Blackville council adopts smaller budget

Blackville Town Council approved its budget for fiscal year 2013-14 during the regular meeting June 17.
Council unanimously approved a $972,075 operating budget for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1. Mayor Michael Beasley said it is a "balanced budget."
The new budget is less than the current year's, which was just over $1 million. Blackville has seen its budget shrink dramatically - more than 50 percent - the last few years as industries closed and property tax revenues disappeared.
According to the budget, the town expects to bring in $161,000 in property tax revenue and $224,000 from other taxes, such as the accommodations and insurance taxes, and franchise fees. Also, $262,000 in revenue is expected from the sanitation department.
For the current year, the town budgeted for $150,000 in property taxes but has only received about $100,000.
Next year's budget says another $242,000 will come from the state and county - mostly from the state. The rest of the revenue comes from license and permit fees, fines and miscellaneous things - like a projected $6,000 from groups renting the community center.
The town's biggest projected expense is purchased services, which add up to $371,000. Employee salaries and wages are set at $313,882, and employee benefits total $149,000. Other expenses come in the form of supplies and materials - $58,495 - and debt payment - $25,000.
The reserve fund will get $53,000.
Beasley thanked council for their work. "Hopefully we can begin to move our financials to a positive. I feel like we're heading there," he said.
In other business:
•Council recognized Rev. Herman Wallace for his efforts to support the community, especially the neighborhood watch organization.
Wallace encouraged all residents to get involved. "The more folks we have the more effective we can be," he said.
•Council approved a resolution stating the town will participate in the Lower Savannah Regional Housing Consortium. The program, administered by the Lower Savannah Council of Governments, provides financial assistance for low-income housing projects.
•Council unanimously approved a zoning board recommendation to rezone property at 4886 Legion Road from residential to neighborhood commercial. The rezoning application says the owner wants to open a car wash.
•Council went into closed session to discuss two contracts, one for a wastewater consultant and the other for an information technology (IT) consultant. No action was taken after the session.
•Beasley said Blackville has received a $350,000 infrastructure grant from the state for its wastewater treatment plant. Beasley also said the town has received the $500,000 grant for phase two of the South Boundary revitalization project.
•Council did not have an update on Ken's Galaxy, which has been closed since a fire earlier in the month. No one has been able to contact the owner.