Political News

Clarendon County Council makes changes to 2024-25 budget


On May 13, Clarendon County Council met for their regularly scheduled monthly meeting. After the invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance, council approved minutes from the regular meeting on April 8, special called meeting from April 17, and special called meeting on April 29.

Clarendon County Deputy Administration Sharmane Anderson then presented Patrick Goodwin with a certificate and pin for ten years of service as a Magistrate Judge. James Hilton was also presented a certificate and pin for five years of service with the Public Works Department. Parah Anderson was presented the SCAC’s 2024 Board of Directors Scholarship Award by County Chairman Dwight Stewart, Jr.

Following the scholarship presentation, the council passed Resolution 2024-02, a resolution acknowledging the service of Public Safety Communications Officers as First Responders in Clarendon County and other matters relating thereto. An addendum to Employer Resolution for Participation in the State Insurance Benefits Program regarding County/ Municipality Council Member Coverage was also read.

Ordinance 2024-02 was considered for the third and final reading. Ordinance 2024-02 is an ordinance to amend the county’s official zoning map designation for tax map parcel #170-00-03-050-00 (PR); from general commercial (GC) to residential multifamily (RMF) and providing an effective date. This property is located near SAFE Federal Credit Union on Paxville Highway. The ordinance passed unanimously.

Next, Clarendon County Administrator, acting as Chief Financial Officer, Lynden Anthony presented the proposed FY 2024-2025 Budget. “The general fund budget is balanced with no tax increase. Again, the general fund budget brought to you this evening is balanced with no increase in millage rate,” opened Anthony.

Council made several changes to the general fund. Council removed requests throughout the budget that fall outside of our county’s classification and compensation policy, as well as any request for an appropriation from the mental health division of the state. They also reduced the supplemental appropriations to both the solicitor’s office and the office of the public defender to a 5% increase over the current year in keeping with what council has elected to do over the last several years. The request in changes for personnel for the coroner’s and the auditor’s offices were removed. The requested $100,000 increase by Central Carolina Technical College was removed. The new coroner transport van request was also removed. Anthony did point out that each of those requests will be revisited at this time next year.

Council also removed an item from the capital purchases of the general fund regarding a chip traitor pipe cleaning apparatus that council wanted to acquire and utilize throughout the county.

Council did increase some revenue line items but as it was presented, the general fund budget balanced at $29.6 million. Council is recommending an increase in the local option sales tax credit to our taxpayers of an additional $100,000, bringing that credit up to $4.4 million dollars.

Library funds were also balanced with no tax increase. Additionally, both Weldon Auditorium and the water systems budgets, as enterprise funds, are anticipated to generate sufficient revenue to meet their cash flow needs, after associated transfers.

Anthony also stated that “our fire and rescue fund, though, is still reflecting a deficit this evening at $364,000. That deficit does include and take into consideration a two-million-dollar increase.”

Council also had three separate borrowing requests. The first was a $400,000, five-year capital lease to require a new ambulance. “We anticipate receiving that ambulance and closing on this issuance in March of 2025,” explained Anthony. As well as “a second issuance in June of 2025 of $700,000 to acquire a new fire support tanker, this is also a five-year instrument.” Last, was a general obligation issuance associated with the debt service requirements with both the courthouse and the 2022 facilities IPRBs. Anthony stated that council should anticipate the closing of that issuance in February of 2025.

Next, council held a Public Hearing for Ordinance 2024-03. The ordinance would provide for a levy of taxes for county purposes for the fiscal year beginning July 1st, 2024, and ending June 30th, 2025. The levy would direct the expenditures of said taxes and other funds for Clarendon County and to provide for other matters related thereto including the administrative accountability procedures to be followed during implementation of the budget, operating and capital, for the county for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2024, and ending June 30, 2025. Citizens were welcome with comments and questions at this point. After a few discussions and questions the session was closed.

Next was consideration of the second reading of ordinance 2024-03. This was passed unanimously. Public Hearing for Ordinance 2024-04, an ordinance to authorize the granting of an easement across property owned by Clarendon County and identified as tax map parcel number 187-02-04-020-00. This is the easement on Church

Street and Clarendon County Behavioral Health Center is wanting to do an expansion of their facility into the back portion of the lot. It is currently owned by Behavioral Health and improvements need to be made in the storm runoff and stormwater drainage. This and the consideration of second reading of ordinance 2024-04 was passed unanimously.

Clarendon County Council will have its regularly scheduled meeting in June.