A $32.1 million budget was passed by Georgetown City Council during a virtual council meeting Thursday, June 18. The balanced budget is different than the one presented back in March due to the financial burden placed on the city by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Director of Finance, Debra Bivens, a reduction of a little more than five percent was trimmed from the budget. The budget doesn’t include a property tax increase but removes new positions, vehicles and a proposed salary increase.
The balanced budget is a three percent decrease from the 2019-20 budget. The budget used $360,358 from fund balance from the enterprise funds. The budget does not include use of fund balance from the General Fund.
Council also approved a five percent increase in water and wastewater charges. The increase is to help pay for debt service.
Mayor Barber thanked council, staff and administration for working together on a budget that allows city employees to keep working.
“I know it’s a difficult time and hopefully our bounce back to become financially solvent again will happen quickly; But let us all keep in mind our health and safety comes first because if we are not a healthy community; we will not recover,” Mayor Barber said.
Also during the meeting council passed first reading to an ordinance rezoning approximately 4.16 acres of land, owned by the Georgetown County School District, from Residential (R2) to Public Service (PS).
The school district wants to build a new maintenance facility on its property at 400 S. Kaminski Street. The current R2 zoning, which allows for “schools of general education”, doesn’t allow educational facilities without a school.
Four existing buildings on the property will be torn down to make for the facility.
“Those buildings are in horrible, horrible shape,” Council member Tupelo Humes said. “I see this as a great opportunity to allow them to remove those buildings and put something better.
Before the council meeting, there was a public hearing for the 2020-21 budget. There were no comments presented relating to the budget.