CLINTON—Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank has presented her administration’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
Frank’s proposed general fund budget, as recently presented to the Budget Committee, keeps most county departments at current-year spending levels and includes no tax increase. It was unanimously approved at a May 15 budget meeting.
The balanced $25,010,105 budget for the county’s general operating fund proposes maintaining a focus on stabilizing spending levels until we have full economic recovery.
“Budget Committee recognizes the rising costs of living for citizens, and to keep on a steady path of keeping more money in the hands of Anderson County citizens, we’ve presented no increase in property taxes. We have a lot of economic challenges, and all the departments, including our Anderson County Schools, deserve praise for working with us to maintain spending levels. Original requests for funding put us over $2 million out of balance, but with understanding and help, we whittled that down,” Frank said.
Going into the budget cycle, Mayor Frank relied heavily on the Budget Committee when putting together the budget with Interim Budget Director Connie Aytes. The Budget Committee has spent the year consistently tracking revenues. Prior to a presentation of the budget, the Budget Committee unanimously voted at its regular May meeting to request departments to hold to their current levels. Budget Committee members are Mayor Terry Frank, who serves as chairman; Commissioner Dusty Irwin; Commissioner Steve Mead; and citizen and former Anderson County Budget Director Chris Phillips.
The budget proposal offered saw a benefit to employees in terms of a limited 0.5 percent increase in the cost of health insurance benefits; however, workman’s compensation rates did increase 3.5 percent.
“We have received a lot of praise by financial ratings institutions who like Anderson County’s financial direction. We’re going to stay committed and we know fiscal stability is one of the key factors in attracting families, business, and industries,” Frank said.
The Budget Committee also passed a recommendation to further strengthen fund balance policy by requiring the county to increase its unassigned general fund balance to $4 million from $3.5 million. Such a move would require a supermajority vote from County Commission to dip into reserves below $4 million. Budget Committee also took a small step forward by devoting a fraction of a penny on the tax rate to establish a capital fund that, long-term, would move the county away from borrowing for capital needs, improvements, and projects.
The next steps in the budget process will be the public hearing, set for 6 p.m. on June 2, in Room 312 at the Anderson County Courthouse, and then presentation of the proposed budget to the full Commission on June 16.