Barnwell ‘on track’ with mid-year financials

Barnwell City Council heard an encouraging report on its mid-year finances during the regular council meeting Monday night.
The city has spent 49 percent of its nearly $3 million general fund budget passed by council last September, City Treasurer Kim Vargo said.
The city is on a slightly better pace than last year, she said, because of the $7 monthly public works fee enacted last fall to increase revenue.
"The public works fee is what has saved us," Vargo said.
She also said the city has spent 52 percent of its $1.5 million water and sewer budget. She added the city is serving more customers for water and sewer than last year.
"We're on track right now," to finish the year close to budget, she said.
Also at the meeting, council received a petition from residents of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 9th streets' neighborhood requesting upgrades to their potable water line. More than 40 signatures were collected. Council voted unanimously to accept the request, and City Administrator John Zawacki will now try to get a grant from the state rural infrastructure authority in order to replace the line.
"The line is basically deteriorated to the point where it continues to break," Zawacki said.
In other business:
• Council unanimously voted to accept a bid to refurbish the Main Street water tower from Georgia-based Utility Service Co. for $272,300.
• Mayor Edward Lemon swore in a new police officer, Doyle Burdette, at the beginning of the meeting. After the meeting, Police Chief Todd Gantt said his force is now fully staffed.
• Zawacki said the Sasco plant has been sold to a Wisconsin company, Lakeside Plastics, which is currently running two shifts five days a week. He said less than 20 employees are working at the plant now but he was told more hires will be made as the company looks to add a third shift. The plant is currently making safety cones for traffic (the orange cones you see in the road).
• The city has leased a street sweeper for the month of May to improve the city's appearance.
• City Parks and Recreation Director Mike Shumaker said the Barnwell Farmers Market at Fuller Park is set for a grand opening Tuesday, May 28, at 9 a.m.