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Orangeburg City Hall (illustration, library)

Orangeburg City Hall on Middleton Street

Orangeburg City Council is considering increasing taxes and the residential sanitation fee in the upcoming year.

City Administrator John Yow presented a proposed budget to city council on Tuesday.

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“We are proposing a four-mill property tax increase,” Yow stated. “That’d be the first tax increase I believe in four years.”

“Four mills will only generate a $152,000. That will equate to $16 on a $100,000 house and $32, of course, on a $200,000 house,” Yow noted.

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Council gave first of three readings to the city’s 2018-19 budget on Tuesday night.

Yow noted a proposed 10 percent increase in the commercial sanitation rate.

“That will generate $38,000 new revenue. We haven’t done that in several years,” Yow stated.

Yow also reported a proposed $1 increase to the residential sanitation fees. The increase will raise the monthly fees to $14, and raise $56,000.

Yow reported a proposed $200,000 increase in Department of Public Utilities transfers.

There will be no business license rate increase, Yow reported.

Yow also read the proposed figures for the general fund and the cash reserve.

“It shows revenues of $19,880,089.94 for the general fund, with expenditures being the same,” Yow said.

“That shows using $845,772 in cash reserve. Last year we budgeted $835,000 in cash reserve, and we’re fortunate that we did not spend any of it this year that we’re finishing now,” Yow said.

Council voted unanimously to approve the budget. Councilman Richard Stroman stated that he was against the tax increase, but voted to pass first reading of the ordinance.

Also during the meeting:

• Council honored both Julia Cook Crutchfield and Ronald B. Heape as Department of Public Utilities retirees. Crutchfield worked for the department for 29 years, while Heape worked for the department for 32 years. The council and DPU Manager Warren Harley thanked them for their decades of service.

• Jeanna Reynolds of the Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association made a request to sell beer and wine at the Food Truck Festival that is scheduled for Sept. 22. The council unanimously approved her request.

• Council unanimously approved the receipt of $150,000 in funds from the Federal Aviation Administration. The funds are to be used for pavement rehabilitation at the Orangeburg Municipal Airport.

• Council proclaimed the character trait for July 2018 to be fidelity, and the character trait from August 2018 to be respect.

• Council approved purchasing 18.804 acres from the YMCA of Columbia for $180,840. The land will be used for the construction of a recreation complex that will be located on North Road. In total, the project will be housed on 133 acres when completed.

• Council authorized a lease agreement for $576,700. John Singh, assistant city administrator, stated that there were seven bids for the agreement. The city elected to go with the bid from Branch Banking and Trust for 2.69 percent.

• The city received a report from Grant Davis of Mauldin Jenkins, LLC on the audit of the City of Orangeburg and DPU for fiscal year 2016-17. In his report, Davis said that the city and the department received clean opinions.

• The council unanimously voted to appoint Chasity Avinger as the associate municipal judge of the city after discussion of the appointment in executive session.

• Council unanimously voted to approve first reading of an ordinance to amend the budget for the city for fiscal year 2017-18 which began on Oct. 1, 2017, and ends on Sept. 30, 2018.

According to Yow, the revenue projection for the budget is $18.6 million with expenses being the same. Yow noted that revenue is projected to exceed expenses by $156,911, which would be added to the cash reserve.

Contact the writer: bharris@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5516.

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Staff Writer

Bradley Harris is a Government Reporter. He is a 2018 Claflin University graduate. He is a native of Irmo, SC.

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