Garbage fee hike gets initial approval

FORT MILL -- A tax increase is unlikely for Fort Mill residents this year, but garbage pickup rates will go up slightly under the budget given initial approval by town leaders this week.

The spending plan also adds three new employees and a new city vehicle. Under the proposal, the fee for residential garbage removal would increase from $9.75 to $11.25.

Also, if the council gives a second approval without making any changes, the recreation department will have less money to spend. Funding will drop by 20 percent because the town used recreation money from York County to begin construction of an athletic field at the old filter plant site on Calhoun Street.

The Fort Mill Police Department will see the largest increase in funding, $304,367, or 14.7 percent over 2006-2007. Of that, $70,000 will pay the salaries of two new school resource officers. That money will come from the Fort Mill school district.

The department also is getting a new cruiser and stun guns for every officer.

However, the police budget does not include any money for buying 800 MHz radios to use with the county's new system. Town Manager David Hudspeth said the radios would cost $300,000, and he suggested pursuing a lease-purchase option instead of an outright purchase.

Spending on water and sewer services is projected to go up about 10 percent from $4,400,600 to $5,020,004. The department is considered an enterprise fund and pays for itself through fees and service charges, meaning no taxes go into it.

Hudspeth also proposed setting aside $389,933 in the capital fund budget for large projects.

The budget is subject to change, and after the regular meeting Monday night, the council remained at Town Hall for a budget workshop.

Any changes must be approved by the end of the month because the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

Jonathan Allen • 547-2353