Week of May 5, 2004
budget reflects rising insurance costs
The Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners held the first reading of the budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2005 at their monthly meeting on April 19.
Rising health insurance and workmans compensation insurance costs amounted to almost $25,000 in increases for the operations budget for the fire department. A 3% salary increase for district employees which was unanimously approved by the board accounted for an additional $10,000 in the operations of the fire department.
The budget shows estimated revenues at $1,118, 494 for all departments with total estimated expenditures of $1,113,998 leaving an estimated surplus of $4,496.
Millage rates remained unchanged at .055 for the fire department, .024 for the sewer and light department, and .002 for the recreation department.
Revenues for the fire department and the recreation department are based on assessed values from Greenville Districts 90, 91, and 105 and Anderson District 123. Sewer and light department revenues are based on assessed values from Greenville District 90 and Anderson District 123.
Total revenue from the Fire Department is estimated at $956,583, an increase of $23,028 from the 2004 budget. Fire Department operating expenses are estimated at $915,016 with a debt service for a fire truck payment of $36,612 and a capital outlay of $8,000 for total expenses of $959,628, leaving a surplus of $955.00.
Operating expenses include: salaries and employee fire runs $489,867, an increase of $11,746 from the 2004 budget; volunteer fire runs $15,000, an increase of $5,000 from the 2004 budget; commissioners expense $7,500; and payroll taxes $37,475.
Also included are: utilities $14,200, an increase of $1,000 from the 2004 budget; telephone $10,000, a decrease of $1,000 from the 2004 budget; diesel fuel and gasoline $6,000, an increase of $2,000 from the 2004 budget; vehicle repairs and maintenance $3,000; fire equipment, ladders and shop supplies $20,000, a decrease of $10,000 from the 2004 budget.
Other operating expenses include: lawn maintenance $3,500, an increase of $560 from the 2004 budget; station repairs and maintenance $2,500, an increase of $500 from the 2004 budget; uniforms $4,000, a decrease of $1,000 from the 2004 budget; protective clothing $3,000; dues $4,000, a decrease of $1,000 from the 2004 budget; promotional and entertainment $2,150; office supplies and expense $3,000; and computer expense $1,200.
Also included are: accounting $5,500; legal $2,000; professional grant consultations $1,000, a reduction of $3,800 from the 2004 budget; travel and training $4,500; physical fitness and medical screening $7,000, an increase of $1,000 from the 2004 budget; safety and first responder supplies $1,500.
Additional items included are: health insurance $135,000, a $10,000 increase from the 2004 budget; accident and disability insurance, $3,700, an item that was not listed on the 2004 budget; life insurance $9,500; property insurance on buildings and vehicles $30,000; workmans compensation $33,670, an increase of $14,670 from the 2004 budget; retirement plan $52,415, an increase of $3,967 from the 2004 budget; trash pickup $175; taxes and permits $100; other expense $1,200, an item that was not listed in the 2004 budget; unemployment tax, $1,164, an item that was not listed in the 2004 budget; and advertising $200.
Sewer and light operations revenues of $113,527 are expected with estimated expenses of $110,261 leaving a surplus of $3,266. Estimated expenses show an increase of $11,593 from the 2004 budget.
Estimated expenditures include: sewer line and septic tank maintenance $25,000; insurance on sewer lines $7,400; other sewer expense $20,000, a decrease of $4,000 from the 2004 budget; salaries $31,399, an increase of $13,091 from the 2004 budget; payroll taxes $2,402, an increase of $1,001 from the 2004 budget; retirement $3,360, an increase of $1,401 from the 2004 budget; legal $2,000; computer expense $1,000; professional grant expense $2,000; sewer supplies $700; and light expense $15,000.
Recreational operations show an estimated revenue of $9,600 from rentals; $30,891 from Greenville District taxes; and $3,893 from Anderson District taxes. Total revenues are estimated at $44,384, an increase of $1,136 from the 2004 budget. Estimated expenditures total $44,108 leaving a surplus of $276.00.
Estimated recreational expenses include: building manager salary $9,428; telephone $800; utilities $10,500, a decrease of $1,300 from the 2004 budget; payroll taxes $721; liability insurance $4,400; maintenance and supplies $1,750; lawn maintenance $11,900, an increase of $500 from the 2004 budget; retirement $1,009; contract labor, $250; other expense $1,750, an increase of $1,500 from the 2004 budget; professional expense $500, a decrease of $1,900 from the 2004 budget; and ballpark security $1,100.
