Budget Passes; Agreement - Whitten Center sewer station passes
Clinton City Council Monday breezed through the final steps to adopt a new budget that will take effect July 1. Council held a public hearing – no one spoke – and then gave unanimous second reading on the $29,996,175 financial document.
The new budget show an increase of .43% over the current budget and includes the possibility that sanitation service (trash collection) may be outsourced. Also included as part of the budget: a tax increase of 2.2 mills; using 29% of the revenue from the Local Option Sales Tax to fund public safety training and equipment purchase; no changes in inspection or planning fees; no change in business license fees, but the classification system will be replaced; level electric rates while water and sewer rates will increase. The budget provides money for sidewalk replacement and street paving, funds to replace technology and buy new public safety vehicles, funds for improvements to the Department of Public Safety building and the possibility of a new fire substation near I-26.
The background information given to council Monday night says “during fiscal year 2019, the city will begin to develop new community recreational facilities. Funding for this project is included in the proposed budget.”
Salary increases for city employees are also included, based on the employee’s salary. Christmas bonuses, based on years of service, are also included in the budget. There is also a public works fee of $20 per parcel of property in the city limits. The funds from the fee are used to replace capital equipment in the Department of Public Works.
Later, Council voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with the Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission for a new sewer system at Whitten Center, which is located in the city limits.
LCWSC Executive Director Jeff Field said the current sewer system at Whitten Center includes two large sewer lines and is designed to serve 3,000 people, but the system serves only 300.
The lack of daily flow causes solids to build up and root growth is common, Field said, resulting in excessive overflow and maintenance. He said it would cost $4 million to rehab the system, which would not be cost effective. A new, smaller system will be constructed at a cost of $352,000 (estimates were the construction cost would be $658,248).
The agreement approved Monday night said any cost above a state grant, which will pay for all the project as bid, will be the city’s responsibility.
Field said he doesn’t think city will have any cost to pay. LCWSC will operate and maintain for one year with the city forgiving the estimated power cost of $2,000. After one year, the city will take ownership of the system.
“I recommend we enter into this agreement,” City Manager Bill Ed Cannon said. “I think it’s a good deal for the City of Clinton.”
Council took no action after meeting in executive session for 100 minutes to discuss a contractual matter and a legal matter.