The $30 million budget that passed a second reading by the Lancaster County Council last week includes funding for personnel and operations at three new facilities in Indian Land.
The budget, which the council voted on last Thursday, June 12, calls for a 3.5-mill increase in taxes. That equates to about $14 for a home with an assessed valuation of $100,000. If the budget remains unchanged through a third and final reading scheduled for the Monday, June 30, council meeting, it will provide money for the Del Webb Library at Indian Land, the Edenmoor EMS station and a new recreation facility planned for Edenmoor. All of those facilities are scheduled to open during the next fiscal year.
Wish list items Panhandle residents were hoping to see funded, such as additional deputies for the sheriff's department and money for non-county agencies, are not included in the current budget.
County Administrator Steve Willis said the sheriff's office request for additional funding is a priority among council members, however.
Right now, he said, the county Assessor's Office is still working on getting up-to-date revenue figures. Willis said those figures will hopefully show an increase in revenue, allowing the council additional money to put towards nonprofit agencies and the sheriff's department.
"They are firmly committed to more deputies," Willis said.
Palmetto Citizens against Sexual Assault, the Arts Council, Communities in Schools and the Council on Aging's Meals on Wheels program were just a few of the county agencies that received money from the county last year, but under the current budget would not receive any assistance.
The council also heard from Emergency Management Director Morris Russell, who requested $40,000 for a program that would teach high school students to become certified firefighters. The council was very interested in the program, Willis said, and will consider funding it in the final budget.
The second reading of the budget was approved 3-2, with Councilmen Fred Thomas and Wayne Kersey voting against the proposal. Indian Land representative Bryan Vaughn attended the meeting but was not present for the vote.