NEWBERRY COUNTY — County Auditor Donna Lominack has set the total levy for county purposes at 141.2 mills and at 239.8 mills for school purposes, for a total 2016-17 tax levy of 381 mills.
Lominack recommended to Newberry County Council that it levy 125 mills for county ordinary purposes, and zero mills for reserve fund purposes.
Other levies included 0.2 mills for general obligation bonds of 2007; 0.6 mills for general obligation bonds of 2007 A; 1.1 mills for general obligation bonds for 2010 A; 1.8 mills for general obligation bonds for 2010 B; 5.5 mills for 2016 B County lease purchase; and 0.1 mills for 2016 A Santee Cooper-1.
“I am recommending County Council levy 6.9 for Community Services, for a total 2016 levy for County purposes of 141.2 mills,” she said.
The total mills for county purposes for the 2016-17 fiscal year is one mill less than fiscal year 2015-16. In fact, since fiscal year 2008-09 the total number of mills levied by County Council has declined from 159 to 141.2, a total reduction of 17.8 mills or 11.2 percent.
For school purposes, the Newberry County Board of Education has levied 186.8 mills for school ordinary purposes for the 2016-17 fiscal year. For school general obligation bonds of 2016, Lominack levied 53 mills for a total 2016 levy for school purposes of 239.8 mills.
“The anticipated value of one mill for the 2016-17 fiscal year for county purposes is $128,000, for school purposes (bonds) is $132,914 and for school purposes (school operating) is $83,368,” Lominack said.
County Council accepted the recommendation for the tax levy after Councilman Bill Waldrop made a motion and Councilman Travis Reeder seconded.
“We have probably one of the finest auditors in the state, she does an excellent job managing the tax base, knowing what it will produce and setting these levies,” County Administrator Wayne Adams said. “It is easy to overlook what the auditor does, or understand even what an auditor does, but I can assure you we have one of the best.”
In other business County Council postponed a third reading of an ordinance amending and revising the Newberry County Zoning Ordinance. The postponement came after many members of two communities voiced their concerns.
Frank Mitchell, a resident of the Waters Edge subdivision, represented many of his neighbors in not only his community, but from two other communities as well.
The current zoning ordinance makes it so that if there is an existing home and you have a vacant lot, your new home cannot be placed in front of — the yard facing the lake — that property.
“Obviously the intent was to protect the view of the existing homes,” Mitchell said. “The current ordinance has served us well, it has protected the existing homes from having a home being put right in front of you.”
Council will work with a representative from these communities to help address their concerns before a third reading is approved.
In other business, council approved a first reading of an ordinance which would amend an existing 20 year fee in lieu of tax agreement with West Fraser. The company is committing to invest an additional $33 million (the original amount was $27 million) under the original agreement.
There would not be any additional jobs created, but property incentives include a 15 percent infrastructure credit against taxes for 10 years (formerly five years) and an investment window of 10 years (formerly five years). Over the next 17 years, the agreement is projected to yield the county an additional $3.4 million.
“We appreciate the County’s consideration of this request,” said DJ Russell, general manager of West Fraser’s Newberry sawmill. “West Fraser believes in making investments to improve our operations. This initiative will support our capital investment to expand production at the mill. Building strong business supports our mill’s competitiveness so we can continue to be an active employer and positive contributor to Newberry County.”
The first reading was approved after Councilman Leslie Hipp made a motion and Waldrop seconded.
In other business, council:
• Approved second reading of an ordinance to repeal an unused provision regarding petty cash purchases and inserts an affirmative action statement in the County’s Code of Ordinances.
• Approved a proclamation declaring September 2016 as Recovery Month in Newberry County.
• Approved a bid from Charles K. Doolittle Inc. in the amount of $169,000 for timber harvest at Mid-Carolina Commerce Park.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.