The second reading of the budget will occur at the next meeting of the Board of Commissioners scheduled for May 17 at 7 p.m. at the Piedmont Fire Department.
During their regular monthly meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council approved second reading on a land use and planning ordinance to bring the towns standards in line with county standards and took the first steps in updating the towns comprehensive plan.
Following a work session held prior to their regular meeting each month, Council began their regular meeting at 6 p.m., going into a brief executive session with town attorney Richard Thompson for legal advice.
Upon returning to regular session, Council unanimously passed second reading on a new land use ordinance.
Mayor Phillip Clardy said the new ordinance revised the ordinance the town already had. He said the goal was to make the towns planning commission active in the development of the town and to be sure the towns guidelines did not conflict with Anderson County standards.
Since the town has no building or codes enforcement officer, the responsibility falls to Anderson County officials, Clardy said.
Contractors or developers must meet county regulations and zoning guidelines and they must apply for a permit through the county, he said.
The goal is to marry the county and city, Clardy said, concerning landuse standards.
If any changes are necessary, town officials can make it more focussed to the Town of Williamston, according to Clardy.
Before taking their vote, Council heard from planning commission chairman Jim Simpson on the four part land use ordinance. The ordinance includes a land use and development,, sign regulations, road standards and subdivision regulations.
Simpson said the ordinance is based on the Anderson County Land Use standards which he said provided a foundation to build our own.
Simpson said the county standards are more standard and more current than the towns previous standards.
Using the new standards was much easier than trying to go back and reinvent the wheel, according to Simpson.
Simpson said that county planning officials had put in considerable efforts to evaluate needs at the county level.
He said that the new standards provide consistency to allow builders and developers the same type regulations as on the county level and provide tools to work effectively as a planning commission.
Simpson suggested that at Councils discretion, planning officials should next look at updating and revising the towns comprehensive plan.
Simpson also said the next priorities for the planning commission were to look at revising the zoning ordinance book, and reviewing the comprehensive plan, including a downtown revitalization plan.
Council approved the new ordinance 5-0 with the new standards taking effect in 30 days.
Council also unanimously approved changes on the zoning map designating municipal and cemetery property within the town. Some of the properties are currently shown as residential under the old zoning guidelines, according to the mayor.
Clardy said the changes will better reflect properties existing in town that do not have a distinction and to designate certain properties as such.
Based on a request from Simpson for directives, Council unanimously agreed the planning commission should revise the zoning map for the public then proceed with reviewing the comprehensive plan.
In other business, one sealed bid was received on three vehicles the town has been attempting to sell for several months. The bid amounts were lower than the reduced minimum council decided on at their last meeting. Council agreed that the vehicles will be re-advertised for bids for another 30 days with the award going to the highest bidder.
Council approved a request by Hillcrest Baptist Church to hold a car parade through town on June 5.
Council also heard from sheriffs candidates Brad McGuire, Greg Williamson and 10th Circuit Court solicitor candidate Chrissy Adams.
Greg Davis was appointed to the towns grievance committee.
Council unanimously approved a request by Tricia Edens of the Greenville Humane Society, to allow use of Mineral Spring Park on June 5 for a fundraising event for a new program.
The event will be open to the public and will include music, barbecue, pet contests, low cost vaccinations and exhibits. Proceeds will be used for a new program to house animals of victims of domestic violence, Edens said.
The Williamston Police Department is still investigating an incident in which a Williamston man died after he was allegedly struck by a pipe during an altercation that happened Saturday on East Carolina St. in Williamston.
Sherman Bernard Greenlee, 37, 99 Tripp St., Williamston, was arrested and charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature in connection with the incident.
Cory Carnell Johnston, 34, 111 Bigby St., Williamston, died at approximately 8:58 p.m. Saturday in the emergency room at Anderson Area Medical Center, according to Deputy Coroner Charlie Boseman.
Johnston was in full cardiac arrest when he was brought into the hospital after being transported by Medshore Ambulance Service from the vehicle on Old Williamston Road.
