Fort Mill’s budget raises pay 3%; Insurance costs rise 2.5%

jmarks@fortmillitimes.comSeptember 16, 2013 

— Fort Mill Town Council last week passed a budget allocating more than $18 million for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1.

Included is a $10.65 million general fund, $6.42 million gross revenue fund and $1.05 million capital fund. No tax rate increase comes with the new budgets. Both the public and Council were given opportunities to comment just prior to both first and second reading votes last week. Neither did.

“It’s probably the smoothest budget we’ve had in all the years I’ve been on Council,” Councilman Tom Adams said.

The budget includes seven new full-time and five part-time or seasonal positions, including six firefighters and an assistant planning/zoning administrator. Town employees would see a 3 percent cost of living increase, with departments getting another 2 percent to divvy based on job reclassifications.

“The town is currently in the process of completing a job classification and compensation study,” said Kimberly Starnes, town spokesperson.

Take home pay won’t see that full 3 percent increase for employees, however, because the town’s private medical insurance provider is increasing its rate 2.5 percent.

The town budget includes $80,000 for one-time and recurring costs to bring IT services in-house. The town opted out of its contract with TechServ and will use the allotted funds for servers, equipment, subscriptions and related costs. No new IT position is being created, official said.

“It is anticipated that this change will result in long-term savings for the town,” Starnes said.

Some changes came between first and second reading, though they didn’t change the overall numbers. A total of $93,559 in general fund money was moved from contingency funds to cover the vacant fire chief position and an assistant judge moving from a salaried to contract position. The Fort Mill History Museum will get $25,000 in hospitality tax revenue – about half of almost $50,000 in undesignated funds.

“They did a very detailed job of presenting the work they’ve done and what they’re planning going forward,” Mayor Danny Funderburk said of the museum request.

Overall, this year’s budget represents a 10.3 percent increase over last year’s. That’s due to residential and business growth, officials said.

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