Sumter County Council OKs county budget without mill increase

BY ADRIENNE SARVIS
adrienne@theitem.com
Posted 6/14/18

Sumter County Council approved third and final reading of its balanced budget, with both operating expenditures and revenues totaling $52,752,483, on Tuesday, three weeks before the budget goes into effect on July 1.

This is the first time in …

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Sumter County Council OKs county budget without mill increase

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Sumter County Council approved third and final reading of its balanced budget, with both operating expenditures and revenues totaling $52,752,483, on Tuesday, three weeks before the budget goes into effect on July 1.

This is the first time in quite a while that county staff presented council with a balanced budget before first reading of the budget ordinance, County Council Chairman Jim McCain said, and this is the second year in a row that council has given three readings of the budget without a millage increase, he said.

"We're very proud of that," he said.

McCain also gave credit to the county department heads who he said reduced their respective budgets and narrowed down the necessary items for their operations.

The 2018-19 budget includes a 3 percent cost of living increase for employees, a scheduled increase for employer share of retirement as well as an increase in group health insurance, County Administrator Gary Mixon said.

The budget ordinance states the county currently has 682 employees.

Mixon said the ordinance also includes an amendment to the Sumter County Personnel Handbook, which states employees are not to bring their children to work at any given time or day, and department managers are not authorized to allow employees to bring children to work.

A request to appropriate $1.5 million of the county's reserve funds for one-time capital spending is also included in the ordinance, he said.

Approximately $700,000 of those funds will be used to convert the former Sumter Fire Department headquarters on Hampton Avenue into the new EMS building; $300,000 will be used to demolish the old jail behind the Sumter County Sheriff's Office building on North Main Street; and $500,000 will be used to construct a parking lot in place of the old jail.

Bond approved to purchase new county vehicles

Council also approved final reading of an ordinance authorizing a $2.5 million general obligation bond to fund multiple purchases and projects to include: renovations to the air-conditioning system at Patriot Hall; renovations to the Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center roof; vehicles for Sumter County Sheriff's Office, Sumter Fire Department, Sumter County Public Works and Sumter County Recreation Department; and video storage for the sheriff's office, according to Mixon.

BD to expand facility

Along with approving a fee in lieu of tax and incentive agreement with Becton, Dickinson and Co. in exchange for the company investing $150 million in its Sumter facility, county council also voted to amend the Sumter-Lee Industrial Park master agreement to include 15 acres of property owned and operated by BD.

"I want to thank BD for continuing to grow here in Sumter, bringing additional opportunity and jobs to the community," McCain said. "You've been a long-standing force here in Sumter as far as creating jobs."

In other news, county council approved proclamations naming June 15 Elder Abuse Awareness Day and June 16 Double Dutch Day in Sumter County and approved first reading, in title only, of the revised Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center contract.

Councilwoman Vivian Fleming-McGhaney did not vote on the detention center contract issue because her husband is an employee at the jail. Details about the revised detention center contract will be provided during council's next meeting.