GOOSE CREEK - Berkeley County Supervisor Dan Davis painted a mostly rosy picture of the county's economic situation during his annual state of the county address Friday, but he went off course in what he called "an editorial comment" to take a shot at this year's budget.
"Our finances are what I consider very, very good," said Davis, who has been supervisor since 2007 and is up for re-election this year.
"Unfortunately, in the most recent budget, I think we have reverted to what I consider some reckless practices. The budget we are operating under right now is not balanced."
Davis said County Council did not pass the budget he submitted.
"My fear is that we are going to start reverting to some of those old practices (when the county's finances were not strong), and we'll see this healthy picture begin to decline," he said.
Davis pointed out that the only council member attending the Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce meeting was Jack Schurlknight, who is also up for re-election. Schurlknight was the Finance Committee chair for several years until the balance of power on council shifted last year and Councilman Tim Callanan took over the committee.
Callanan, who often disagrees with Davis, was not at the breakfast but later took issue with Davis' statement.
"Our budget is, in fact, balanced," he said. "State law says that counties have to operate under a balanced budget. Every change we made to his budget was offset by a decrease in spending, so therefore if the supervisor is saying that the budget is not balanced, the budget he presented to us was not balanced."
Also during his speech, Davis said 1,500 new jobs and $807 million in economic investment were created in Berkeley County last year, up from $246 million in investment and 438 jobs in 2012.
Davis also touted the successes of the county's penny sales tax program, which is projected to collect $20.8 million this year for road improvement projects.
"We were blessed that the citizens of Berkeley County had enough faith in us to approve that penny sales tax," he said. "We told them what we were going to do and today I feel that I can come and say that we have achieved that. We are not through but we have done very well with it. ... The better roads we make, the more opportunity we create for business, the more sales we have and the more money we have to keep up the roads."
He also praised the efforts of planned unit developments Nexton and Cane Bay, and discussed the county's green energy efforts; the lengthening of the runway at the airport to allow corporate aircraft to use it; and new library buildings in Hanahan and St. Stephen.
Davis again delivered his speech at the pay-to-attend chamber meeting, but he also gives the presentation to area civic groups and other organizations.
Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or @brindge on Twitter.
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