Barnwell city budget includes small tax increase

Barnwell City Council will have the first reading of the 2013-2014 fiscal year budget during its regular meeting Monday, Aug. 5, at 6:30 p.m. at city hall.

Council members had a workshop July 22 to go over the preliminary budget, which is still being tweaked.

The preliminary budget includes a very small property tax increase of 1.2 mills or just over $5 more a year for a house with an assessed value of $100,000.

The total general fund budget will be $2.95 million if council approves a salary increase for city employees. However, plans are to use some of the city's savings to pay for $30,000 in salary increases. If it happens that way the budget will break nearly even - being $90 in the black.

Next year's budget expenses are estimated to be $46,000 more than the current year, which ends Sept. 30.

The biggest expense in the city's general fund will be the police department - just under $1 million dollars. But the city did save $60,000 in the budget when it was awarded a grant to buy new police vehicles.

Overall, the preliminary budget is similar to the current year in dollar amounts. Municipal court expenses are estimated at $139,000 while sanitation is at $285,000. The city will have to do another round of bidding for garbage collection service.

The fire department is set to receive $325,000, and city administration will get $675,000. The Parks and Recreation Department is set for $202,000 while the Lemon Park Sports Complex is getting $50,000.