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Kingstree town council passes budget, first reading of ordinances at June 20 meeting

Kingstree town hall sign (stock)

The Town of Kingstree had a busy meeting on June 20. In addition to passing the budget and exercising their right of first refusal on Swamp Fox Golf Course, the town also passed several ordinances.

Budget

The town formally passed its budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year (July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023). The budget is balanced, and very similar to the old budget. The budget for the town’s Main Street organization, Community planning and recreational departments, along with non-departmental funding, were cut by a little more than $30,000 total. In total, other departments saw an increase of just over $90,000. The Kingstree Police Department accounted for roughly 90% of the increase (over $81,000)

“We're going try to keep [the new budget] as close to what it is currently,” Kingstree Finance Director Merianne Cowley said. “We don't have a lot of increased revenue. So we can't have a lot of increased expenditures.”

Swamp Fox Golf Club

The town of Kingstree officially exercised its right of first refusal on the land of the Swamp Fox Golf Club. Town Manager Richard Treme said during the meeting that the town has a qualified buyer for the land and will keep it as a golf course. Treme said that the town will be acting as an intermediary for the sale, and therefore won’t have to spend any money or make any profits on the sale. Treme declined to give any details about the buyer, in an interview after the council meeting.

Treme said during the meeting that the town will continue to have a first right of refusal on the land.

Treme said during the interview that the right of first refusal was put into the contract for a reason, and the town wanted to keep it that way. While the property sits outside of town limits, Treme said that idea of transferring the right of first refusal to the county wasn’t something they had talked about.

Water Service Cutoffs Ordinance

The Town of Kingstree passed a first reading of an ordinance that would help citizens late on their water service bills.

The ordinance changes how services end up getting cutoff from citizens who are late on payments. The ordinance increases the past due balance that triggers cut off from $10 to $15. It does not change any dates or fee amounts.

The ordinance passed unanimously.

Treme said in a memo obtained by The News that the town is “trying to adjust our system for cutting off water service for non-payments to better serve our customers. We do not want to change any fees, only reduce the number of people whose service is disconnected for non-payment.”

Treme said he was only aware of one person who had their service cut, but that one is still one too many.

The passing of the ordinance was just the first reading of the ordinance, a second reading must be passed in order for it to go into effect.

Flood Prevention Ordinance

The town also unanimously passed an ordinance stating they would work on new flood prevention measures.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued new flood plain maps for the town and the town is required to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program in order to get flood insurance as well as federal funding to mitigate floods, Treme said in a memo.

Line of Credit

The town also passed an ordinance that would allow them to open a $20,00 line of credit with the Bank of Greeleyville. Treme said in a memo that some of the town’s providers are mandating that the town pay their bills with a credit card. This was echoed by Cowley during the town council meeting.

The next town meeting is scheduled for mid-July.

You can follow Brandon on twitter @brandon__alter for latest updates. You can reach him by email him at news@kingstreenews.com 

Brandon Alter covers the town of Kingstree and Williamsburg County for The Kingstree News. He is from the suburbs of Washington, D.C. He graduated from the University of South Carolina's school of Journalism and Mass Communications in May 2021.