News Archive

Week of May 7

Council hears final audit
Williamston approves amended 2003 budget
Williamston Council updated on projects
Palmetto, Wren graduates hold baccalaureate services
Piedmont Commissioners approve proposed budget

 

Council hears final audit

Williamston Town Council was presented with the final results of the 2002 audit on the town’s finances and approved first reading on an amended budget for 2003 during their regular monthly meeting May 5.

According to Larry Finney, of the auditing firm Greene, Finney and Horton, LLP., the town’s general fund balance decreased $399,000, leaving the town with an $890,000 fund balance, which he said is approximately 32 percent of operating expenditures.

Finney said the declining fund balance was a trend over the last several years in which the fund balances were being depleted.

“You need to make sure you have adequate cash flow,” Finney said.

“The fund balance should handle cash flow and any other unanticipated events or emergencies,” he said.

Finney said that the $399,000 decrease was the result of three things:

According to him, revenues was overestimated by $60,000; expenditures were underestimated by $160,000 (after lease proceeds); failing to budget $80,000 for long term debts.

The balance of approximately $100,000 included a lot of small items and reclassification between the general fund and the enterprise funds.

Finney pointed out two issues the town needs to address: getting back to a balanced budget and increasing fund balances.

“The fund balance is definitely lower than we would like to see it be,” Finney said.

There were no specific issues or recommendations in the management letters that needed to be addressed according to Finney.

Items mentioned included upgrading financial software, having a comprehensive list of general fixed assets by Dec. 2003 and providing records of accounts not included in the general ledger.

“The general ledger is what we will audit and issue statements on,” Finney said.

Bottom line, the town ended the year $398,995 in the red, Finney said.

Councilman Wade Pepper expressed a concern with the accounting practice of including anticipated property tax figures for the first two months of 2003 in 2002.

Finney said they are still recording only 12 months of revenue and it was done the same way in 2001.

Finney said the town’s fund balance, which is at approximately 32 percent, should be at 45 to 50 percent.

Mayor Phillip Clardy said that at the end of 2001, he and his staff decided to place enterprise fund charges to the enterprise fund and general fund charges to the general fund, in an effort to show what it takes to run each department.

“Those accounts have been corrected,” he said.

Clardy also pointed out that the town was overbudget by significant amounts ranging from $123,000 to $948,000 every year between 1992 and 2000.

“The town has had to borrow over $2 million to make ends meet,” Clardy said.

Clardy also said that the tax anticipation note is recorded in the same fiscal year as it was borrowed (2002) and there are instances in the past where the town borrowed the same type notes, but over a 5 year period.

Councilman Cecil Cothran asked about administrative costs that were budgeted in 2002 at $25,000, which had expenditures of $109,000.

“That is one example of things that have been charged to other line items,” Clardy said.

Cothran also asked to receive monthly statements on the town’s finances.

Council also approved first reading on an amended budget for 2003.

Williamston approves amended 2003 budget

The Town of Williamston approved an amended 2003 general fund budget  May 5.

The $2.14 million budget presented by Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy shows anticipated expenditures of  $2,142,440 to income of $2,142,440, a decrease of $79,718 from the original budget approved in Nov. 2002. The budget is based on 120 mills.

Salaries amounted to the largest portion of the general fund budget, accounting for $1,030,027.29, a decrease of $82,590 from the original.

Social Security amounts to $66,681; and state retirement, $113,809. Health insurance premiums amount to $170,037.

Utilities for all departments is budgeted at $103,000. The town budgeted $90,000 for supplies and expense, up from $80,000; and $32,000 for repairs and maintenance (all departments).

The budget includes $31,000 for vehicle expenses and maintenance.

Professional fees were budgeted at $50,000.

Also budgeted are uniforms $18,500; recreation/little league $14,000, parades, $800; Spring Water Festival, $5,000; municipal building repairs, $5,000; park rest rooms, $1,250; and museum, $48,750.

Also included are insurance bond payments of $43,633 and a general obligation bond annual payment of $69,244 (including principal and interest).

MASC dues are $1,728, bank charges, $200; sales tax $1,854.

Clyde Saving, $26,428; lease paymnets to Regions includes $41,422 principal and $5,949 interest.

The budget also reflects principal and interest payment of $157,125 on a tax anticipation note due in October.

Total expenditures are budgeted at $2,142,440, a decrease of $79,718 from the original 2003 budget.

Income will come from expected property taxes of $678,122; motor vehicle taxes, $166,235; state fund revenue $91,842; prior year property taxes, $48,562.

Payments in lieu of taxes, originally budgeted at $66,000, are expected to be $92,592.; homestead exemptions $90,513; merchants inventory tax $15,896; manufacturing exemptions $86,018; business license, $44,471;

Other revenues include MASC insurance $159,313; franchise fees $297,133; MASC telecommunications, $4,476; police fines $180,393; SRO high school and middle school officers (grants through School District 1) $34,129. and $35,500.

Little league fees are expected to bring in $2,675; park fees, $8,735; and Christmas/Spring Water festival, $9,199.

Dumpster/metal sold will bring $11,624; interest income, $500; other revenue $5,000; and employee restitution, $76,275.

