Elyssa Parnell Staff Writer
November 15, 2013
NEWBERRY — City employees could soon see the benefit of a two percent merit bonus as approved by City Council Tuesday evening. The payroll dispersion will be based off of the employee evaluations. The voting was unanimous by the council.
Major Loynes with the Newberry City Police was recognized by Mayor Foster Senn, and City Manager Al Harvey Tuesday evening at Newberry City Council. Loynes has been with the city for five years.
“Major Loynes is very aggressive in pursuing outstanding warrants,” Harvey said. “He sets a good example for others to follow.”
Harvey told council members there was not anything major to report from the financial department.
“We seem to be in good shape,” Harvey said.
Council approved a second reading and adoption of an ordinance terminating the designation of the redevelopment project area and dissolving a tax allocation fund for the redevelopment project area. The ordinance would simply dissolve the TIF District which was created in 1996 to generate funds to renovate the Opera House and to make other improvements in the designated district.
The conditions of the original agreement have been complied with and council decided it was time to dissolve the district.
An ordinance authorizing a lease/purchase agreement to finance a new front-load packer truck for the sanitation department was also approved by council Tuesday evening. Harvey told council the financing will be done through BB&T, with an interest rate of 1.39 percent in 16 quarterly payments.
“I don’t think we’ll get much better than that,” Harvey said.
Public Works Director Mac Bartley told council the price of the packer truck came in at about $230,000, which was $15,000 less than what was budgeted for the truck.
A final second reading was approved by council to adopt an ordinance amending the business license ordinance provisions for insurance companies. Harvey said in 2012, the General Assembly adopted legislation that changed the way the state and municipalities collect taxes and licenses fees from insurance companies and insurance brokers.
In the future, the State will collect a 4 percent broker’s premium tax and a two percent municipal broker’s premium tax. “We’re doing this to comply with state law,” Harvey said.
In other business, council approved:
• First reading of an ordinance to amend the fiscal year 2013-2014 budget so as to provide for funds for merit bonus. Senn said that back in the spring, it was discussed that the city would provide its employees with a 2 percent merit bonus if the funds allowed. After receiving the results from their audit, Senn said there were sufficient funds to do so.
• First reading of an ordinance to amend the budget to include a Newberry streetscape fund. Harvey said when the previous city manager prepared the budget, there was not a place for that, but a note to consider it. The fund would provide streetscaping such as patching and repairing sidewalks within the city, planting flowers, and the wayfinding system the city hopes to implement.
• First reading of an ordinance to amend and adopt sections of the code of laws pertaining to recreation registration and participation fees, as well as firehouse conference rental policies and fees. Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Scott Sawyer told council that some fee increases were needed and necessary to do the improvements in uniforms and other changes for the recreation department.
Elyssa Parnell can be reached at 803-276-0625, ext. 108 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.