GEORGETOWN — In a unanimous vote, Georgetown county council approved its $90.6 million budget for the next fiscal year. This is about $3 million more than last year's budget, but nearly identical to the budget the year before COVID-19 struck.
Most of that $3 million increase will be focused on funding Watershed Master Plan suggestions and increasing the minimum wage for part-time employees.
The Watershed Master Plan will show how drainage impacts the Waccamaw Neck and recommend improvements to infrastructure and policies to mitigate those impacts. The plan will cost the county about $2.1 million, and is expected to be completed by the end of the calendar year, said County Finance Director Karis Langston.
The following fee additions are also in the budget:
- Cremation Permit Fee of $25 per occurrence
- Autopsy Report Fee of $100 per report, though one copy will be provided to legal next of kin at no charge
- Flood Zone Review Fee of $75 on all building permits issued for property located within a flood zone
New positions funded in the budget are in the facility services department, the county airport, and probate and traffic courts. Part-time positions that will see a minimum wage increase to $8.50 an hour are in libraries and recycling centers.
To fund an increase to the Law Enforcement Fund, owner-occupied homes worth $100,000 will also be taxed an additional $1.20 a year under the new budget.
In January, the county experienced a system hack, which took down most of the county’s electronic systems, including all emails. Though no additional money was added to the new budget to ensure cybersecurity among the county database, Langston said, council amended the 2020-21 budget in March to add $140,000 to initially address the hack.
An investigation into the hack is still ongoing, including suspects, a motive and whether or not personal information was compromised.
The new budget will go into effect July 1 and will be available in full to the public the same day. Until July 1, all the public is able to access is an executive summary of the budget.