Administrator Proposes No Tax Increase Budget for Charleston County

  • Thursday, May 22, 2014

Full details of the fiscal year 2015 proposed budget: http://www.charlestoncounty.org/departments/Budget/budget4.htm

Anyone living in Charleston County can look forward to no change in their County government tax bill next year if Charleston County Administrator Kurt Taylor's proposed fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget passes.

The proposed FY 2015 budget, which covers July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015, was presented to Charleston County Council during a special finance committee meeting on Tuesday, May 20.

“The FY 2015 Charleston County Proposed Operating Budget meets the County's budget objectives and addresses major policy issues,” Taylor said. “As we enter a new fiscal year and plan carefully for future years, staff will continue to strive to efficiently and effectively follow the goals and directives set by County Council and to meet the needs of our citizens.”

Highlights of the proposed budget include:

• General Fund of $196 million up $1.9 million (less than 1%)

- Personnel up $1.9 million from last year mostly due to added employees in the Emergency Medical Services to improve service levels for the citizens.

- Operating costs up $2.5 million due to higher facility and technology maintenance costs, increased fuel costs and vehicle maintenance, and increased costs associated with the Animal Shelter.

- Capital and one-time expenditures down $2.2 million from last year due to fewer vehicle/equipment replacements and fewer information technology upgrades.

• Maintaining elite AAA bond ratings

- In FY 2014, the County's good credit rating enabled it to borrow money at an interest rate of only 1.15%. Doing so resulted in a savings of $2.8 million.

- Maintaining the strong AAA bond rating with Fitch, Moody's, and Standard and Poor's rating agencies is an excellent gauge of the County's financial health going into FY 2015.

- The proposed budget follows the County's financial policies, which include maintaining the Rainy Day funds, maintaining fund balance levels, and performing five-year financial forecasts for the County's major funds.

A public hearing will be held on Tuesday, June 3 for citizens to voice their opinion about the budget. The hearing will be held at 6 p.m. in the Council Committee Room of the Lonnie Hamilton, III, Public Services Building located at 4045 Bridge View Drive in North Charleston.

Three County Council Finance Committee meetings are planned to discuss the FY 2015 Proposed Budget. The first and second Finance Committee meetings will focus on the County's budget. The third Finance Committee meeting will focus on the Special Purpose Districts' budgets and any follow up discussion for the County's budget. Note that all meetings are subject to change; check the online calendar for the most up-to-date meeting information: www.charlestoncounty.org/calendar.htm, and see the agendas online for full details; http://charlestoncounty.org/departments/Council/agendas.htm

County Council's Budget Schedule:

• May 20, 2014: First Finance Committee Meeting

• May 22, 2014: Second Finance Committee Meeting

• May 29, 2014: Third Finance Committee Meeting

- First Reading of Budget Ordinances

• June 3, 2014: Public Hearings

- Second Reading of Budget Ordinances

• June 17, 2014: Third (final) Reading of Budget Ordinances

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