Political News

Summerton Town Council passes budget following mayor’s resignation


The Town of Summerton’s council passed its FY2024-2025 budget during a special meeting on June 26, just hours after Mayor Mac Bagnal resigned from his position.

Town Administrator Kenneth Geathers presented the budget, which totals $2,256,788, to the council for approval. The budget maintains a taxing millage rate of 133 and incorporates a Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 4.0%.

The General Fund portion of the budget, amounting to $1,246,059, allocates resources to administration, police, street maintenance, and the town’s court department. Notable appropriations include $65,000 for a downtown development plan and new playground equipment at Wausau Park. Additionally, the budget sets aside funds for a preventative maintenance program for town vehicles, stormwater maintenance, and improved planning, zoning, and code enforcement services.

The Water & Sewer Fund budget, totaling $1,010,729, includes a proposed utility rate increase of 3% for in-town customers and 7% for out-of-town customers, alongside an additional charge of $0.50 per thousand gallons over the minimum bill for all customers. These increases aim to replenish the Water & Sewer Fund balance and ensure the optimal operation of the town’s water and sewer systems.

A significant highlight of the budget is the allocation of a $9,088,875 South Carolina Infrastructure Investment Grant (SCIIP), awarded for upgrades to the Goat Island Sewer System and other water and sewer infrastructure improvements. These projects are fully subsidized by grant funds and are expected to bolster the town’s long-term commercial development interests.

The passage of the budget comes at a critical time for Summerton, with the council navigating the transition following Mayor Bagnal’s unexpected resignation. Despite the sudden leadership change, Town Administrator Geathers expressed optimism about the town’s financial future, citing anticipated growth in sales tax and business activity due to regional economic improvements.

“The budget represents a more operational approach than prior years and is focused on improving efficiency and service delivery,” Geathers stated in his letter to the council. “Based on current economic trends and an improving regional economy, I anticipate that sales tax and business activity will increase and yield high dividends for the town.”

The budget ordinance, identified as 2024-01, officially adopts the fiscal year 2024-2025 operating budget and directs the town clerk to transmit a certified copy to the State Auditor’s Office. The ordinance took effect immediately following its passage and publication.

For further information on the detailed budget allocations, residents can request copies of the comprehensive budget document from the Office of the Town Clerk.