Tega Cay considers bigger budget, but no rate increase

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comJuly 31, 2013 

— Public safety and city security could get a funding boost with the next Tega Cay budget.

City Manager Charlie Funderburk outlined a $6.5 million proposal Monday that wouldn’t include a tax rate increase. Six new positions would be added – two each for the fire department and maintenance, one code enforcement officer and one permit technician. Funderburk plans to have the budget ready for a public hearing and initial Council vote in August.

The city’s current fiscal year runs through the end of September.

The current year’s budget is a little more than $6 million and included police and fire positions. The proposed 2013-14 budget would provide $1.8 million for police and $806,162 for fire service – 28 percent and 12 percent of the proposed budget, respectively.

“Public safety is going to make up the majority of the budget,” Funderburk said. “Here you see it as 40 percent for your fire and police.”

The new fire positions will provide 24-hour paid service, seven days a week. Two police patrol cars would be replaced. New cameras would be installed at city parks, offices and even commercial areas where companies may want to tie into the system, with the police department able to monitor them remotely.

“Our whole world is getting to the point where everything is recorded,” Councilman Stephen Perkins said. “Something like that, it helps.”

An additional radar cart for the police department also is included. The current machine – it still operates despite a tumble down a hill and a lightning strike – needs a two-day charge to operate three days. The new machine would display speeds of motorists and also would be able to display short messages if needed.

“The radar cart is something we get a lot of requests for,” Funderburk said.

Additional parking for Runde Park and repairs to the boat storage lot are included in the proposed budget, too.

Also at the Monday meeting, Council discussed a new fiscal policy to define how the current and future Councils make monetary decisions. The policy would have the city maintain a reserve fund balance of at least 25 percent of the annual operating budget and require a plan to pay back anything borrowed into that 25 percent within 36 months.

“Currently we are approaching 45 percent,” Funderburk said. “We are financially sound.”

Work would be needed to prioritize all capital improvements and create a five-year plan for them, reviewed and updated annually. Other parts of the plan were more philosophical, like committing to fixed-rate debt and a competitive bid process.

“These are the things we’re currently doing,” Funderburk said. “It’s just putting it in black and white.”

An outlined policy also should come to Council for consideration in August.

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