• Sumter County Council's May, 24, 2022, meeting

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    Sumter County Council Tuesday evening passed second reading of the Fiscal Year 2023 budget during its regular meeting.
    Members of Council also approved first reading of the Capital Project Sales Tax Act, a 1 percent tax that would fund over $100 million in capital improvement projects over the next seven years.
    At the outset of the meeting, City-County Planning Director Helen Roodman spoke about a request to rezone 5.92 acres of land at 2550 S.C. 261 South from Agricultural Conservation (AC) to General Residential (GR).
    The applicant, Alphonso Golden, wishes to develop a subdivision, she said. During the Public Hearing, an adjacent property owner raised a question about the desired property zoning designation, whether it was commercial or residential.
    Second reading was denied.
    Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon then spoke about the budget ordinance, using a Power Point presentation to show a balanced budget of $55,498,969 with a 1-mill increase. Included in the budget is a Fund Balance usage of $508,313. The County’s property and liability insurance rate has increased by about 25 percent, he said, or about $300,960, according to adjustments from the South Carolina Association of Counties. There’s also been an 18 percent increase in health insurance costs, or about $400,000, and a 1 percent increase in retirement costs. A 3 percent Cost of Living Adjust increase for County employees is included.
    A LOST (Local Option Sales Tax) sales tax credit built into the budget will offset the millage increase such that a home valued at $100,000 will actually see a net realized reduction of $5. (The mill would bump up taxes on a $100,000 home by $4, but the LOST credit is $9.)
    During the Public Hearing, a concern was raised about pedestrian safety around the North Pike West Road area and having more stores for food shopping.
    Council then approved an ordinance authorizing the issuance and sale of General Obligation Bonds not exceeding $3.5 million used to fund capital purchases each year.
    Bob Smith, the Chairman of the 2022 Capital Projects Sales Tax Commission, then gave a brief presentation of the list of projects being put forth, which include: County Fire Trucks; Emergency Radio and Pager Upgrades for EMS, Fire and Law Enforcement; Paving and Resurfacing Roads; City Fire Trucks; a Forensics Center for the Sheriff’s Office; Stadium Road Fire Station Reconstruction; Industrial Land Purchase (Gibbs Site); Black River Industrial Park Infrastructure; Pocotaligo Industrial Park Infrastructure; U.S. 378 Safety Connection Project; Intersection Safety Improvements; Bobby Richardson Park Improvements; S. Main Street Building; Rural Gymnatoriums; Delaine and Dubose Community Center; South Sumter Gym; Patriot Park Expansion; Mayesville Town Hall/Center; Downtown Accessibility Renovations; Museum Complex; Swan Lake Trailhead/Accessible Playgrounds Improvements (County-wide); Accessible Playgrounds Improvements (City-wide); Pinewood Sports Complex; Public Services Building; Shot Pouch Park and Greenway Trailhead Enhancement; Downtown Parking Facility; Airport Facility Upgrade; CCTC Classroom Conversion; Pinewood Area Road Paving; City and County Community Sidewalks/Activity Paths; Pinewood Area Sidewalks/Bus Shelters; Community-wide Acquisition of Distressed Structures; and Pinewood Area Blight Removal.
    Councilman Artie Baker pointed out if the referendum passes, it would simply be a continuation of the current Penny Sales Tax and not a new tax.
    Councilman Carlton Washington thanked the Commission for its work and how the scope of the projects would benefit the rural areas of the County.
    Councilwoman Vivian Fleming-McGhaney noted a possible fix for North Pike West Road area is among the proposed Capital Projects Sales Tax projects.
    Councilman Eugene Baten lauded the proposed tax and the many positive benefits that have come forth from it.
    Council Chairman James T. McCain Jr. thanked the Commission as well for “a job well done.”
    He also noted a Special Meeting held earlier involved Smith discussing the aforementioned projects.
    During the Public Comments, a citizen noted a request was put forth regarding the entrance of Morris College and a public access channel.
    Veterans and others were invited to the South Sumter Gym for refreshments on Memorial Day.
    The meeting adjourned at 7:01 p.m.