Expected revenues total $2,142,440.

Individual expense breakdowns for each of the town’s departments are as follows:

Administration: salaries $181,840; vehicle expense $1,00o; repairs/maintenance $10,000; supplies/expense $50,000; uniforms $500; utilities $25,000.

Street Department: salaries $207,688; vehicles $10,000; repairs/maintenance $5,000; supplies/expense $15,000; uniforms $8,000; utilities $40,000.

Police Department: salaries $552,992; vehicles $10,000; repairs/maintenance $10,000, supplies/expense $15,000; uniforms $5,000; utilities $20,000.

Parks and Recreation: salaries $65,626; vehicles $5,000; repairs/maintenance $7,000; supplies/expense $10,000,; uniforms $1,000; utilities $15,000; Spring Water Festival $5,000; Christmas Park (not budgeted); little league $14,000; parades $800.

Fire Department: salaries $21,880; vehicles $5,000; supplies/expense $15,000; uniforms $4,000; utilities $3,000.

Wording in the original ordinance allows Council to approve by resolution borrowing up to $250,000 in tax anticipation notes if the need should arise.

Councilman Cecil Cothran said he thought the deficit was still too high. “We will work together to make a little money to get ahead,” he said.

Councilman Greg Cole said the audit showed the town was about what the Council expected.

“We will have to make some cuts,” he said. We’ll have to spend the rest of our money wisely.”

“If we can stay within the amended budget, we should be allright for the rest of the year.”

Second reading on the budget is expected to be held at the June 2  meeting of Williamston Town Council.

Williamston Council updated on projects

Williamston Town Council held their May 5 meeting in the auditorium of the Municipal Center to accommodate a crowd of more than 130 people who attended the meeting.

During citizens comments portion at the beginning of the meeting, Clardy said residents of the town are welcome to make comments or ask questions and he and council reserve the right to respond.

Two speakers, Chris Powell and David Rainey, asked Clardy if a background check had been  made on the newly appointed chief of police and for clarification on whether he was an interim chief or permanent.

Clardy told both men he would respond to their questions if they would submit them in writing.

Willie Wright, representing the Williamston Action Community Club (WACC) requested financial aid in the amount of $3,000 to help fund a summer enrichment program to be held at the Caroline Center in June.

Wright said the 501 C non-profit organization has $4,000 for the project and needs the additional funding to provide the eight week camp.

He also said the camp is open to any child between the ages of 5 and 18 and that it provided structured learning opportunities to 44 children last year.

The request was accepted as information by Council.

Larry Rachels of Belton Drive, Williamston, said that he had concerns with the mayor’s car being used for personal use, but had more serious concerns with council receiving money for insurance for spouses. He also asked that council stick to more important issues.

Oliver Case, 91, spoke to council in support of a rails to trails project planned for the area.

“Bicycling has meant a lot to me,” Case said.

Case said he cycles for recreation and exercise and has traveled extensively to pursue the sport. He said he would like to see safe cycling routes in the area.

In old business, Council heard an update on the Gray Drive walking track.

Clardy said the track is “for the most part completed” and includes lighting, a picnic area and paving recently completed with help of Anderson County.

Clardy also reported that funds from the museum grant fund have been placed in a separate account. Residents can make donations to the account to help with the project, Clardy said.

Clardy announced the Anderson County Municipal Assocation meeting will be held May 8 at the West Pelzer  Masonic Lodge.

Clardy also stated that a request by Doug Chapman to annex 4.11 acres would be postponed until conflicting information being provided by the Anderson County tax assessor could be resolved.

Clardy asked Chapman to obtain a statement that the issue has been cleared up and submit it in writing to allow the town attorney to proceed.

Clardy also announced a Freedom March to take place beginning at noon May 10 at the Legion ball field.

Council also heard reports on the rails to trails project.

Anderson County Council member  Cindy Wilson said that funds had been approved with support from Council members Clint Wright and Gracie Floyd, to help with study to  determine a route and associated cost and to begin receiving public input for suggested routes.

Municipal consultant Rusty Burns requested the Town of Williamston act as the primary base for the project.

Councilman Greg Cole made a motion and Cecil Cothran seconded. The request was approved unanimously.

Burns also told Council that two grants have been approved to help with restoration of restrooms in Mineral Spring Park. A 20 percent match has also been obtained from the County for the project, Burns said.

A $200,000 grant proposal has also been submitted to help with sidewalks in the town, Burns said.

Several areas along Greenville Dr. and Main St. need work, Clardy said. 

Council also heard from Bill Dunn, of the engineering firm of Dunn and Associates, who is looking at infiltration problems with the towns sewer system.

Dunn recommended a new trunk line to serve the Mt. Vernon mill area, and constructing  an equalization basin to store stormwater until it can be treated.

Council accepted the presentation as information.

Council also accepted as information comments made by judge Jimmy Cox. Cox told council he thought the town should hire a secretary and use an assistant judge to finish out the year and not replace Judge John Neel who recently resigned.

He said the proposal will save the town approximately $5,000. 

