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Nelson said she was curious about the attention the issue has gotten and pointed toward other public entities she said haven’t seen as much scrutiny. “Right now, we have very little knowledge about what’s going on with the hospital and the debt,” she said. “Decisions are being made by an appointed board, not an elected board, to sell our hospital due to this debt. No one seems concerned about that.” Clarendon Memorial Hospital interim CEO and CFO Paul Schumacher said Tuesday that the hospital is “most definitely not for sale.” “We are in affiliation talks with McLeod Regional Medical Center at this time, but we are not for sale,” Schumacher said. “Due to our political subdivision status, it would be very difficult for the hospital to ever be sold. There can’t just be a contract written to sell the hospital.” Nelson also suggested that council “diversify our banking.” “The idea that there are people that work in local banks that have issues with federally funded grants we receive, I want to suggest to council that we diversify our banking,” she said. “The majority of our banking goes to one bank. Since some of the employees have issue with this, maybe we need to relieve them of some of their concerns.” Council was unanimous in the decision to amend the ordinance. They were also unanimous in accepting first reading of the city’s 2016-17 fiscal year budget, which will likely see no millage increase due to little to negligible population growth, Tanner said. “With the CAP, we’re allowed about a .12 percent increase this year,” Tanner said. “Typically each year we’ve gone up by the CAP. But that is almost no growth.” Tanner said percentages in the past three years have been between 1.2 and 2 percent. “The state puts a cap on it every year, and if you don’t increase per the cap, there is a chance you can lose it,” Tanner said. “However, you can go back three years. So if we don’t increase this year, we can go back next year and add the .12 to whatever we have next year.” He said increasing by the cap would give the city a .2 millage increase for 2016-17. “That’s very little money, maybe a couple of thousand dollars at the most,” Tanner said. “We may not want to do anything with it this year, but we will adjust accordingly as the process goes along.” The new budget, which will go into effect July 1, does propose increasing permit fees “slightly,” Tanner said. “We have some fees we’re losing money on,” he said. “We may charge a $55 fee, but then it costs us $70 to advertise by law in the paper. So we’re not looking for it to be a big revenue builder, but we don’t want to lose money on it either.” He said the proposed budget includes a 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase for employee salaries, along with $12,000 for a new retail development initiative proposed by council. “We’re going to try and recruit retail development into Manning and Clarendon County, so this will provide funds for travel and incentives to try and recruit small business to Manning,” Tanner said. There is also $20,000 for recreation included. “Our sheds and restrooms at our parks, that’s included in there,” he said. “We are also going through the comprehensive plan update with Santee Lynches Council of Governments and Kyle Kelley. It is $15,000 for the plan update.” During Administrator’s Comments, Tanner told council members that the city will purchase a new ladder truck for the Fire Department on May 25. “Ours is obsolete; it almost didn’t get certified last year,” he said. “We are constantly having to do quite a bit of maintenance on it. The money is coming from surplus from the fire station construction.” Tanner said that the Fleming project – the demolition of about 14 condemned homes in the Fleming neighborhood – will be back underway June 7. “Six of those homes contain asbestos, and the contractor will be back in town to demolish those buildings,” he said. “With the asbestos, I expect the price of each unit will increase, but I don’t anticipate any budgetary problems.” Tanner said a community meeting will be held June 2 at the Althea Gibson Center. “One of the requirements for this grant for the Fleming project is that we have to help begin a crime watch committee in that neighborhood,” Tanner said. “The meeting will be the start of that process.”