According to reports, Williamston police were notified by Anderson County dispatch that a victim of an assault that had occurred in Williamston was on Old Williamston Road in serious condition.
Johnston was allegedly injured by a man who struck him in the legs with a pipe and was being transported by his girlfriend to the hospital when the Jeep Cherokee they were in had a flat tire, authorities said.
Reports state Medshore personnel responding to the vehicle on Old Williamston Road found Johnston in cardiac arrest when they arrived.
Williamston police responded to a vacant lot adjacent to 210 East Carolina St. where the incident occurred and secured the scene.
Officers found Greenlee, who was identified as a suspect, walking in the roadway near East Carolina St. He was transported to the police department where he made a verbal statement.
Reports state Greenlee said he saw Johnston on East Carolina St. and asked him what his problem was and at that time Johnston began hitting him and knocked him down.
Greenlee said he grabbed a pipe and started hitting Johnston in the knees and legs. According to the report, several people then stopped the fight.
Greenlee was arrested for assault and placed in a holding cell. He was later transported to the Anderson County Detention Center.
Williamston Police Chief Troy Martin said Monday officials were waiting on the results from the coroners report to determine if charges in the incident will be upgraded.
Captain David Baker of the Williamston Police Department said Wednesday his department has received a preliminary report from the coroners office and has met with the solicitor about the incident, but no additional charges have been made.
The case remains under investigation, Captain Baker said.
The Palmetto High School track team travelled to West Oak High School on April 26 to compete in the regional track meet.
Individual results from several Palmetto track team members qualified them to compete in the 2A Upper State meet held at Emerald High School in Greenwood Saturday.
Qualifying to compete in the Upper State meet were: Justin Meade finishing second in the 1600 meter and qualifying in the 800 meter run; Steven Taylor, in the 400 meter; Reggie Wilkins in the high jump; and Jillana Darby, who qualified to run in the 1600 and the 3200 at Upper State.
Palmettos 4x100 team, which includes Brad Angel, Joe Finley, Reggie Wilkins and T. J. Harris also qualified for the opportunity to compete at the Upper State meet.
At the Upper State meet in Greenwood, Meade, Wilkins and Darby each turned in efforts good enough to qualifiy them to compete in the State AA track meet to be held this Saturday at Spring Valley High School in Columbia.
Meade placed second in the 1600-meter race with a time of 4:44. It was the only race he competed in that day.
Darby, a 7th grader, placed fourth in the 1600-meter race with a time of 5.44.9, a new school record.
Wilkins turned in his best performance in the high jump at 6 feet and a second place finish.
Palmetto track coach Doug Angel will accompany the three athletes who will represent the Mustangs at the State meet Saturday.
The first reading of a proposed budget for the new fiscal year met with mixed responses from Anderson County council members at their regular meeting Tuesday night.
Council members had received a booklet of detailed budget information late last week, but many admitted that they had not had an opportunity to fully review and digest the information.
County Administrator Joey Prestons budget presentation outlined many of the challenges faced by the county a decline in state revenue, a reduction in local revenue, increasing demands on local government, an erosion of home rule and increasing insurance costs.
This is a maintenance budget only, Preston said proposing that the budget maintained essential services and addressed critical needs such as a growing population at the Anderson County Detention Center through a cost-efficient housing expansion program.
To avoid recruitment of the best and the brightest away from the county, Preston proposed 2% cost-of-living raises and 2% merit raises for county employees as well as longevity considerations.
We need to maintain the level of expertise that we have, Preston explained.
Preston proposed a $6.8 million debt service which would fund new libraries for Pendleton and Powdersville, pay for improvements to the Health Department, and expand the animal shelter.
The budget proposed maintaining the current taxing levels which was a problem for Councilman Larry Greer. I would love to see us find a .002 reduction without reducing essential services or losing employees, Greer offered and subsequently made a motion to schedule a budget workshop.
Saying that she could not vote tonight, Council member Cindy Wilson seconded Greers motion.
The majority of the council disagreed and defeated the motion in a 4-3 vote. Council member Mike Holden joined Greer and Wilson in supporting the motion while remaining council members opposed the proposal.
Undaunted, Greer proposed an additional motion that the council table the vote on the budget until members had an opportunity to study the information further. The motion failed in 5-2 vote with only Greer and Wilson supporting the proposal.
