Greenwood County Council passed the final reading of their budget for fiscal year 2014 on Tuesday afternoon in spite of the second reading nearly failing to pass at their meeting last week.
The new budget is balanced at $19,264,488.16 and includes no tax increase. Council voted to raise millage for Greenwood School District 50 by 2.7 mills, the amount requested, for general operations. They also voted to raise the millage for Greenwood School District 51 by three mils for debt service. District 51 moved five mils from debt service to general operations last fiscal year and council approved moving those five mils back into debt service for the upcoming fiscal year. Votes on both millage increases passed on a vote of 4-2, with Council Chairman Mark Allison and Councilman Steve Brown dissenting. Councilman Bob Fisher was out of town due to a delayed flight from New York City.
One of the sources of contention in the budget was the amount of money designated for the Humane Society. The group was slated to receive $140,000 more in the new fiscal year than they received in the current fiscal year. Brown told council last week that he supported the work of the Humane Society, but he felt that the increase of nearly 50 percent was too much for one year.
Brown’s issue with the allotment for the Humane Society proved to be the answer to another issue in the budget. Councilman Gonza Bryant told council last week that there were significant problems with leaks in the roof at the Brewer Community Complex. County staff moved $55,000 from the Humane Society, as part of a $150,000 overall shift in funds, to cover the cost of the roof repairs. An additional $25,000 came from monies designated for the Greenwood Partnership Alliance as part of a special project which has been delayed.
In a separate matter, rumors had been swirling that the county was going to change auditing firms for the upcoming audit. County manager Toby Chappell recommended that council continue with their current auditing firm, Elliot-Davis, due to the many changes currently in progress with county staff. Chappell said he would be attempting to reach an agreement with the auditing firm this week.