Council then heard the 2002 audit presentation by Larry Finney, of the auditing firm Greene, Finney and Horton, LLP. and approved an amended budget for 2003. (See separate stories this issue)

Palmetto, Wren graduates hold baccalaureate services

The Class of 2003 at Palmetto and Wren high schools will hold baccalaureate services this week – the first of this year’s graduation activities.

Palmetto High will observe baccalaureate May 11 at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium.

Justin Michael Martin will welcome attendees, followed by the invocation provided by Sierra Renee Shuler.

Justin Paul Martin will lead the congregational hymn, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” followed by a scripture reading by Christopher Daniel Honeycutt.

Rebecca Gail Edens, Sherry Lynn Marter and Stacy Annette Smith will sing “This Day” for the service’s special music.

Charles Richard Mustin will introduce the evening’s keynote speaker, the Rev. Billy Slatten of Tabernacle Baptist Church, Pelzer. After the address, the benediction will be offered by Brandie Nichole Martin.

Wren High will also hold its baccalaureate service May 11 at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium.

Adam Johnson will lead the congregation in the “Doxology,” followed by an invocation delivered by Josh Garret.

Carla Furr will lead attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. Jean Loder will then provide the welcome remarks.

Wren’s Concert Choir will perform “Cantate Domino,” lead by Choir Director Kathy Smith. Clayton Porter will then lead the congregation in “To God Be The Glory.”

Erin Lindley will introduce the evening’s keynote speaker, Rev. Mark Wright of Unity Presbyterian ARP.  Wright will speak on “Buy the Truth.” After the keynote address, Brandon O’Shields will offer the benediction.

Commencement exercises for both schools are set for May 16 at the Anderson Civic Center. Palmetto  students will graduate at 5 p.m., while Wren graduates will receive diplomas at 8 p.m.

Piedmont Commissioners approve proposed budget

The Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners approved the first reading of the budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2004 at their monthly meeting on April 28.

Commissioner J. C. Turner’s motion to give district employees a 5% salary increase for the coming year received unanimous board approval.

The budget shows estimated revenues at $1,087,395 for all departments with total estimated expenditures of $1,036,083 leaving an estimated surplus of $51,312.

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 $933,555, an increase of 34,763 from the 2003 budget. Fire Department operating expenses are estimated at $862,916 with a debt service for a fire truck payment of $36,611 and a capital outlay of $10,000 for total expenses of $909,527, leaving a surplus of $24,028.

Operating expenses include: salaries and employee fireruns $467,893, a decrease of $2,378 from the 2003 budget; volunteer fireruns $10,000; commissioners’ expense $3,900; and payroll taxes $36,958.

Also included are: utilities $13,200; telephone $11,000; diesel fuel and gasoline $4,000; vehicle repairs and maintenance $3,000, a reduction of $6,000 from the 2003 budget; fire equipment, ladders and shop supplies $30,000, an increase of $16,000 from the 2003 budget.

Other operating expenses include: lawn maintenance $2,940; station repairs and maintenance $2,000; uniforms $5,000, an increase of $1,000 from the 2003 budget; protective clothing $3,000; dues $5,000; promotional and entertainment $1,950; office supplies and expense $3,000; and computer expense $1,200, a new item in the budget.

Also included are: accounting $5,500; legal $2,000, a reduction of $2,000 from the 2003 budget; professional grant consultations $4,800, a reduction of $4,800 from the 2003 budget; travel and training $4,600, a reduction of $2,100 from the 2003 budget; physical fitness and medical screening $6,000; safety and first responder supplies $1,550.

Additional items included are: health insurance $125,000, a $25,000 increase from the 2003 budget; life insurance $9,792; property insurance on buildings and vehicles $30,000, an increase of $8,000 from the 2003 budget; workman’s compensation $19,000, a decrease of $5,000 from the 2003 budget; retirement plan $50,065, an increase of $1418 from the 2003 budget; trash pickup $168; taxes and permits $100; and advertising $300.

Sewer and light operations revenues of $105, 592 are expected with estimated expenses of $84,221 leaving a surplus of $21,371. Estimated expenses show a decrease of $19, 825 from the 2003 budget.

Estimated expenditures include: sewer line and septic tank maintenance $25,000; insurance on sewer lines $7,000; other sewer expense $24,000; salaries $6,102; payroll taxes $466; retirement $653; legal $2,000; computer expense $1,000; professional grant expense $2,400; sewer supplies $600; and light expense $15,000.

Recreational operations show an estimated revenue of $9,300 from rentals; $30,623 from Greenville District taxes; and $3,325 from Anderson District taxes. Total revenues are estimated at $43,248, a decrease of $4,436 from the 2003 budget. Estimated expenditures total $42,335 leaving a surplus of $913.

Estimated recreational expenses include: building manager salary $8,718; telephone $800; utilities $11,800, an increase of $1,000 from the 2003 budget; payroll taxes $667; liability insurance $4,250, a decrease of $1,750 from the 2003 budget; maintenance and supplies $1350; lawn maintenance $11,400; retirement $700; other expense $250; and professional expense $2,400.

The second reading of the budget will occur at the next meeting of the Board of Commissioners scheduled for May 19 at 7 p.m. at the Piedmont Fire Department.