Blackville votes on budget, honors Kaiser

Blackville Town Council had the first reading of its 2013-14 fiscal year budget and said goodbye to outgoing Town Administrator Ian Kaiser during a regular meeting May 20.
There was no hard copy of the budget available, and council voted unanimously to approve a rough estimate of $972,000 in projected revenue for next year.
After the meeting, Mayor Mike Beasley said the budget was still being shaped.
Projected revenue for next year is less than the current year's budget, which was set at slightly more than $1 million. But it is higher than the $800,000 Beasley previously said the town was expecting.
The town has been facing budget shortfalls the past few years because of a lack of property tax revenue stemming from the loss of businesses and industries that closed or left during the recession.
Council plans to hold a budget workshop before the next vote in June.
Council members presented Kaiser with a plaque of appreciation for his two years of service. Council and Kaiser agreed not to renew his contract and go without an administrator as a way to save money.
Kaiser became emotional as he thanked council members for the opportunity to work with them. He said it wasn't always easy, but he enjoyed his time working with and getting to know council members and people in the community.
"I feel good that the town is in a new place," he said.
Kaiser's last official day was May 16. He will be moving to Portola, Calif., to a take a city manager position.
At the end of the meeting, councilman Russ Reed said he has some "anxiety" about whether plans Kaiser began to implement will continue to develop in his absence.
All council members thanked Kaiser for his hard work and friendship.
Beasley said it is now council's job to keep working to improve the town and show leadership to the community.
After the meeting, Kaiser said it's important for people in Blackville to take ownership of their town and "do something for each other."
He said council's biggest obstacle going forward will be financial. "The tax base is down. There's no business here. They're going to have to be entrepreneurial," he said.
Kaiser said all the towns in Barnwell County, along with county council, need to come together in order for real progress to be made.
In other business:
Jerry Regenbogen, with the consulting company Stantec in Charleston, talked to council about a federal grant available to towns like Blackville. The grant, up to $200,000, can be used to fund the planning process for environmental revitalization projects.
The idea is to identify "brownfield sites" - land previously used for industrial purposes - and develop plans to clean contaminated areas and turn them into functional parts for the town.
The town does not have to match funding for the grant, which is a big upside.
Councilman Kelvin Isaac announced Dollar General as the Business of the Month.