and there just needs to be some sort of control in place so that no one is opening checks and making deposits. Just a system of checks and balances.
This finding is a repeat of the previous year’s audit, Nicholson said.
Councilman Ken Westbury asked Nicholson to explain the new discovery.
“Don’t you find that often in small organizations? said Westbury.
“It varies,” Nicholson said, noting that elected officials themselves are responsible for implementing controls. “We find it in many other counties. Unless fixed by themselves (the chosen one), there would likely be repeat results every year unless this is fixed.
Nicholson said the county is encouraged to put in place tighter controls around cybersecurity and better account for capital leases.
In other areas, Lower Savannah Council of Governments executive director Dr. William Molnar encouraged the county to make sure it gets its fair share of the roughly $900 million in money from the American Rescue Plan Act that will be distributed through the SC Commerce Department’s Rural Infrastructure Authority. .
The money will be distributed statewide and can be spent on sewer, water, broadband and stormwater projects, Molnar said.
He encouraged the county to be proactive in asking for money.
“It’s really something big,” Molnar said. “It’s once in a lifetime money. The reality is that these are the kinds of things that change the community.
The deadline for requesting the money is September 12.
“Do your preliminary engineering as a basic minimum. Understand what you’re looking for, what you’re looking to develop, what the real cost will be,” Molnar said.
• Council gave unanimous first reading to a resolution entering into an incentive agreement with an existing industry in the county. The industry plans to invest additional dollars in its plant
Later, the Board unanimously gave first reading by title only to an incentive in lieu of taxes for the Augusta project. The name of the company and the size of the investment were not disclosed at first reading. County officials promised more details would be provided at second reading.
• The Board unanimously passed a resolution agreeing to continue plans to participate in the state insurance benefits program.
The new program will come into effect on January 1, 2023.
County officials say following the state’s plan will save the county about $300,000 next year.
The council previously filed a resolution to participate in the state insurance benefit program so it could present the issue to county employees.
The county has been using a private provider for 11 years.
• Council passed a resolution to enter into a joint county industrial park agreement with Lexington County.
The County Joint Industrial Park Agreement is a tax incentive mechanism, not a physical park. Under the agreement, Calhoun County will receive 1% of revenue generated by the company, which is located in Lexington County.
• Council unanimously gave first reading of an ordinance adopting amendments to the county’s zoning ordinance.
The main change creates a table of all permitted and unauthorized uses in the county.
“No new information,” Calhoun County Deputy Administrator and Building Official Richard Hall said. “No changes to what was allowed and not allowed.”
An amendment would also include a mobile home ordinance in the county’s comprehensive zoning ordinance. A parking chart has also been added regarding parking requirements.