Council Chairman Clint Wright explained that the first reading of the budget was simply a way to move forward on the issue. According to Wright, the council could focus on specific questions and details at the second reading at the next council meeting which would operate like a public workshop.
A vote on the first reading resulted in 4-3 split decision supporting the budget ordinance. Council members Fred Tolly, Gracie Floyd, Bill Dees, and Wright supported the first reading while Greer, Wilson, and Holden opposed.
Preston explained that the visual presentation he gave to the council would be available on the county website by the end of the week. He also reminded the council that copies of the budget would be placed in all library branches for public access.
Vandals broke into and trashed the historic Pelzer Auditorium this past week.
When employees of Pelzer Elementary School arrived for work Friday morning, they discovered that someone had entered the auditorium during the night and done a great deal of damage to the local landmark.
Belongings and play props were thrown all over the auditorium. Floors and seats were covered with wet toilet paper. Box office windows, walls, tables, and pictures were spray painted with obscenities.
An inventory of missing items is still pending, but authorities estimated that damages alone to the structure amount to $2,000.
May 3 Brandon Michael White, 19, 119 Old Cuffy Creek Lane, Piedmont, reported that someone broke the windows in a blue 1997 Ford Ranger causing $1,000 in damages and stole registration and insurance information from the glove box. R. K. Gebing investigated.
May 1 Taylor E. Wilson, 20, 602 Timms Road, Piedmont, reported that someone picked up a wallet containing a drivers license, credit cards and $560 in cash. R. D. Ellison investigated.
May 1 William L. Burger, 70, 107 Amber Gate Ct., Easley, reported that someone removed a stove, dishwasher, and kitchen cabinets valued at $1,200 from rental property. C. H. Bensse investigated.
Apr. 30 Doug Smith, 40, 703 Mountain Springs Road, Piedmont, reported that someone broke a back window to his residence. Items missing had not been determined. K. L. Brown investigated.
Apr. 30 Brandi Michelle Clark, 18, 101 Quartermein Ct., Piedmont, reported that someone took two 12 subwoofers and a Sony amplifier valued at $1,000 from her vehicle. A. Digirolamo investigated.
Apr. 30 Mark Chastain, 36, 123 River Oaks Circle, Piedmont, reported that someone removed a French horn, a trumpet, and assorted CDs and DVDs valued at $7,450 from the rear of his vehicle. T. A. Caron investigated.
Apr. 30 Telisa Pearson, 34, 207 Edmondson Dr., Piedmont, reported that someone knocked in the front door to her apartment and took jewelry and medications valued at $698. T. A. Caron investigated.
Apr. 30 Hickory Point, 3600 Hwy. 153, Powdersville, reported that suspects involved in a shoplifting incident were observed inside a bank across the street from the business. Previously one of the suspects had grabbed two cartons of cigarettes valued at $60 and run out of the store. Benjamin Chandler Mauldin, 25, 110 Farm Terrace Court, Easley was arrested and transported to the Anderson County Detention Center. J. M. Durham investigated.
Apr. 28 Amena Zakaria Zahran, 21, 126 FF Family Circle, Piedmont, reported that someone entered a 1996 Honda Civic and carried away a radar detector valued at $100. S. F. Jones investigated.
Apr. 28 Michelle McElrath, 31, #1 Mansion Circle Dr., Piedmont, reported that someone carried away three aluminum wheels valued at $500 from a vehicle. K. Fowler investigated.
Apr. 28 Nancy Caroline Watson, 55, 37 Lyman St., Pelzer, reported that she saw someone run off with a statue valued at $30. S. F. Jones investigated.
Apr. 27 Ashley Nicole Smith, 20, 116 Claude Drive, Easley, reported that someone entered her residence and stole a lock box and cash valued at $475. G. G. Diaz investigated.
Apr. 27 Family Dollar, 107 S. Hwy. 20, Pelzer, reported that a customer put clothing valued at $50 in his jacket and left the store. An employee followed the customer out of the store. Reportedly, the customer pulled a knife and told the store employee to get away from him. He jumped into a car driven by a female and fled. K. J. Burns investigated.
Apr. 27 Dean Townsley Construction, 106 Lakeview Dr., Williamston, reported that someone cut the wires on a breaker box valued at $256 in a building under construction. J. A. Burdette investigated.